Recently I woke up with a feeling of despair and hopelessness engulfing my entire body.
Perhaps my realistic dreams had taken a hold of me or my body was warning me of something untoward. Whatever it was, when my alarm sounded to go to the gym, I didn’t feel like my usual self. Usually I grumble and groan and I think about staying in bed, but know that if I don’t train I’ll spend the entire day in a pit of self-loathing.
That morning was different.
My alarm went off and I felt fed up with everything. And it wasn’t like I was just tired. I mean, I felt a darkness around every single thought in my brain. I didn’t want to get up at all, I contemplated calling in sick so I didn’t have to face anyone and I hated the fact I had to set an alarm because I had a routine (and I love routine).
My mind flicked through things I wasn’t happy with. I contemplated deleting all of my social media apps, resenting everything about them and the effect they can often have on my life. I felt like canning all efforts on my blog and writing because I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I didn’t want to go to work or talk to anyone and I had this overwhelming feeling like I couldn’t participate in any of my normal habits or past times anymore.
And this was all at five AM.
I didn’t get up for the gym and for once, it wasn’t accompanied by the usual side order of guilt. I just rolled over, undoubtedly frowning, and went back to sleep.
I am sharing this with whoever is reading, because although I am relatively happy and know I have a great life, I had an overwhelming urge to share a seemingly inexplicable, dark moment. Whilst the feeling lessened every hour, I still had this foreboding sensation for the majority of the day.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened that day, or the days following, but the feeling continued.
It is something that I’ve had come and go for a long time now. As someone who has experienced the likes of depression before, I am usually switched onto these sorts of signs. Floating around in those dark clouds are usually triggers for me to make sure I check in with my emotions (and my GP if needed).
Sometimes I wonder how someone like myself, who laughs a lot, is busy and social, who is loved and feels legitimately happy and wonderful so much of the time, can also be really down, flat and sad and often for reasons I can never put my finger on. I get inside my own head about it and thoughts generally include: anxiety, beating myself up for being ungrateful, confusion, resentment and shame.
I ended up speaking to my GP.
Weirdly enough, I brought it up whilst having a pap smear. I figured if I’ve gotta book an extra long appointment and be extra uncomfortable in that room, I may as well utilise the time wisely (she actually laughed when I said that to her). My GP is a good sort – she’s kind, non-judgemental and super helpful, and she gave me advice that I trust in relation to dealing with my anxiety and the “lows” I’d been feeling of late.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s normal to feel down, angry, anxious, upset, flat and defeated in our lives (we can’t have the highs without the lows after all), but sometimes we feel more and more of the downs, for reasons we can’t really explain. And that’s why I think it’s important to talk about this.
I nearly didn’t write about this, because of all the obvious reasons.
It’s another post about anxiety/depression, ‘everyone’s got it these days’, I feel embarrassed and vulnerable, there’s a level of shame and stigma still attached to the topic and it goes against my obsession of wanting to portray that everything’s okay (a recent thing that many of you would know I have been stewing over).
I was experiencing a shitty moment and wanted to share this so that anyone else who might be feeling embarrassment or shame, knows that it’s okay to feel not okay sometimes.
DISCLAIMER: Cos this shit ain’t a joke.
I am NOT a health professional, and what I am talking about is obviously in reference to my own experiences. If you have similar feelings, feel unsettled, are anxious and unsure, feel sad and like you can’t be bothered doing anything or feeling anything – please speak to someone about it. Visit your GP, look up some local mental health services online or speak to a trusted friend. There is NOTHING WRONG WITH TALKING ABOUT THESE THINGS and whilst sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t be talking about these things because people will think I’m a loser (this is a genuine thought I have when I ever mention my anxiety), I know deep down that they MUST be spoken about.
Sometimes I struggle with my mental health.
As someone who has had anxiety for as long as they can remember, it is obvious this statement doesn’t contain any new information. But it does feel somewhat empowering for me to admit it out loud. As mentioned above and on my social media platforms, lately I have been battling with fear, decision paralysis, obsession with what others think, embarrassment and shame when I think about my mental health, and as a result, other areas of my life have been affected.
Whilst being positive, showing gratitude, exercising and eating well are all wonderful things to practice and all wonderful things that contribute to your wellbeing, sometimes they aren’t enough. “Choosing to be happy” isn’t something everyone can just ‘switch on’ and if you are someone who doesn’t believe that, then consider yourself lucky to not know what it’s like to struggle with that battle. Sometimes it’s a chemical thing, sometimes there are underlying reasons for not being able to “choose happy” – so if you feel like this could be you, talking about it definitely doesn’t hurt.
Just because you’re struggling, doesn’t mean you’re failing.
P.S. If you or someone you know is struggling, check out beyondblue :)