BY BRANDON MINIA
It took a whole lot of willpower to finally muscle my way out of one of the worst episodes I’ve had in almost two years.
I had almost forgotten. You stay well enough for so long that the anxiety doesn’t even feel so bad, even though you know that with anxiety, depression is surely lurking around the corner. And once it comes around and hits you, you turn into a mere shell of yourself.
Since February, my anxiety was hitting almost unprecedented levels considering how well I had been for so long. And with how tense I had been, I knew that the possibility of me slipping down into that rabbit hole was a distinct possibility. It did.
I can’t name exactly what triggered it, mostly because I don’t know what it was. I don’t know if it was a combination of factors, or if it just happened. Or both. With me, as it is with so many others, my depression is hard to pinpoint no matter how mindful I am of my emotional levels.
The depression was beginning to creep in near the end of February. I started becoming more fatigued and my motivation to do work began to dissipate. In the back of my head, I knew of course that the danger of me falling back into that dreaded state was slowly becoming more and more of a possibility as every day passed. Still, I blamed my decreasing energy levels on my anxiety.
It’s a scary cycle that feeds back into itself the more it goes on. The thought of me going back into my depression made me even more anxious. I suffered an anxiety attack when I had near contact with one of my abusers on social media, which made me want to isolate myself from people. Being someone who is extroverted, I need the stimulation of people around me to keep my energy levels up, but I was incredibly tense and did not want to be near anyone for fear of relapsing again.
When the depression finally fully hit, it felt like I was back to old habits. It frustrated me. When I fall into that state, I lose all motivation to do any work. I get paranoid of people and shut myself off in my house with video games and anime. But worst of all, I remember the ones who hurt me — two people who were once very important to me — and how it made me the way I am.
I don’t consciously think of them. I don’t ever want to. If I had the choice I would forget about them for the rest of my life. These are two people who distorted my outlook on people, on romantic relationships, and myself.
But it happens. Despite life being at a much higher point now than it was last year, I’m still susceptible to falling into the rabbit hole. It’s not even something that can necessarily get triggered anymore. Every moment feels like I am at risk of returning underground.
When the sensations return, so do the memories. When I can’t get out of bed, when I can’t fall asleep, when I can’t focus, all I think about is them. I think about what they did to me, what they said to me, and how they got away with it. It’s them that caused me to lose so much of myself, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
The only thing I can hope for is that I don’t fall back into it. It’s an immunity I have to build up, but sometimes I fail. Some days I can easily brush off the mention of their names and not feel anything about them. But on days that my shields are down, one mention of them will conjure the storm within me. I’ve come to accept that as a side effect of my depression, my anger from what happened to me is still there somewhere inside. It’s not something I can forgive so easily either.
For now all I can do is be thankful that I am nearing the end of the storm. This was an episode that made me unable to work for most of the last month. I dropped out of a course last week because I wasn’t doing well in it and I very nearly resorted to going back to my doctor (which I still am going to do for advice really soon anyways). I can also be grateful that this one wasn’t like before, which lasted for a good year. In the last few days, although it hasn’t been total recovery, I feel like I’m once again emerging from the tunnel.
Granted, it wasn’t pretty. I’ve had to isolate myself from so many people, and it wasn’t something I could easily talk about. But learning to be mindful of my emotional levels thanks to the help I received in counseling last year helped me to take care of myself, and it’s something that I at least can feel assured about the next time I go under yet again.
24OurMusic – http://www.24ourmusic.net/author/brandon/