This is me avoiding you.

I’ve been avoiding writing this because I don’t know where to start, or what to say that hasn’t been said so many times before. No one reads this blog anymore (neglect is the damnedest thing, am I right?) so the motivation to write here is…just kind of not there. Until now.

I am, I believe, in the vise grips of a bout with depression. It’s hard to say right now whether I’m at the beginning or the middle, but for damn sure I’m not at the end. I started having panic attacks again about 6 weeks ago. At the time I was working a full schedule (as opposed to the summer schedule I’m on now), finishing up the semester and working like a nut. I was the good kind of busy but there was a buzzing in the back of my head, something nagging at my brain, like a gnat stuck back there somewhere looking for an open window. Or a banana. I couldn’t put my finger on it and for a quick second I thought Summer schedule! That’s it! The break I need, the time to myself THE WONDER OF A MINI VACATION! Not so much, it turns out.

With more time on my hands it became easier to practice the behavior I so love: avoidance. I could avoid the laundry, the chores, the showers, the phone calls, the anything-requiring-motivation. So I did. I stayed up all night, took very long naps during the day – sometimes morning and afternoon – and counted the hours until BB came home from work. I didn’t help with dinner (not so unusual), but this time I didn’t really feel guilty. I cried and cried and cried, shook with anxiety and fear and called my blessed friend who understands and always picks up the phone.

I saw my doctor last week and she suggested I get back into therapy, which she suggested last time, which was 6 months ago. You see how well I follow directions. She didn’t change my medication, but she did suggest I go to an osteopath for a long overdue check up. I have the name and phone number. I don’t have an appointment.

Therapy starts again this Thursday and I’m crossing my fingers that it helps, but I’m not holding out much hope. Three years ago in the throes of the worst panic attacks of my life, I felt hyped up and manic. I felt anxious and nervous and like I might burst into tiny pieces at any second. I felt my heart jumping over and over and knew I was dying every few minutes. This time, I feel hopeless and miserable. I feel all the things on the depression commercials and then some. I don’t want my naps to end and I’m only hungry for disgusting junk food, which makes me feel worse. I cry ALL THE TIME and mainly I hate everyone. (I’m 100% not pregnant, so thanks anyway.) Long walks would make me feel better, yes? Ah, but long walks require real clothes and leaving the house.

If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking Get your lazy ass UP OFF THE COUCH, put on some pants and DO SOMETHING ALREADY GODAMMIT. I’m so right there with you.

I wish that, when the phone occasionally rings, I could answer it and say “Yes! I’d love to have lunch/dinner/drinks/movies/conversations with you!” but instead I just don’t answer. I can’t listen to myself make another lame excuse about why I can’t – and don’t care to – leave the house.

The days I’m at work are okay. I can concentrate on the tasks I need to complete, I am forced to interact with other people and I actually shower. It’s the days I’m home alone that my stomach starts to churn and I oscillate between panic and utter desperation. I want to feel better. I take everything my doctor prescribes just as I should. So why does this happen?

Why can’t I be normal?

4 responses

  1. For what it’s worth, I still read all your posts. I know how crappy anxiety disorders are. I have g.a.d. and o.c.d. It sucks so much. I wish I could reach through the screen and give you a hug or give you a magic pill to make you feel better. Normal is overrated but content and calm would be nice, eh? I’ll be thinking of ya!

  2. First of all, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I wish I had a great suggestion that would miraculously fix things for you — just like I wish I had that same kind of suggestion for myself from time to time.

    Last fall I took down my blog because I didn’t have the courage to write about these things publicly like you do, and these things were consuming my life. Last fall I spent more hours than I’d ever want to tally pinning pretty pictures on Pinterest, hiding from the world. Last fall, for roughly three weeks, I did not leave the house by myself because I had a frighteningly strong urge to drive — at a high rate of speed — into a tree. Last fall I was more terrified than I’ve ever been.

    This spring I’m doing better. Not “normal” — there are still dark days, and I know there always will be — but better. And honestly, who’s normal? Everyone has their own collections of dysfunction.

    I hope things get better for you soon. I hope the depression lets up. I know it sucks when you’re doing the things you’re supposed to do — therapy, drugs — and you STILL have to deal with this. It’s worth the fight, though, and worth the effort because YOU’RE worth the fight and worth the effort. I don’t even know you in real life, but I can’t tell you how many ways you’ve touched my life with your thoughts, your lovely way with words, your wonderful sense of humor, And your honesty about this very subject. (You and your honesty are the reason I finally sat down in my doctor’s office and asked for anti-anxiety medication, and let me tell you, that has changed my life.)

    Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to do some of the things you mentioned that you “should” be doing right now. Yes, exercise helps with depression. Yes, forcing yourself to go out — to be distracted, to try to have fun — can be beneficial. And you know what? Sometimes that just doesn’t matter. Sometimes you go out, try to have fun, and instead you sit and cry in public. Which isn’t helpful, I know. Try to take it easy on yourself, at least for now, while you’re getting back into therapy and fighting to get a handle on things. You’ll know when it’s time to start pushing yourself out of the house, time to start making yourself socialize. Take it easy on yourself until then. And stay in touch with your friend who understands — friends like that are invaluable.

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