Writing about my mental state seems to take up the majority of my content here on my blog these days. I know that it’s not the most exciting or uplifting subject, but journaling in my blog about how my mental health is going has been such an integral part of my recovery in the past. Sometimes I toy with the idea of writing more content that isn’t so interior and heavy in nature, and perhaps write more about what I see around me, but for the moment, I’m getting far more out of speaking out on my mental health, and mental health in general than other topics.
The last couple months I have been relapsing. Badly. It reminds me of how I was, back before I started planning and working on getting better both inside and out. Years ago. My moods have gotten darker. My outlook on life has also darkened, and become much more pessimistic. My general attitude, behaviour and demeanour have all become rather dour. It takes some effort to do tasks that once were easy and simple for me. Have a shower. Make my bed. Go to the gym. Write a blog post. Hunt for jobs. Brush my teeth, do the ironing. Get out of the house.
Even smiling has become something far more difficult than it was. I feel the muscles in my face changing and warping. My face is just in a state of constant frowning. The concern and anxiety tighten my face, causing it to furrow and knit. I feel my brows arching. My lips pursing. I sigh, I breath quicker. I smoke cigarettes, I drink a little more and chew and bite my fingernails till they bleed. My husband, somehow, conversely is usually chipper and able to grin. He’ll wake up smiling, and I ask him, ‘Just how are you able to wake up so happy?’ I can’t recall the last time I haven’t woken up feeling anxious and nervous. ‘I don’t know, I just do. It’s a brand new day, yesterday is done and today is here.’ I miss that excitement for the day that I once had.
I’m really feeling at a low point. It’s harder for me to bounce back than it has been in the past when this has happened. This episode has lasted some two weeks now. Perhaps more. Those thoughts of negativity and nihilism have truly come to the fore. Well, we have a unintended rhyme, people. The dark thoughts don’t need to stick to the shadows anymore.
Like Voldemort no longer needing to hide, these negative thoughts are free to roam about in the open and fly in black smoke and ruin the day. Or Emperor Palpatine. I mean, at the end of Star Wars Revenge of The Sith, he’s overthrown and cast out the Jedi and proclaimed a dark and malevolent Empire. Yes. Nerdy allegories work for me.
I feel so bad for my poor husband for having to deal with yet more of this. To my perspective, it’s tiring and unyielding; It’s like living with another person, a bit of a Jeckyll/Hyde paradigm, as cliché as that is. I hate it myself. Some days I really wonder how he puts up with it.
I was at my best last year in 2017. I really think so. I was doing so great. It was peak Alex. From my standpoint, we had a fantastic year. A tough and challenging one for sure, but also one filled with love and friendship and warmth and sun and light. We did so much. We went to Italy and had the best trip and saw so much. We hung out with friends. We went out and had fun. We worked hard for this move to San Francisco. We were sad to leave idyllic Sydney, but also cautiously excited for the future. We met some special people who brought much joy to our lives. It felt like a great time.
In contrast, 2018 has become a year of stalling, hurdles and some hardship on my part. It’s felt like a year of miss-steps, mistakes and misfires and jolts, lurching from one meltdown to another. I can’t be too critical, as we have met some amazing people here who have been so lovely and warm and friendly and have really helped us feel at home and who are so great to be around. I’ll always be grateful to them. They really have been what has made this move worth it, and had we not, we would never have met them at all.
I hope that doing things like writing up this blog and exercising and going back on medication, I can turn the last few months left of this year around and make the best of it, not just for me but for the husband, friends and family and everyone around me.
I need to stop reminiscing and comparing the past to the present. Things have changed, and clearly I’ve not coped well with relocating as I thought I could. I know much of this relapse is due to my mistake of deciding to go it alone sans medication, and now I have to get through all of that again in order to start getting better.
I just sometimes wish I could explain or show what having anxiety and depression is like, to people who don’t experience it. The best way to describe it in my case is imagining 20 people standing behind you whispering terrible things about you, things that cut through to your core and trash your well-being. And, those 20 people being the people you dislike most in your life. That overbearing and mean-spirited manager. A critical family member. Someone you once had grief with, etc. Imagine it from the moment you wake up to when you fall asleep, and then back again in the morning. Saying really horrible things that you can’t help but think, yeh you’re right, I am a failure of a person and won’t amount to much.
Imagine your breathing quickening at the slightest thing. A bit of bad news. Costly needed dental procedures. Someone on social media bragging. Looking for jobs. Having to attend interviews. Heck, even friends or family succeeding in life and wanting to let the world know [rightly so], will trigger a panic attack. Resulting in yet again feelings of inadequacy and inferiority.
It’s become harder and harder for me to mute these thoughts in my head. I exercise almost daily. I try to get myself out of the house, and keep myself busy. But the truth is, lately I’ve felt incapable of much other than inhabiting our flat and looking out the window, so to speak. I don’t want to let the new friends we’ve made here fall by the wayside, and to them I apologize if that’s the case. I don’t want to push people away, but even so, that’s clearly emblematic of this depression.
I know that things will get better for me, however. I was doing great up to the start of this year, so I at the very least have something to work towards. As the other half said, today is a new day.