Anxiety · Depression · Mental Health · My journey

What Depression and Anxiety Looks Like From the Inside Out. Written in the Middle of a Panic Attack.

**TRIGGER WARNING** Below, I’m sharing graphic imagery of what it feels like when I struggle with depression. If you struggle with depression, this may be too much for you to read alone. If you do read on, I encourage you to talk to a mental health professional about how it makes you feel – good or bad.**

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and are not intended as medical advice. For medical care and advice, you should consult your physician or health care provider on a regular basis. If you have any problem which concerns you, consult your physician immediately.

Yesterday I worked a lunch shift. I love being a waitress. I’m in my element when I can serve people and facilitate positive interactions. For a second, I forgot I was depressed.

Lunch shifts aren’t so bad because I’m mostly alone. I have only interactions with my guests, who I am literally paid to be cheerful with.

It really helps. Smiling, keeping busy, and giving compliments really improves my outlook on life… It even improves my outlook on myself. I’m pleasant, I’m thoughtful, I’m witty, I’m kind.

Then, I remember.

I get home and see all of my worst fears.

I’m a shitty mom. I’m a shitty wife. I’m a shitty housekeeper. I’m a depressing friend. I’m an unsuccessful blogger. I. am. Such. a. Burden.

None of these are true. I am trying my best and that’s all anyone CAN do.

But, that doesn’t matter. I’m depressed.

More specifically, I have depression.

I try to be productive when I get home. My kids deserve that… but my eyes just want to shut. Eventually, I doze off.

BOOM. Shitty mom thought confirmed by depression.

I’m anxious the moment I wake up because I’m so exhausted and it’s all my fault for waking up in the middle of the night.

Jeremy, my husband, does all he can to help. He makes me the world’s strongest cup of coffee to wake me up and I’m able to participate in our family morning activity.

After family morning activities are over, Elijah has a melt down. I don’t mean a regular melt down… I mean a melt down I know all too well. I had those meltdowns all my life even well into adulthood. I have thought about it for a while now, but times like this I am almost positive that my son has inherited my anxiety (which presents itself as rage). I gave this to him.

BOOM. Shitty mom thought confirmed by depression. 

I got a notice from my apartment complex on Friday telling me to move something off of my balcony. This isn’t the first time I’ve received a letter like this; They’re very strict about the apartment’s appearance (which I am grateful for). What if they evict us?

CRAP. I’m gonna piss them off so badly they’ll evict us.

It’s Saturday and I can’t call to clear the air until Monday.

Instant panic attack.

I have work in 3 hours. This one won’t be easy on my anxiety. It’s Saturday night… There will be many coworkers there, my manager, the owner (most likely), and the night crowd. I LOVE my job. Specifically because of the people… but when I’m depressed, it’s all too much.

I manage. I’m pretty good at my job and I’ve learned to put my mask on at the door for professionalism… but it takes its toll.

During a depressive episode, as I cry almost instantly after walking out of the door. I cry the whole way home. Sometimes, I cry all night.

During a depressive episode, as I cry almost instantly after walking out of the door. I cry the whole way home. Sometimes, I cry all night.

Melinda Duso

The hardest part is that I have told maybe 1 person how this feels. Until I wrote this out, I’ve dealt with it MOSTLY alone.

Why?

No one understands why I’m so sad when I look so happy. No one even knows that I’m sad, but my family. I don’t always open up about it while in a depressive episode because it seems to sometimes scare people. It’s intense. It’s confusing. Sometimes, people even imply that I can, “just get over it” and that is the worst.

That’s when I feel most alone. When I’m feeling judged for something genetic that I actively work to battle is when I get the worst feeling… “What’s the point?”

It’s scary for you… but you know what? It’s scarier for me.

When I am depressed, my fears become so real that LIFE feels overwhelming. My negative thoughts are so convincing that distance myself from everyone so that I don’t burden anyone with my sadness.

BOOM. Shitty friend thought confirmed by depression.

I’ve won every battle I’ve had with depression and depressive episodes so far and right now my thoughts aren’t being kind enough to reassure me that I’ll get through this one… but I will try anyway.

Here we go:

I know I can’t always control my sleeping patterns when I’m depressed. What can I control? Communicating it to my co parenting team so that they can help.

I can’t control that I may have genetically passed down my mental illness to my son. What can I control? Having the experience and research to help him in a way that I never had access to help.

The next one is the hardest thought to battle.

“I’m a depressing person to be around and I’m an exhausting person to love.”

I know that my depression and anxiety cause my judgement to decrease and my impulsive behavior to increase which make interactions with me unpleasant. While I can learn to cope and react better over time, I don’t always get it right. What can I control about that? Being selective about the people in my life without resentment to those who aren’t what I need in a friend. Everyone has their own issues and baggage and sometimes that means that they don’t have anything to give to me and my depression… that’s not my fault and it isn’t theirs either. 

It just is.

There are people who are able to support me and my journey and I can remind myself that those are the kind of friends I need to be mentally healthy.

I hope this was helpful insight for everyone.

If you suffer from depression and resonate with this – share it with someone who wants to understand you.

If you know someone with depression, try to see if this is something they can resonate with (tread carefully – don’t push them into it because they may not be ready. See my trigger warning and disclosure)

Thank you for reading. This one came directly from my heart.

I mean they all do, but this one was written in the middle of a panic attack.

Ok, I’ve gotta stop. I’m making this weird by not ending it.

Until next time,

Mel

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