Two Steps Forward…One Step Back

I stand on the back porch after letting the dogs out and feel the cool spring breeze run through my long hair. Three months. That’s how long it has been since my last depressive episode, I think to myself. How naive of me to think that just because we’d finally found a good medication combination that it would “cure” me. I thought for sure this was the one. The golden ticket into feeling normal and functioning again. Instead, I stand there feeling like I can’t do anything. I haven’t showered or brushed my teeth in days; I’ve lost count of how many. I’ve been binging and gaining weight- what I do when I get super depressed- despite the eating disorder voice in my head that makes me hate myself even more. It’s a vicious cycle, really. One a lot of people just don’t understand. 

I sleep too much, eat too much, and don’t take care of myself. I want to. I don’t want to feel this way. But this time anxiety triggered my depression and it was just too much for me to fight off. 

I live with a degenerative spinal disease that’s auto immune. It has recently flared and my pain has been intense- more than it has ever been. It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand, it hurts to walk. At first I thought the anxiety was just from the large dose of steroids I was on, but now I realize the anxiety was too intense and too powerful to be only from that. I have anxiety about my progressing disease. I have anxiety about pain and suffering. I’ve been seeing spine surgeons and the news they give just scares me. 

There were other triggers this time around.

  • Weight gain from the new anti depressant. I’ve been in remission for 8 weeks from my eating disorder and this is really messing with me. 
  • The fact that my therapist of 9 years moves next month and he’s the only person I’ve ever been able to actually talk to about things regarding my depression, PTSD, etc. He’s been more than a therapist to me. His family have been friends and I feel like a piece of my heart is being torn out by his family leaving.
  • The intrusive suicidal ideation that returned out of no where; I can’t stop thinking about guns and pills and dying. (I have no intent to act on it, but my OCD tends to get caught up with a thought and just run with it and next thing I know it’s all- consuming.)
  • The chronic pain I’m in… but I think I covered that one already. 
  • Then there’s the chronic worry regarding my kids. More than normal mom worry. Again the OCD takes over and I obsessively ruminate on any possible thing that could go wrong when they aren’t in my care. 
  • There’s the germaphobic anxiety. I literally lose sleep over wondering if we all washed our hands enough that day. Or what about the countertops and handrails? What if someone touched something and gets sick? 

Over and over it goes. My mind never catches a break. I cry a lot more here lately than I have in a long time. I’m just so overwhelmed. And by what? Sometimes I’m hard on myself over the things I can’t control. And I’m hard on myself for the fact that my brain doesn’t work like a “normal” brain should. I’m just tired. And the cool breeze reminds me of how tired I am. It reminds me of this fleeting life that I’m missing out on because I’m so caught up in anxiety and worry. 

I feel like I can’t do this. I have come to dread the bipolar cycles. I can’t escape the anxiety and depression and yet I still – after all these years- can’t come to terms with the fact that these illnesses are for life and I have to be better at coping. Just when I think I’m making progress, I get slammed down. I guess it’s like the old saying “two steps forward and one step back”. I just have to fight a little harder than most for that extra step forward. And I’m fighting, I promise I am.

~Lindsay

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