Post # 1
I’m honestly kind of scared to share this… I suck at being vulnerable and this takes a lot for me to be able to put myself out there but I’m doing so because maybe, just maybe, someone will have a similar story or some sort of advice.
I struggle. I struggle a lot. I grew up in a dysfunctional and abusive home and this has carried into my adult years. I think I have always been an anxious person but it has definitely escalated over the last four years and has now manifested itself into quite the beast. I’m afraid of everything. There are things that I’m afraid of that I can’t even articulate the reason behind. Social situations make me uncomfortable and as a result I only hang out with friends once every few months. I’m friendly with people I know but I’m constantly worried they don’t like me. The anxiety keeps me from being able to concentrate and has even manifested itself into heart palpatations. I started a job where I deal with a lot of the horrible things in life all the time about a year and a half ago and I just can’t seem to let things go. I know too much about all of the horrible things that happen in the world and it weighs on me. I’m to the point where when I have time off I don’t want to leave the couch. I wait until Fiance is about to come home and hurry and clean up the house so it looks like I was productive but in reality I have accomplished nothing. I can’t even force myself to take a shower as often as I should (before you freak out I still usually wash my body but my hair gets neglected quite often). Sometimes I get to the end of the day and am so burned out that I don’t think I can handle standing for the whole shower so I just bathe instead. I am tired all the time and many days I feel like I could cry… but there are no tears. Sometimes it feels as if a grey cloud is following me around and I wonder how much longer I can do this.
I’ve tried to go to therapy before but I get so burried in these deep and drastically painful emotions that it feels that there is no way out. When I went it was easier to just pretend everything was okay than to talk about how I really feel because those feelings are scary. I’m afraid that if I tell the truth I’ll drive people away or that they’ll want extensive treatment and I don’t want anyone to know the truth. I don’t want people to know I’m not okay. Fiance knows I struggle with anxiety but doesn’t know to what extent. He also doesn’t know too much about the possible depression. I know it sounds illogical and that he would love me no matter what but I’m so scared that the truth would freak him out. Some of these dark thoughts are so so dark and deep and hurtful that they almost can’t even be put into words.
This took a lot of courage for me to put out there so I ask that if you reply that you do so in kindness. I’m already feeling rather tender:(
Post # 2
I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. I think you need to really commit to going to therapy — it’s a two way street. You need to commit to being open and honest about your feelings with your therapist, and that’s something that will take time. You can’t expect to go in and unload in one or two appointmnets and everything will suddenly be all better. Schedule an appointment and be honest with the therapist – that you struggle with opening up about your past, but it’s causing you depression and anxiety now and that you know you need a change.
In the absense of seeing a counselor – start journalling. Write out your feelings. Draw them out. Write a poem. Do something to acknowledge how you’re feeling in the moment. Burying emotions never helped anyone (I know from experience, it just makes everything worse). But I do really think you should see a professional to help you combat the depression and anxiety.
You are so brave to put this out here. I know it’s an anonymous internet post, but it’s still brave to put the words on paper, to recognize that you need a change, and to be open to advice on how to make that change. You can do this. You are braver and stronger than you think. You can get through anything. Everyone needs help sometimes. Take care of yourself…please.
Post # 3
Unless you commit to doing the work then nothing will change. There is no magic pill. It will be hard work that is emotionally and physically draining but you have to want to do it for it to have a chance of succeeding.
Take little steps, it is not a race. Find one thing you haven’t been doing, like showering, and decide to do it tomorrow. Then rinse and repeat. Then add something else.
And go back to therapy. Your therapist has heard it all before so nothing you say is going to shock them or make them think badly of you.
Post # 4
JiminyCricket : Thank you so much for your help. I will see about taking the steps towards getting help again today. You’re right… staying silent doesn’t “fix” anything.
Post # 5
brideandblue : I grew up in an abusive, dysfunctional, and impoverished home. I have social anxiety and anxiety over school (I still have thoughts that I’m too stupid to pass nursing school). I barely had friends growing up, didnt date until after I finished my first college degree. Because I wanted to be emotionally ready to date. I get it. I dont consider myself depressed anymore but from ages 14-20 I was seriously depressed to where I would have been on medication, therapy and hospitalized if I had the money. But I didnt so I suffered through.
What changed my life was hobbies. I got involved in theatre in college as my Work Study. My desire not to work as a school janitor overrode my anxiety and I chose to be a helper in the theater department. I learned to build sets and paint. I was forced to communicate and it really opened me up. I also discovered other hobbies I enjoy such as writing and hiking. My social anxiety is much less dominating and my depression is gone.
Studies have shown that forcing yourself to do physical activities helps with anxiety and depression as it releases hormones in your brain to relieve your stress. I know the feeling of not wanting to get off the couch. I spent years on the couch watching game shows because I didnt even want to deal with dramatic tv. But if you want your life to improve then you need to start getting in exercise to begin with. I used to walk for 1-2 hours a day, on the weekends play tennis or hike with my boyfriend. Let me reassure you there is no athletic bone in my body but I know my brain loves it when I exercise. On weeks I’m busy I at least try to get 30 minutes a day of cardio and a few days strength training.
Second, you need to find a hobby for yourself. I enjoy writing fiction and going to Theatre productions. It’s my me time, my time when my brain doesnt have to focus on bills, school, or pleasing people.
Third, you need to go to therapy. If I could afford it, I would be in it right now and it still shows sometimes that I need it. It’s hard because you dont want to relive those memories. But if you can relive them, eventually you’ll get over them.
Quite honestly, you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself, get off the couch, and take control of your life back. You’re not a child in an abusive home anymore. You’re an adult who is choosing to let the past control her. Sorry if I’m being mean but you were me about 3 or 4 years ago. But you cant use your crumby childhood as an excuse forever.
Post # 6
- Wedding: June 2019 - Tacoma, WA
I struggle with a lot of the same issues, and also grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I tried therapy before but would always quit after a few sessions because when I’m sitting in front of someone, I automatically put on a poker face and could never really seem to talk about what I was really feeling.
What worked for me, funny enough, has been online therapy. In that forum, where the communication with my therapist is entirely written out in text, I am so much more open and honest with my feelings and thoughts. Literally anytime I need, day or night, I can write to my therapist, and he responds within a day with his thoughts and guidance. If I need more one-on-one real-time therapy, I can schedule an hour long chat session as many times per week as I need. This allows me to not only be honest, but also have time to reflect on what is said back to me, re-read it, and take time to think about real-life applications of his advice – something I could never manage to do with in-office visits.
I tried it on a whim, as it’s not exactly inexpensive and it doesn’t allow for insurance, but it has truly been game changing for me. Not sure if this is something that may be helpful to you, but figured maybe it’s worth mentioning.
*hugs* Bee. I get it.
Post # 7
Your post scarily resonated with me and I was exactly in your shoes a year ago. I had just gotten engaged to my dream man and landed my dream job and everything should have been perfect. I actually ended up talking to my family doctor about it and got on Lexapro for 3 months. It was just enough to give my brain/body a break and gave me space to catch my breath and figure out how to manage my depression and anxiety. I think I’ve always struggled, but last winter really made me spiral. By no means do I think medication is always the answer, but I think a short stint with some help was what I needed to get it together.
Now, I meditate to maintain and am very careful about avoiding situations that I know are triggering. Thankfully, my now husband has been beyond supportive and helpful since I was able to express how I was really feeling underneath my smiling exterior. I know how isolated you must feel. To really tell my then fiance how I was feeling, I ended up writing down all my “symptoms” which are essentially your second paragraph. It was scary and hard for both of us, but made us stronger in the end and now I have an ally who can sense when I’m starting to spiral and start to help.
I’m happy to answer any questions you might have or just to chat with someone who knows how it feels.
Post # 8
I sympathize with you! I was like you long ago, and then I became a different person as my life’s circumstances changes (some by me). But now again I am in a similar mindset as you as I embark on the journey of separation –> divorce. And single parenthood.
What I feel helped me greatly was reading self help books. I particularly liked one called ‘The 5 second rule’. It was constantly pushing me to do things, set goals, meet goals, etc.
I also watch a lot of funny movies and shows that I keep playing in the background as well if I am home alone. Some of the jokes seep in and keeps my mood light hearted as much as possible.
Post # 9
I think everyone is right about therapy. It can be so hard in the moment, but in the end can be so rewarding.
I would also find one friend that you can share this with. Not in a way to bring her into your issues, but to allow yourself to be vulnerable with and (most likely) get some support from. I think you’ll find that everyone has issues and troubles they may not share, and seeing that you’re not alone (though your troubles may be deeper and more far-reaching) could be helpful.