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Sober Mommies I Have Anxiety And Depression #recovery #mentalhealth

I Have Anxiety And Depression

"I have anxiety and depression." ~ I used to say those words every time I met with a new physician.

“I have anxiety and depression.”

I used to say those words every time I met with a new physician. The secretary would hand me the clipboard with the checklist of mundane details I needed to share before being allowed to cross the threshold into Doctorville. Anxiety and depression were always checked.

I had a “breakdown” at the age of 22.

That word might mean different things to everyone, but here is what it means to me.

I went from a smart young woman to one who could not collect a thought in what felt like hours. I did not have any outward physical symptoms; they were all in my head. I tried to form sentences and found myself unable to piece them together. It happened so suddenly. I did not understand what was going on, and the fear made my head swirl more and more. The fear only gave the feelings momentum. I sat in my room waiting to feel better, but I didn’t.

I was living with my best friend at the time, and she was downstairs watching TV. I was so afraid to walk downstairs and tell her what was happening. I’m not sure how long I waited until I was able to open the door and stand on the landing of our townhouse. I started to cry.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I sobbed.

She was taken by surprise and chuckled, “What do you mean?”

“I can’t think.”

I honestly don’t remember exactly what else was said during that conversation. I just remember feeling afraid and wanting to go home to my family 2,000 miles away.

I caught a flight the next day and returned to upstate New York to spend some time with my family.

I didn’t know if I was going to be able to handle being surrounded by people. I thought if I told anyone what was going on inside my head, they would put me in a mental hospital. The harder I tried to pull it together, the worse it got. I didn’t know what to say to anyone. I felt like I was going crazy… literally.  I was afraid of the chaos in my own head. It was like having a million thoughts and not being able to sort them out.

During the three hour drive from the airport, I didn’t say much to my Dad; which was extremely unusual for me. I got in to see a doctor days later, even though I was still scared I might have to go to the hospital. She asked what had been going on. I was very selective in the words I used as I explained. I never let anyone know how much I was drinking or how many other drugs I was doing.  It was irrelevant; so I thought. I didn’t want a lecture about drinking and drugs.  I just wanted to feel better. Sedatives and antidepressants did that for me…for a little while anyway.

It took me almost eight more years to make the connection between the drinking and drugs and my mental health.

I truly thought they were helping me to stay sane and getting me through those tough days. During those years I tried a variety of prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication, of course, on top of all the recreational stuff I was taking. Since I’ve been sober, and had consistent doctor appointments sharing honestly, I have not needed any medication for depression or anxiety.

The cycle of addiction coupled with mental illness can be painful and miserable. It can feel impossible to stop. I made the decision to stop it, to be honest about it with my doctor, and that has opened the door to a beautiful freedom.

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1 Comment

  1. A lot of times, it’s the things that we don’t think are important or that we are afraid of revealing that are the real causes of the problem. Opening up about it is the best thing anyone can do.

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