"But you don’t look/seem depressed.”
Depression Volume Distortion: I created this picture February 2016, when I was feeling rapid moods swings, beginning to heal. They almost felt like electrical jolts to my system. I was about 8-9 months free of medications, including 10 years of xanax, and finally stopped my birth control, too. I was shifting back and forth between manageable, light, hopeful feelings of life for the first time in what felt like forever, vs. darkness &/ severe depression/anxiety. Distortion.
I’ve always described & referred to this darkness throughout my life, metaphorically, as volume; how LOUD is it? A few years back, the volumed was turned up so high, maxed, I couldn’t function at all. Over time, with healing and making lifestyle changes, the volume gradually gets lower and softer. I’m sure I can speak for many when I say, you do not wake up HAPPY one day, but you start to notice the gradual improvements, shifts, and that volume gets toned down; You can hear yourself think again, you are able to rationalize and control the thoughts/feelings, you look forward to your day, you aren’t NUMBED by this amplification. It’s still there, lingering, but it’s so faint you can’t quite tell where the noise is coming from. You become accustomed to the faint noise in the distance, regain self love and interests, pick up your feet and carry yourself through life, again.
Unfortunately, this volume can amplify, loudly and abruptly, and it feels overwhelming. Swings between hypo-hyperarousal. Here we go. “How did I ever turn this down?” The hopelessness sinks in. “This is it,” you say.
I have struggled with major depression due to c-ptsd (and misdiagnosed as manic-depressive/bipolar) for the majority of my life, having the most severity of the depression when I was at my sickest a few years back. I am no stranger to this “entity,” yet when it rears it’s ugly head, it feels so foreign, invasive, and unwelcome.
It’s hard to re-familiarize ourselves with something that feels so endless. But you MUST KEEP GOING! I must keep going.
Lately, despite my healing progress in all physical aspects of my life, the volume has been cranked back up. Unable to think rationally or function, back to bed I went. Healing crisis. When you’re taking all the right steps to heal - you can't help but assume the worst; "nothing's working." It seems impossible to rationalize that this is “part of the process,” especially when feeling so shitty. You must forge ahead and not lose faith. “I just have to wake up, breathe and eat, and tomorrow will be better.” That's surviving.
Am I saying everyone suffering from depression, c-ptsd, anxiety, etc... will feel this? NO. Every-BODY is different. BUT, do not dismiss your progress based on set-backs. I have not felt this way in many months. As disheartening as it is to me, because it’s an intangible pain, I am still reminding myself, “I will continue to heal.”
Just like volume, depression can cloud our thinking and thoughts. Can you hear yourself think or concentrate with noise blasting in your ear? Well, same concept; There’s distortion. Regaining that focus is the first and hardest part.
With all this excess noise in my head, I needed to step away and unplug — Let go and succumb to the feeling rather than fight it.
I am not out of the woods just yet; my volume is pretty loud. But I am currently more rational. I know what this depression IS. Does it make it easier? NO. But it makes it seem less unruly. I am taking steps, the best I can, to regroup. It’s turned down a notch and I can grasp the reality of my life again.
We must all remember, as unruly as this darkness may seem, we must SEE IT - not bury - and remind ourselves that the same dial that turned UP the volume is within us, and we can turn it down, too.
Made it through my work week. I've been unplugging from social media for the most part, but just wanted to thank everyone, especially my friends and coworkers, who have reached out to me during this time.
In a recent post about depression, I mentioned its distortion; how it distorts reality, makes everything seem so bland and hopeless, and the amplification of it, comparable to volume. Unfortunately, my volume is still cranked at the moment.
My recent heart procedure triggered PTSD. Although this depression and anxiety is lingering, the initial feelings were insidious. Next thing I knew, the lights were out and I was in complete darkness. I am still trying to find the light, again.
It's humbling in a sense, not that I ever lost site in my journey, but to realize how far I've really come because of the emotional state I'm currently in. Healing brought about such an effortlessness to my life that I didn't even realize I had achieved over this past year. Doing daily tasks like working, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, errands, etc... became such an "easy" and mindless part of my life, again, after years of being unable/disabled. I woke up with a love for life, eager to work, goals for the future, and a passion for healing.
To be completely raw and transparent here, I don't have that love at the moment. Each day is being lived as, "I hope tomorrow is better," and struggling to get by. Survival mode. I'm reaching DEEP within myself to find that drive to keep going. It takes everything in me to (emotionally) get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and continue to save myself. I cry with most tasks, I've been having panic attacks over daily activities, I've lost interest. Once again, I feel like I'm fighting so hard for my damn life, and its reminding me how hard I've BEEN fighting. I'm exhausted.
Despite it all, I have not given up on my healing efforts, although I have toned down my healing routine. I know I am a survivor, and I cannot ignore the facts: I have healed and reversed so many "dis-eases," thus far, and for that I am grateful. I am still plant-based, I still 100% believe in what I did/do for healing. And although this seems like the ultimate time for detoxification, I've decided to use this time as a break from the intense detox I've been doing for well over a year. Especially realizing I have orthorexia.
This post is more of a cathartic moment for me - tracking my own journey - more than anything, but also to keep it real. Despite these feelings of hopelessness, there's that light in me that needs to let you all know - for those of you who know this intangible pain - that you are not alone.