For as long as I can remember I’ve been a big ball of anxiety, my fight or flight in a state of constant chaos, expecting the unexpected. I’ve always felt that I had to be ready for things to fall apart and that I was the one responsible for fixing it, regardless if I was the one that created the problem. I suppose the career I’ve made for myself in EMS/Emergency Services/Public Service feeds into my high strung predisposition . The ironic part is that I can manage other people’s crisis, I’ve been screamed at, pulled vital information out of people in crisis when no one else could have, calmed hysterical callers, worked with multiple agencies at the same time in order to find a resolution to the emergency at hand. All without breaking a sweat or raising my blood pressure. My own life, that is it’s own story. I historically speaking, was completely inept at taking care of myself, my needs and looking out for what was best for me. Everyone else came first, always at my expense.
This year has been a learning curve for me. it has sucked more than anything else has sucked before. I felt like I had been repeatedly broken , and I was barely scrounging the pieces back together and for all that I’ve done to help others I felt like I was left on my own. In fairness though, I am not one to broadcast my emotions and tend to be very guarded, even my husband has to pull things out of me after being together for 10 years. Being on the vampire midnight shift doesn’t lend itself to normalcy, neither does living with a chronic illness that many doctors can’t even pronounce never mind have heard of. Dealing with two deaths in my family with in a relatively short span of time, one of which was about 5 weeks before my hysterectomy, left me in an emotional purgatory where I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t angry. I just wasn’t anything. I’d go from being in a state of “vanilla” (aka blank), to a miserable wretched cow, big ball of anxiety, back to vanilla. It was all shades of gray, all my glitter from my rainbow of awesome had been stolen from me.
I had been seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist for my ADHD and Anxiety which I was struggling with even on medication. I couldn’t concentrate, I felt like I was being pulled in every direction and not doing enough even though I was over doing it. I felt like a spaz. I couldn’t remember anything, I kept losing things, I couldn’t get out of my own way. I knew I wasn’t myself but given the year I’ve had I figured it will pass if I just keep trudging through. I finally had enough last month and talked to my doctor about my moods and she gave me a new antidepressant to try. I haven’t been on good terms with those types of meds in the past due to allergic reactions, or it didn’t work or it made things worse. But I wanted my rainbow of awesome back. I wanted it back for me, my husband and my kids. I NEEDED it.
I’ve been on it for about a month now and I can’t even believe the difference. It’s unreal what depression does to you, even when you think you’re not depressed. I wasn’t just over tired from working midnights and over extending myself. I wasn’t just bitter or anxious from the lack of social interaction. It wasn’t just daily stressors getting to me. There had been a profound change in me to the point that I didn’t even know who I was anymore and I was just existing. I hadn’t been making connections with my own family. Now I have new found motivation, organization and focus that I thought was failing from my ADHD , I’ve been painting or doing some kind of art almost every day. Going back to the gym to get my physical strength back all most every day. I’ve been playing with my kids and getting angry less. I’m not operating with baseline fear or anxiety anymore.
Even doing things for myself like shaving my legs more than once a month, actually taking the time to do things for myself has done wonders for me. It’s only the beginning and I know I’ve got a ways to go, but this whole being happy thing is amazing and learning to find strength – emotional and physical – is something I wish I had learned a long time ago.