Pitch Black: Anxiety and Depression

I wrote the text below when I was in the midst of my anxiety and depression. I was diagnosed with PND and PTSD after having our second son earlier this year but, after looking back, I had been struggling with my mental health for a lot longer than I let myself realise. We push on, shake it off with an ‘I’m fine’ mentality. Tiredness and stress gets pointed at but the reality takes a while to face up to. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom. That’s what I did.

I was dubious about sharing this. It is heavy. Negative. But it is also real. Honest. And it might help someone who is feeling the same way. It may help them feel more understood and less likely inclined to wonder why everyone else has their shit together when they feel like they don’t…

Pitch Black

I feel like I am in the dark. Not in the sense of being idle or not knowing information about someone or something. I mean, mentally – emotionally… my soul or whatever our sense of self is contained by… is in pitch black.

Along with the dark is the feeling of heavy.  Just. Plain. Heavy. In a physical sense, it manifests like a huge mantle has been placed across my shoulders, lead has taken over where my muscles used to be and every thing hurts.

It takes conscious thought to get up off of a chair. It takes a phenomenal amount of effort to stay standing up when all senses are screaming at you to sit down… lie down. Feel the heaviness sink you into a floor or chair or mattress just so it is that bit more bearable. Less like a fight and more like acceptance. Easier. Sleep is the only sanctuary. The only place where peace floods in and all the inner turmoil stops.

Emotional heaviness comes from the turmoil… weighing your heart down like a brick and making the cogs in your brain creak around so slowly that your head aches at the very thought of thought. You flit between going hyper with energy… the by-product of denial that we all go through with depression and anxiety… the driving force that makes you take on five thousand tasks for a day and then become sluggish again. And, soon, on comes the sense of being a fraud, an idiot and the merciless berating of oneself for taking on too much to do in such little time.

And everything becomes frightening. Petrifying. Just too much. So you back out. Flake out. Cancel things. Reschedule things. Apologise despite being numb from all the overwhelming feelings that are happening and for a brief moment you feel relieved to not have to face things anymore.

Then the guilt sets in. The worthlessness. You let yourself down. You let other people down. You made plans and broke them. You gave in. Gave up. It got hard and you quit. You just chose the easy route. Shame. Shame on you for being so weak. For not being as together as everyone else. For not being ‘normal’. For not just getting on with it.

Then, anger. Angry at feeling like this all the time. Anger at yourself for not being stronger. Anger at not being able to do everything and anything you want to do because you can’t just do them and stop thinking. So much thinking!

Then resentment. Resenting the people who try to force you to face things. The people who disrupt your train of thought or your coping strategy. The ones who question why you are obsessing over one small detail instead of seeing the bigger picture said detail is part of and who you wish with all your heart could realise that the small detail is, to you, just as big as the bigger picture. To be challenged on the control over things that seem so trivial, yet to you make you feel safe and worth while. To feel like you are a nobody. And that the only qualities you do have aren’t any good. To be called horrible, mean, abusive. When actually, you are just eaten up with hurt and anger that is spilling out of every pore and you don’t know how to stop it.

That is my take on anxiety and depression. It is an illness, like any other. As it is possible for us to break a bone, it is possible for us to break the brain. The mind is sick and it needs to heal. And it can heal, with time, understanding and patience.

What My Fridge Says

Comments

  1. November 15, 2017 / 7:10 pm

    This. Completely and utterly. Thank you for writing it.

  2. November 16, 2017 / 11:50 am

    Thank you. I am struggling myself… have been wanting to write about it but just can’t bring myself to … yet.

  3. Nick
    November 17, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    Been there too Lucy back in 2012. Seven bereavements in a year didn’t help and a real horrendous day at work was the final straw. I had even lost the ability to laugh and completely forgot about meeting an old friend as well. I was off work for three months and put on the happy pills. I’m still on them, they help to keep the playing field level.

    The early days of this bout with the black dog found me sitting in front of the TV channel surfing and would only move for physical needs (loo and kitchen) or going to bed. I wasn’t the best person to live with but eventually things started to improve.

  4. November 18, 2017 / 9:23 am

    Thanks for sharing this. We need to talk about anxiety and depression more openly, not least because the stresses, exhaustion and pressure of motherhood can put those of us already vulnerable at risk. I have suffered from anxiety, depression and stress in the past and at the same time. I am more mindful now of triggers but I can’t always avoid them. Factor in I’m a rare introverted personality type and a bit of an A Type too boot, it’s not a winning combo! I’m in an okay place right now and have been for a while but it’s always a worry that doesn’t quite go away.

  5. November 18, 2017 / 2:28 pm

    I had never experienced depression until in recent years. My husband started working abroad and after 4 years it really caught up with me and I couldn’t prevent the tide of despair I felt. It’s taken time to work out and a lot of acceptance. Now I really do have a good set of coping mechanisms – my life situation hasn’t changed so I had to. Sending love and understanding your way xxx

  6. November 18, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    I have really struggled with this, this year. Anxiety and PTSD are crippling, it has been incredibly dark at times. I don’t really share that part of me just now. Well done you for bringing it out in the open.

  7. November 18, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    I often think we only hear from people with depression / anxiety / any mental illness after they have come out the other side and are on the road to recovery / stability (at least for the time being. It is good for people who are in the middle of it to know that those lows they are feeling are lows that others have once felt – just as you are describing how it felt in that moment rather than looking back on it (which is a different perspective altogether).

  8. November 18, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    Thanks for writing this. I’m struggling myself right now, I’ve been off work since Monday last week, it’s good to know that I’m not alone. I suffer with seasonal affective disorder which means that depression tends to be an annual thing. For a long time I had it under control through exercise and a dawn simulator alarm clock. It’s my third winter since my daughter was born; the first was a breeze with her being a good sleeper and me being on maternity leave. Last year was awful, it was my first year as a working mum and I was really low, but I couldn’t admit that I couldn’t cope so I struggled through. Fast forward to this year where it set in early, possibly due to the death of my nan a few months earlier but I couldn’t say for sure. Some senior colleagues at work noticed that I was quite irritable which made me realise that I needed help. My daughter has been waking up regularly at night which generally ends with us bedsharing in the spare bedroom away from my alarm clock. So I saw a GP and got some medication which made me feel much better and my daughter’s sleep improved, then the clocks went back and I feel like I’ve gone back 2 or 3 months in time. Thankfully I have a great GP who decided to have one extra appointment following the clocks going back to make sure I didn’t need a higher dose. So hopefully later this week I’ll get back on track.
    I realise that I’ve almost written my life story here, but the point I’m trying to make is that you’re not alone and thankfully mental health is becoming less taboo.

    Again thanks for writing this, I needed to read it this week 🙂

  9. November 20, 2017 / 6:57 am

    It’s so important that posts like this are shared. Thank you for finding the words when I can’t. #thesatsesh

    • mebeingmummy
      November 20, 2017 / 8:35 am

      Xxx

  10. November 20, 2017 / 10:09 am

    Raw, honest and heartfelt. Such a hard post to write and kudos to you for taking the time and energy to share. It’s not easy sharing things like this, but they MUST be shared if we’re to be able to normalise mental illness. As you said, it IS an illness and one than can be treated. The more we talk, write, blog about it, the more people feel they’re not alone. #HoneybeeLinky

    • mebeingmummy
      November 20, 2017 / 10:12 am

      Exactly! Aww thank you… I just vented off at the time and then sat on it for 6 months and now I’m feeling more like myself it felt like the right time to press publish 🙂 xxx

  11. November 20, 2017 / 10:37 am

    This was such an honest post. My husband suffers with depression and I see the daily struggle. Raising awareness is so important #HoneyBeeLinky

    • mebeingmummy
      January 26, 2018 / 10:40 pm

      Thank you Jenny! Oh bless him. And you. It’s hard on everybody for different reasons. Struggling with depression sucks but it also sucks watching someone you love having to deal with it. I wish your OH (and you!) well xxx

  12. November 20, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing such an honest post. This must have been hard to share but it will help so many. I don’t have the depth of these feelings but there are moments where I have far more questions than answers and I find it a little too much. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone.

    Glad to be back with #honeybeelinky xx

  13. November 20, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    Very brave of you to write, sending lots of love X #honeybeelinky

  14. November 20, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing, mental health is such a hard topic to talk about because there is still so much stigma. Things are getting better but so many people don’t talk about it or breeze over it, it’s brave of you to speak up and explain how you feel! It should be spoken about! I hope you are doing well now. This also is beautifully written #honeybeelinky xxx

  15. November 20, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    Ir’s so important to speak out, thanks for doing so.
    It’s funny that many of us parents are so dedicated about teaching feelings and emotions to our kids, and sometime we are the first to suppress them. Admitting to struggle with mental health takes courage. It may feel like a failing, but it’s not. I think it’s extremely brave to take control on your own life in such hard times.
    #HoneybeeLinky

    • mebeingmummy
      January 26, 2018 / 10:44 pm

      Ahh; thank you Paola. It is SO important to speak openly about mental health and you’re right, if we are aiming to teach kids about emotional well being then it makes sense not to bottle it all up ourselves! Xxx

  16. November 20, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    Such an open and raw post, sometimes I find writing things like this down really helps and I hope you felt that too. Im so sorry you’ve had to go through PND, anxiety and depression is an awful thing and I hope you feel better soon, Im sure that by sharng this you’re helping someone else realise they’re not alone. Its so good to talk. Much love xxx

    • mebeingmummy
      January 26, 2018 / 10:45 pm

      Thank you lovely, it helps to write it out and also talk it out. Am on the mend, slowly but surely. I hope one day it all stops haunting me for good but little steps and all that. Big love xxx

  17. November 20, 2017 / 11:33 pm

    Gosh that made me a bit teary. I know so many of these feelings oh so well and you describe them with such raw honesty. Well done for sharing xx
    #honeybeelinky

    • mebeingmummy
      January 26, 2018 / 10:47 pm

      Awww Natalie! Sending big virtual hugs your way! Thank you, it’s good to talk and share about these things 🙂 xxx

  18. November 21, 2017 / 3:41 pm

    Well done you for being brave enough to share! What heartfelt post. Parenting two little ones is hard enough without suffering mental health issues on top – I take my hat off to you. You should feel very proud as I’m sure your post will give others who are maybe not yet brave enough to speak out a nudge in the right direction. #HoneybeeLinky

  19. November 21, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    This is such a powerful post, I’ve never read anything that has captured anxiety and depression so well. You will help so many people with this. It’s so important to talk and share our experiences so people know they are not alone xx #Honeybeelinky

  20. November 21, 2017 / 10:04 pm

    A very honest and brave post to share. Some parts of it resonate although I haven’t been as far down the hole as you have. You are very strong and I’m so glad you’re in a good enough place now to feel confident about sharing your experience <3 #HoneybeeLinky

  21. November 22, 2017 / 3:19 am

    Sounds almost like a prison for your mind. It’s truly hard for everyone on the outside to understand even a smidge of what a person with anxiety or depression is going through. And I think it’s wonderful that people are actually starting to talk about mental health. #honeybeelinky

  22. November 22, 2017 / 8:21 pm

    #thesatsesh wow! this is an amazing and brutally honest post, the type I’m sure you went back to a thousand times or wrote in one emotional burst. I hope this does reach many people and helps them…there is also a loving thread of compassion through the words you have chosen. beautiful x

  23. November 24, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    This paints an extremely vivid picture of how depression and anxiety can be. It is extraordinarily emotional and moving. I hope it really helped getting it down on paper and am pleased you are feeling more like yourself now. Lots of love xx #thesatsesh

    • mebeingmummy
      January 26, 2018 / 10:54 pm

      Ohhh thank you, at the time I was writing it I literally just plonked all my thoughts and emotions down and this was the result. It really did help, and everyone’s amazing feedback has affirmed it’s relevance and importance to me even more. We need to talk more about mental health and support one another. I’m feeling better, mostly, thank you. Some days are still a struggle but the black dog won’t keep me down! Lots of love back to you too xxx

  24. November 25, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    This is such an honest , raw post. I think you capture that horrid crippling feeling so well. So hard to imagine not feeling like that when you’re in the midst of it , but as you say it’s an illness and it possible to feel better from #HoneybeeLinky

  25. November 26, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    This is so raw and heartfelt but it is also beautifully written. I have a couple of friends who suffer from anxiety and depression and this is so helpful to help me understood exactly what they’re going through. Thank you for sharing #HoneybeeLinky

    • mebeingmummy
      January 26, 2018 / 10:58 pm

      Aww, thank you Becky. It’s tough for the people who are supporting sufferers too! How can you know what is going on inside someone’s head? If they are putting on a brave face or don’t have the inclination or the energy to open up then it’s even more difficult to understand. I’m so glad this has helped. You’re an amazing friend to them just for wanting to empathise with their situation anyway. Xxx

  26. November 26, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    Oh my goodness Lucy, this has to have been a difficult post to write. You have literally poured everything out onto the page. I’m so pleased that you have been given the support you need to help start healing your mind and I’m sure that you will help someone with this post. #HoneybeeLinky

    • mebeingmummy
      January 26, 2018 / 11:04 pm

      It was in some ways… mostly concentration as lack of that is a side effect of the bloody depression and anxiety! Not helpful when your hobby is to write a blog! Haha! But getting it all out of my head and heart felt really good, and the kind and loving response has been amazing too. If I can help even one person feel understood and less alone then that would be amazing. I’m healing my mind all the time, I hope one day the clouds will lift for good! Big love Jo xxx

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