Friends – I haven’t been blogging much lately and the formatting on WordPress has changed. This post looks funky, but bear with me as I learn the new format. You’re here for the writing, not the lovely design, right? Right.
Last month I had a check-up with my doctor for my depression and anxiety. I wasn’t really looking forward to this appointment because I never know what to expect.
Am I doing okay? I think I am…but, maybe I’m not? What will the doctor think?
My doctor is absolutely fantastic and we had a really good visit. We decided not to change anything in my treatment. I was surprised because things had been changing at every visit for 4 years. Always trying new things and monitoring. I was kind of proud of myself and thought I deserved a gold star or something.
I asked if I could start coming off of some of the medication since I was doing so well and that got a “no” really fast. My doctor reminded me that I’m finally at the place where I’ve wanted to be for 4 years. I’m happy & living a full life without shame, guilt or anxiety. This was the goal all along.
For the last 4.5 years going to the doctor for depression & anxiety has
been exhausting. Right before my assault I was on a low dose of antidepressants and I was actually looking at going off of them. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I have filled out more forms ranking my sadness, energy & anxiety in the past 4 years than I have filled out any other form. Each time I would go in after my assault for a check-up the doctor was always trying to determine if the medicine and talk therapy was working or not. Could it be working better?
At the height of my PTSD, depression & anxiety I didn’t really know what
feeling good was. I mean, I know life could always be worse so I must not be
doing that bad. Heck, maybe I’m doing better than I thought I was and I can
wean off of the drugs! Then reality sets in and I’ve isolated myself in my
apartment in DC and have no interest talking to anybody.
I could put on a good show for people and pretend to be okay, but I was also
pretending to myself too. I would go to the doctor, tell them I wasn’t suicidal, and that I felt melancholy. That was the honest truth. Was I miserable? I mean, it could always be worse but I guess I’m okay. Not exactly a great way to live life. I knew the suffering would stop someday, I just didn’t know when. A few months, years, decades? Who knows?
Putting in the Work
In order to really get to a better place and dig myself out of the hole of
depression & anxiety, I had to put in the work. Sure, the medication helped but if I truly, TRULY wanted to get better I had to confront my depression & anxiety head on. This meant a lot of therapy and a lot of self-actualization.
For a long while, I felt like I was analyzing every aspect of my life. It got
really old, really fast and I got sick of thinking about myself. As someone who has historically taken care of everyone else but myself, this whole thing was more difficult than I thought. Who am I to be focusing on
myself? There are other people out there worse off than me.
Buck up and move along.
We’ll just say that the bucking up thing didn’t quite work the way I wanted
and I had to continue to put in the work. Nobody could do it for me. Not my parents, my sister, my friends, my coworkers. Me and me alone. I had to own this, even if someone else and a situation caused all my pain. I had to own my recovery.
How Will I Know?
It’s been so long since I started this journey of healing myself that it is
hard to remember how far I’ve come. I just keep my head down and continue to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like I’m getting really close to that light. But, how will I know when I get there?
I’m very proud of myself, but if I’m being honest, I’m kind of disappointed
too. Maybe not disappointed… I have come a long way and I know that I am
getting better every day. I just forget how deep in the hole I was and while
I’ve made great progress, I still have a way to go. When will it really be the
end? I don’t think that there is an end because trauma never goes away and you learn to live with it.
It’s taking me awhile to get used to this being ‘okay’ thing. Things are going well right now, but I’m waiting for something awful to happen. Life can’t
get too good, right? Call it anxiety, or the power of negative thinking but I’m
getting used to this new stage in recovery.
Okay is a good place to be, but I’m not satisfied with okay. I need to remember to be nice to myself and not let my overachieving tendencies take over, because previously being only okay was not okay in my world. Do more, strive more, be more. Those demons still haunt me. I guess they were good demons in a way because they kept me motivated, but they were very bad as well.
I lost myself in my work. For the longest time I thought that was okay, and
living in Washington, DC gives you the illusion that it really is okay to be
lost in work. But, over the past four years I’ve realized that I am not my
work. Work is a small part of who I am. I’m still working on grasping that
I’m learning to be patient with myself again. I have to keep saying to
myself, “you are not your work”.
Other women can be defined by being a wife or mother and I don’t have that. Work has always defined me, but those days are gone. I’m a survivor, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a teacher and the list goes on.
I’m an adrenaline junkie and accomplishments are my drug of choice. My accomplishments now will be less tangible but more meaningful.
So, I say all of this to let you know that it is taking me awhile to get
used to this new normal of being okay.
So, hang in there with me everyone. I’m getting used to this new reality of
being okay. I’m so used to the struggle that I don’t quite know what to do. It’s like the sun is rising on a new chapter in my life. It’s exciting for sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Sharing a favorite song of mine that gets me going in the gym and reminds me to shake the devil off my back.