“It sounds like this isn’t so much an issue of the anxiety anymore, but more your depressive episodes.”
It seemed ridiculous to me. Anxiety has always been the “thing” I’ve held onto. I understood it. Sure, I didn’t welcome it, but I knew it and it knew me. We’d become accustomed with one another and I’d started to take the steps to combat it.
So why on earth were they trying to bring anything else into the mix?
She said I should start looking into long-term counselling. That CBT wasn’t the answer here: it was time to get to the root of where this was all coming from and open up about the past.
The thought terrified me. I wasn’t ready to start digging that deep. I kept those memories locked away for a reason: hunting out that key felt absolutely obscene.
And besides. I wasn’t that bad. I could get out of bed in the morning. I could go to work. I could smile, laugh, hold a conversation with a colleague.
People had it so much worse, after all.
The thought of just sitting and talking about myself, my woes, how dreadful things had been… well, it just felt hideously self involved. How dare I demand that attention, take up that time?
Sure, I had my low episodes. The past month I’d spent on an up and down battle. Mornings would be spent in tears as soon as I opened my eyes. At my worst I’d suffer from panic attacks trying to leave the house. Once I’d manage to get past the door the autopilot would begin. A numbness that could be masked on the surface level by erratic social media posts here and there trying to convince myself I was “happy” whilst on the flip side making a sudden decision to put a wall up blocking out my loved ones. I deleted my Facebook, stopped messaging my friends and kept myself to myself. Stopped training, stopped yoga, stopped anything that brought me a bit of joy.
But I was fine. I wasn’t THAT bad.
There was a trigger. This time, it was quite a big one in comparison to other times. When the intense sadness over the situation fully wrapped me in its dark cloak, I felt like I was drowning. The feeling was physical, palpable. My whole body would be weighed down by it, my mind a tunnel vision with no light at the end.
And then the cloak would lift and I would carry on.
Up, down. Up, down.
And now? Now I feel as if the fog has melted away. Mostly, anyway.
I’ve blocked it all out.
But maybe… maybe that isn’t a good thing.
Because it’s how I deal with things. I feel every feeling possible with a blinding intensity for a short period of time. Once I manage to drag myself out of that pit I can squeeze all those feelings away. I shut them in the cupboard and carry on, a picture of happiness as I become absorbed in my many passions and interests.
They’re like the monster hiding away in the closet. The one you try to forget.
Until it starts clawing away at the doors once again. Rattling inside its cage, desperate to break back out.
And the cycle continues. More and more and more and more. Days, weeks, months, years. Always finding yourself back in the same place.
What if I don’t want to find myself in that place anymore? What if I’m done with pretending that monster doesn’t exist?
I’m now in a position where I can’t help but ask: which one am I? Am I the girl who wanders down the shadowed corridors, anchor-less and lost? Or am I the girl teetering on the highest of highs, where life is a technicolour adventure?
Or am I someone in between?
Do I just need to accept that we all have our demons and clutch hold of the highs while I can? Hope that the lows will eventually disappear?
I need to find out. And yes, this might mean I am about to embark upon one of the most painful periods of my life as I uncover things I never thought I would have to address again, but the destination at the end will be oh so worth it.
And nothing worth having was ever easy.