Monday, August 27, 2012

Hitting "Publish" and Holding My Breath

I hate me today. 

Please don’t flinch when you read that.  This post is all about getting myself to stop feeling that way, so please, don’t be scared to read on.

I’m ok, I swear.  I know I’m ok. 

But I’m also kind of not.

It has just been one of those times where no matter how many things I have going right in my life I’m having trouble finding the sun.  All I can focus on are the slightly wrong things in my life. 

And by “slightly wrong” I mean, “absolutely fucking ridiculous non-problems”.  I mean how I said something in a funny voice one time and no one laughed and now they must all think I’m some kind of creep. I mean how I walked out of the bathroom with a piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe in a crowded place and now everyone who was there is walking around thinking “God, did you see that girl? What a dirtball.”  I mean how I stuttered when the cashier at the drugstore asked me how my day was going and now they must think I’m an idiot. The list goes on and on and on…

All of these little things that I say or do just pile up (and pile up… and pile up…) and I keep berating myself for all of them.  Some of these things happened hours ago, some happened days ago, some moths ago, some years.  It doesn’t matter how long ago it was, if I did something even slightly less than perfect, I can’t let myself go for it.  I keep trying to tell myself how pointless it is to think so negatively, but it’s hard to keep the thoughts out of my head.  They pop up at the most random times, when I’m doing the dishes, when I’m having a conversation, when I’m singing a song, playing the piano, walking to the drugstore, swinging at the park.

All of these little things bog me down and none of them – not a single one of them – matters to anyone but me.

I have never been diagnosed as having depression or anxiety because I feel like I snap out of this before medical intervention is necessary (and because I'm scared), but I know that’s what this is.  People have actually tried to tell me that I’m not going through depression – that there’s no way I could possibly be because I’m always so bright and happy.  I can’t describe it any better than this quote from Kat Kinsman’s article on CNN from last week as she describes one of her friends:
"We met in our freshman year of college, and he was one of the loudest, funniest, most exuberant humans I'd ever met -- and the most deeply depressed. Not that anyone outside our intimate circle knew; like many of us who live with the condition, he wore a brighter self in public to distract from the darkness that settled over him behind closed doors. Most people don't see depression in others, and that's by design. We depressives simply spirit ourselves away when we've dimmed so as not to stain those who live in the sun."
I’m a big believer in the philosophy “fake it until you feel it” – that idea gets me through these rough patches better than a lot of other options I’ve tried (like hiding in my bedroom, fighting with friends/family, watching angry movies, or doing other hurtful things) and usually I can pretend to be happy long enough that eventually I’ll start to believe it and I’ll regain actual happiness again. 

But I know I’m a lot luckier than a lot of people who have depression or anxiety because I know this doesn’t work for a lot of you.

One of the best things we can do is talk about it. 

As the author of the above article explains, it helps. 

I’ve always felt like I had no right to talk about my depression and anxiety because mine is a lot subtler than most – but sometimes that’s just as dangerous.  That also means there are probably a lot of other people out there who experience similar things and don’t know how to deal with the feelings they have, don’t know how to get help and don’t know how to keep looking forward to the brighter days and just might give into the feelings of darkness and not look back – because they don’t have “real depression” so they never seek out the help they need.

Luckily, I have a support system that helps me through my subtle, yet real, depression and anxiety. 

About a month ago I hit rock bottom and I didn’t know what I was going to do other than to keep living in my little hole and just plead with the universe to make it all better.  Then one night, I was having a conversation with Finny (one of my best friends) and I knew I had to tell him what I was going through.  I said it quietly and my lip trembled and I even tried to brush it off by making it “not a big deal”, but he knows me well enough to see through all of those signs.  He gave me a hug, let me talk through it and told me he loves me. 

And it helped.  Gods, did it help.

Then I told Francesca and her boyfriend and they both told me they love me and they hugged me and made me feel a little better.  Then I told my brother and he told me he loved me and hugged me (virtually) and made me feel a little better.  Finally, I started feeling a lot better and I was able to get out of my apartment again and get back into the real world.

But it’s still an uphill battle. 

This weekend I tried to do too much and I got knocked down a peg again.  So on Sunday when I was laying in a pool of depression, Luke (another of my best friends) came over to my apartment and watched guilty-pleasure shows with me for a few hours and held my hand and told me he loved me.

I’m thankful every day for my family and friends who help me through my most trying times.  I’m thankful for my mother who helped me to notice the “trigger” signs of my depression long ago and how she and my dad keep me pointed in the right direction when times get toughest.  I’m thankful for coworkers who understand my moods and know when I need space and when I don’t.  I’m thankful for strangers who share smiles or words of encouragement just because they know where I’m coming from.

Finally, I’m thankful for me.  I’m happy I know how to recognize the signs and that I’m becoming comfortable talking about my depression and anxiety.  I’m thankful that I’m learning to forgive myself for it so that each time I start to slip I slip for a little less time and don’t get as low.  I’m thankful that I’ve finally realized this is a part of me.  I’m thankful for realizing that I need to love myself for my depression and anxiety just as much I love myself for my frizzy-hair and curves.

So today, now, I’m on the road to loving me again.

And I also love you.  I want you to know I’m here for you if you need me.

Annie Jay

Today's post also comes with a reading list if you want to hear more stories from people who are in the same shoes:

And I'm sure there are thousands more out there.  Have any other stories you'd like to share?  You can email them to me or leave them in the comments section.



  1. A.) Ann, you sincerely rock.
    2.) I don't say that about most people because I don't actually believe they sincerely rock although technically I should say that I do believe that everyone equally rocks too, but that is only a level that is relative to them and their own evolution and everyone's inherent ability to overcome anything with enough motivation...but that is not what I am talking about, I am talking about in comparison to the level I consider myself to be at, so know that you are rocking it on a very intense level to be getting my "sincere rocking" praise.
    D.) The more one rocks, the more difficult life becomes on some levels because others who are not rocking it so hardcore, on an intuitive level sense that you are doing certain things right that they are not doing, and subconsciously (even though they most likely would never think they are acting in these ways) they are jealous and they etherically project more negativity at you and it makes their target more sensitive to smaller feelings because on a subconscious level you can tell you are being judged harsher and it's unfair because you should be giving more praise for being so awesome...this conundrum makes being awesome very difficult in many ways...many of which most people aren't fully aware of. So my overall point I am getting at here is that, don't worry, it's totally normal to feel depressed even over trivial things, because its just yourself trying to deal with all of the extra negative vibes being sent at you from others and your own subconscious is trying to get your attention so you can send yourself more love to make up for the lack of love that you should be receiving from everyone else. All of which I mentioned, is especially true from those you don't know very well (and even some from those who you do and care for you...because it's mostly a subconscious/energy thing even though they may like/love you, they can't help it from happening completely)
    44.) Ultimately, like you said, things are a problem but yet not a problem and because of how much you rock you will always come out the better for it in the end (which you are already aware of, but it's nice to have the reminder)

    So ultimately, it's all just a challenge and a way to strengthen yourself and make yourself even more awesome...which of course will also result with even more subconscious lower energy being projected at you from others...but obviously, along with that comes the increased positive vibes from the world as well so it always balances out in your favor in the end and you can continually keep improving and enjoying life more. I find the whole thing strange and in many ways unfortunate (not to mention complex and out there) but that's just how it goes so just remember to cut yourself some slack and give yourself lots of encouragement, and when you're not feeling as down to extend that slack/encouragement to everyone else (no matter how relatively low they are rocking it) because we all have to deal with it if we are trying to grow as people...and sadly many people aren't even self-aware enough to recognize they are still growing as a don't forget to give yourself props for even being at the point because sadly many people never get even that far. (not that it's a competetion :-) )

    So in short, keep on a-rockin.

    1. I always think "negativity loves company" and try to surround myself with positive influences. Unfortunately, sometimes I'm one of the negative influences on my life - but I'm getting better at realizing when I've been negative and correcting myself by saying something positive to myself. Even if I don't believe it, putting that positive thought back in my head is better than dwelling on the negative one.

      You keep on rockin too ;-)

  2. Ahh, my Peachy-pie, you know I love you to pieces.

    1. Thanks for giving me strength - I love you too!

  3. I so know what you mean here. I was diagnosed with anxiety once but was able to do therapy instead of any drugs. It helped me at LEAST recognize the signs, so I can see when I'm starting to spiral with anxiety and depression. I can't always do anything about it, but at least I can warn my spouse/friends and work on remembering that depression lies.

    It's an ongoing cycle. Sigh. Sometimes just remembering it's a cycle helps me (reminds me this too shall pass and all that).

    1. Recognizing signs of it and understanding that it's a cycle definitely keep me pulling through it every time. Gods, finally realizing that was a blessing - and one I've really only just started to grasp.

  4. Ah, I know that "hate myself" feeling. But try to avoid it. It accomplishes nothing. Just try to be honest with yourself and others, and you'll be freer.

    My Ahole Depression and Anxiety can suck me down on any given day, (I have a whole "Ahole Depression" section on my blog to prove it), but at least if I can aknowledge it, then I can face it.

    Keep trying. It WILL get better.

    And don't be ashamed of meds if you need them. They gave me the brief lift I needed so I could concentrate on making myself stronger.

    1. Thank you Marianna :-)

      I'm definitely trying to focus only on feelings that help me to progress in my life instead of letting the negative ones hold me back. I can't keep dwelling on the bad - unfortunately some times this seems to be out of my control, but acknowledging what causes it seems to help me be able to snap out of it sooner.