Life with Depression & Anxiety

As I said in my welcome post, while this blog will mostly be book reviews, there will be  occasional posts of my musings on life. Today is one of those posts.

I have several mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety. For the most part, I’m still able to work full-time and do some things after work, depending on how many “spoons” I have left after work (Here’s a link if you don’t know what “spoons” means: The Spoon Theory).  Unfortunately, for the last 2 weeks or so, getting thru work has taken every single “spoon” I have for the day. By the time I make it through work, I’m utterly spent. If I do anything at night, it’s playing mindless computer games (Candy Crush Jelly, anyone?).

Of course, then my anxiety kicks in because I have all these books that I need to read for review purposes and I’m not getting to them. This in turn makes my depression worse, with depression kicking my butt, telling me I’m useless and worthless because I can’t get things done in the time frame that I said I would. Then my anxiety gets worse, etc… It can become a seemingly never-ending cycle in my head. I work hard at not letting it really bring me down. Most days I’m successful, but sometimes, it just feels like life is so overwhelming, I have an elephant on my back. This is one of those times.

I don’t share these things to elicit pity or whatever emotion it invokes in you. I share it for two reasons.

1) To serve as a semi-apology. The anxiety ridden part of me says I should apologize for not having a post in over a week. Particularly when I have such a large queue of things to read. Logically my brain knows that I don’t need to give an apology, but I’ve found in these situations, it’s better to issue the apology instead of stewing about it for weeks. It helps keep the panic at bay for a while longer. It’s a perfect example of picking one’s battles. I need my spoons for fighting off the negative thoughts about myself that depression gives me, not for fighting the panic of not apologizing, especially if apologizing will take care of that panic for me.

2) I’m a firm believer that if we don’t talk about mental illnesses and mental health issues, they won’t lose their stigma. You never know who in your life might be suffering from one or more mental illnesses. Those of us who suffer from mental health issues often hide them because the stigma behind them is so huge. I’m pretty careful about how much I share and with whom. You never know how someone’s going to react when you tell them about these things. I don’t want to lose friendships over it, or the job I love. Consequently, I work really hard at not letting them interfere with my life.

Most days, if you saw me at my job, you’d never know I was battling these illnesses. But I know they’re there and I know how tough the battle is, but very few would be able to tell. My job is in the customer service field, which means working with the public. I do all I can to be a smiley, cheerful figure for people to in order to help them the best I can.  Sometimes, it just doesn’t work and more of the depression seeps through, but most days you wouldn’t be able to tell.

During the harder times, I try to stay positive and try to not get too down on myself. I have to live with these conditions for the rest of my life so I’ve got to make the best of it. Sometimes that means I have to be gentle with myself and try to control the panic over not getting things done when I want to. Sometimes that means finding someone to help motivate me and get something done. And sometimes it just means I need to rest more.

I’m not ashamed that I have depression and anxiety. Yes, some days they’re really tough to work with and life doesn’t go so well. Other days they’re more manageable and I can go about living my life. But I do have to be realistic and know that sometimes, sometimes I’m just going to have to rest and not get everything done. It sucks, but I know from experience, it’ll just make things worse if I push myself too far.

So for now, I’m behind on reviews. I’m hoping that things will improve soon so I can back on track. Please bear with me. Thank you for being here and reading my posts.