The last 6 weeks or so has been incredibly long. I've been in a deep depression/anxiety loop. I'm not really sure where it came from, but it hit me hard. It started in late April, around the same time as the 1 year anniversary since I lost my job. I had to have some blood work done to make sure I didn't have an autoimmune disorder (I don't), H is being a typical teenager, changes with school for me, getting out into the dating world again after 2 years.... The list can go on for a while. I don't do big changes very well so all of this hit me like a ton of bricks. Thank God I have a good doctor who doesn't hesitate to increase my medication if and when it's needed. I was thinking of the things that have helped me cope with this terrible "loop" and thought I would write them down. Maybe it will help someone else at some point. Maybe it will help me again at some point to go back over this post and remind myself that I will be OK.
Please remember that I'm not a doctor. These are things that help me. Please talk with your doctor if you are having problems with depression or anxiety.
My family is incredibly supportive and always has been and I am incredibly close to most of them. The unconditional love that comes with (most) families is a tremendous help. Knowing that you can call a family member that will listen to you yell, scream, repeat yourself over and over makes handling these "loops" a little easier.
Being a typical Pisces, I don't have a lot of super close friends. I have a lot of acquaintances, but only a handful of people that I trust enough to open up. Unfortunately, I don't trust just one person to tell everything. There are things I talk to Mom about or my cousin or my sister or one of my 3 best friends. It's something I know that I need to work on. The love and acceptance between friends is different from what is gotten from family. These people know about my "issues" and not only accept it, but still want to be seen with me, even on my worst days.
As is fairly typical with a Pisces, music is therapy for me. I can get lost in listening to a variety of music while I'm sitting on my porch. Music is an escape. My downstairs neighbors get a nightly "porch concert", which I'm not sure they particularly enjoy, but it makes me feel grounded and safe. My go-to is usually pop-opera like Il Divo, good old country music (Tim McGraw/Brad Paisley), and people that nobody has ever really heard of like Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess.
I don't write as much as I should, but it is very therapeutic to see those words pop up as I type. It's almost like once I start, the words just seem to flow. I might be writing for school or even helping H write an essay. Either way, writing helps more than I even realize sometimes.
Breathing seems like such a simple thing to do. But when you're in the middle of a panic attack, it makes it hard to breathe. I can usually feel a panic attack coming on about an hour or so before it starts because my chest feels tight, almost like an asthma attack. My doctor makes sure that I always have a prescription for a rescue inhaler. Breathing deeply in and out can sometimes make a panic attack a little shorter.
H and the cats
This one is a very personal and very effective aid in dealing with the "loop". H is finally old enough to understand that Mama isn't just being weirder than normal. He might not actually offer words of encouragement, but he will hand a cat to me, reminding me that they are good "tear catchers". The cats with their antics (particularly Saturn with her constant running) rarely fail to make me at least smile, if not laugh outright. She is such a little nut and possibly the happiest cat on the planet.
I know this seems like the wrong thing to do when you're stuck in this vicious loop, but for me, having my alone time is a requirement. If I do feel like I need to hide from the world for a while, I also know that I'm not completely alone since I can pick up the phone and have human contact without actually leaving my apartment.
Getting lost in a sea of fabric and thread helps so much. There are no expectations of talking about what's bothering me with the sewing machine (and if my sewing machine DID actually talk back, I'd be very concerned. I'm learning a new craft called tatting. It is very relaxing to follow a pattern and make something.
Medications are not a last resort for me. I know that I need to be on an antidepressant and an anti-anxiety. Both have been increased in the last 6 weeks. The increase has finally started to help. It's OK to need medications to deal with depression and anxiety. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with admitting you need a little help.
I'm finishing up a final anatomy class before I will be at Wake Tech full time. Knowing that I can't miss class regardless of how I feel makes me get my ass out of bed and get going.
Not fighting the panic attack
It's gonna happen no matter how much you don't want it to happen. Don't fight it and maybe, just maybe, it won't last as long as you thought it would.
The Best News
The best news is that I'm finally starting to pull myself out of this. It's been a long and exhausting 6 weeks. But I realize that the panic attacks aren't gonna kill me. I don't feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin at anytime. I haven't cried over something silly like the top not going on my contact case.