I feel as if I am drowning desperately kicking and swimming to keep breathing short sharp breaths. The breaths are getting shorter and harder and I know it’s time to stop fighting and start surrendering.
I’m feeling so sad today. Not a crying sad that gets the sadness out but a deep, empty sadness that doesn’t want to move.
I woke up at 3:30am this morning and wasn’t able to get back to sleep. Those dark, early moments of any day scare me.
It’s me, alone with myself and I feel as if nothing or no-one in the world exists. It feels like death, it feels like getting old and being forgotten. I project my fears into the future and completely forget to live in the moment.
I have to take a step back and see what is going on for me that I find myself engulfed by a dark bout of depression and anxiety.
A depression and anxiety that has visited me since I can remember. This is not a new feeling, this is an old, ingrained and entrenched way of being, surviving, trying to keep my head above water.
I need to let go.
Not of life, don’t get me wrong, despite my current state I still love living, experiencing and being alive. I need to surrender this fear that’s keeping me stuck in my head.
This head of mine that makes me know with every fibre of my being that addiction is a disease and that abstinence alone is not enough to live a life in recovery. I am clean and have been for over a decade of drugs and alcohol, I haven’t binged, purged or restricted food for almost as long. I haven’t lapsed on eating sugar so on the surface I have not acted out by using addictive behaviour. But it’s in my head and it’s a monster.
There’s a slogan in ‘the rooms’ as we call the 12 step fellowship that reads:
“This too shall pass” and I know it will but sitting with this darkness and looking it straight in the eye is terrifying at times, those times that I find myself alone and unable to distract myself from myself.
What’s going on is that I am faced with an incredible amount of uncertainty at the moment. Not only my own but that of my loved ones as well. Big life decisions that would render even the most ‘sane’ person a little hopeless and helpless.
There are no definitive answers, no-one else can tell me what to do and I don’t know the outcome of choosing one path over another. It scares me. It makes me feel completely out of control and alone.
So I wake up in the early hours of the morning having to face the nameless, faceless monsters labelled depression and anxiety. Scary monsters that many of us face in the society that we live in.
I often feel so far removed from those ‘normal’ people out there. The ones with the fancy houses and big cars, with the straight hair and nice clothes. I feel like an imposter pretending that everything is okay when it clearly isn’t.
And this is once again where I am saved by the sanity of the 12-step fellowship. In early recovery I attended a meeting a day for the first year. It saved me on so many levels, it made me feel part of a solution where I had only ever experienced being the problem. There’s another saying:
“Don’t judge your insides by someone else’s outside”.
We all fight our own battles and demons, some more publically than others. My life from the outside may look and amazing and often it is but there are also these times of immense insecurity that make me feel paralysed.
And that’s where I am right now. Writing this post has definitely allowed me to let go a little. My shame dies on exposure and this is exactly what has happened.
Where to from here? I keep writing, I keep sharing and I get these thoughts and feelings out of my busy head instead of festering inside. I walk in nature, I visit my parents, I go to a 12-step meeting and I do stepwork. I get back to basics. I know it works if I work it.
Have you suffered from depression and anxiety? What helps you in your darkest moments?