In the past, I had never really vocalised my struggles with depression and anxiety. I liked and shared self-deprecating memes and vented my thoughts to my boyfriend, but I never really addressed how utterly sad, overwhelmed and scared I was some days. Some days I would just get up (after snoozing my alarm quite a few times), drag myself to get ready, then leave the house in a complete and total daze. It was like a fog of thoughts: not thinking and completely over thinking at the same time. Other days, I would wake up on time, pop my anti-depressants, enjoy my shower and get ready while listening to a podcast, then stroll to the train station, breathing in the fresh morning air and looking forward to reading a chapter of a book during the journey to work.
Up until the end of 2017, I had a lot of days I call “autopilot days.” Getting up, getting ready, going to work, interacting with people, doing things I enjoy but feeling absolutely nothing. Or if I did feel anything, I would push it down deep inside and it would only resurface all at once when I was completely exhausted of feeling nothing at all and everything all at once. I started addressing my overwhelming cycle of feelings after the passing of my nan in 2017. I finally chose to actively do something about this cycle when I started seeing a therapist. This was something that had been recommended to me by GPs but I never felt my problems where “problem” enough to speak to somebody qualified in understanding and helping with feelings.
It was hard at first, I’d just sit there and answer questions. I couldn’t manage to express how I was feeling and I wasn’t present. After a few sessions, I started open up and start addressing the things in my life that were making me so unhappy. Once I started feeling, I couldn’t stop. With therapy, I am able to process my feelings and not bottle them up. I could breathe for the first time in forever, and not just hold my breath until I had to gasp for air.
With the support of my therapist, my boyfriend, my and loved ones, I made the decision to take some leave from work. This time off allowed me to grieve, feel, do whatever I felt like, and gave me the space I needed to address a lot of negative things in my life. A lot of days I just lay in bed, scrolling through Instagram and listening to podcasts. Some days I got up, did loads of activities, felt inspired to write, and didn’t feel sad once. Other days I just wanted to get drunk and watch Netflix and feel absolutely nothing.
Since taking that time off I have reclaimed a lot of balance in my life and mentally felt a lot stronger to deal with life than I ever did before. I thought a lot about the things I was doing that was to please other people and gave me nothing but more anxiety and guilt in return. I could never live up to my own standard’s, let alone anyone else’s I tried to achieve. I took a long hard look at the people I was letting into my life, the huge amount of emotional energy I was giving them and the lack of empathy they were giving me.
I started reading books again, putting more work into my blog, putting more effort and empathy into the relationships that mattered, and really stepping back from the things that were making me miserable. For the first time in ages, I actually felt like I am involved and in control of my life, and not just sitting by and letting it happen.
I never thought I’d be so open about my actual feelings but I’m glad I have. If you, or somebody you know, are struggling please take the time to listen to them, do something little to help them, or just let them rant until they’ve got it all out. Stay woke and practice self-care.
Read more from Danielle at thebreakfastclubblog.com.
This is a guest post. Click here for more information on submitting content to the blog.