This is a hard post. It’s been rolling around in my brain for awhile and I know it’s important to share. Shedding light on my fears and my shame is the only way I can grow.
I’ve been very public about my depression but if you don’t know or have forgotten – I spent my high school and college years clinically depressed. I was suicidal, I was a self mutilator, I was on so many pharmaceutical drugs. I didn’t sleep for years. I’m honestly not sure what actually changed – whether it was not having health insurance and going off all meds and having to figure it out (not safe, don’t do that!) or whether it was my divorce and having to figure it out… I’m not sure. Even after my divorce, I was self medicating with alcohol.
I made huge crazy strides within my mental health. I have worked hard at being aware of my “stuff” through meditation, through daily writing, through figuring out what things are most important for me to do to be the best me possible.
AND. I still struggle. Most recently, I’ve been struggling quite hard. While I was training for Lake Placid, I experienced some significant anxiety and intense anxiety attacks. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone. And. It has returned. The anxiety has reemerged. For awhile I was ashamed of this feeling and hid it, even from myself. I assumed that my lack of sleep and my constant state of fear in my gut was due to something within my control, so I tried to control it more. (Total type A behavior response. ha)
Then I realized how bad it was when I was snapping at people I loved due to my lack of sleep. I wasn’t excited about doing the things I loved. My brain was on loop – returning to conversations that I should’ve said something different or what I will do tomorrow when I’m in that situation. Ugh. It is all too much.
So. I decided to get some help. I really didn’t feel like things were bad enough (yet) to go back to therapy – not because I’m too proud of therapy, I LOVE my therapist and I think I can navigate this right now using the tools I have with some extra support. I called my acupuncturist. And he’s awesome. His name is Josh and he’s basically a boy version of me. He’s intense and talks too much and is obsessed with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. And he cares about people. So I’ve gone 3 times so far – in a 7 day span. It has helped a bit – the day of the acupuncture I sleep well, but it hasn’t been sustainable. So on Monday, he put me on some Chinese herbs. They are liquid form. And so far I’ve taken “three doses”. I slept well last night (actually through the night!) and on the other hand, I have a snow day today, so maybe it’s not magic just yet.
I am sharing this for many reasons – 1) because when we shed light on our struggles, it makes it easier to get through things 2) we all think many people have their ish together and they don’t, and it’s nice to know that some people can struggle and not fall completely apart (and maybe I will fall completely apart… stay tuned.) 3) I have no shame in my experiences as a human, it all helps me to be a better human with compassion and empathy.
What do you do when you struggle? What are your coping skills when things are tough?