Although adjusting to life here is getting easier, it's still not easy peasy. I'm really struggling with being off medication and I'm not sure how to go about getting on medication since I'm currently in the in between. My insurance in Oregon is expired, and I won't get health insurance here until my residence permit is approved. (Takes about 2-3 months). I have enough of my old prescription to last me two months, but a part of me is too scared to fucks with that. The withdrawals from that shit was ridiculous and I seriously just got over all of that. Too soon to do that again. I could try to go to a Doctor when I'm back in Portland in September but then I'm wondering how much it will be without insurance, if I can even get more than one month, blah blah blah. I'm not the kind of person to just mess around with anti depressants. Shits serious. Anyways... moving along.. end rant.
Something that's been really important to me the past few years is talking openly about mental illness. I feel like if I make myself vulnerable for the world to see then maybe others will feel at ease knowing they aren't alone. I know it sure helps me.
Ever since I got off Lexapro and finished the withdrawal symptoms I am back in my depressed mindset again. After being on medication for quite some time it's so incredibly uncomfortable to sit with this. When I'm depressed I feel no emotion. I feel like staying in bed forever. I sleep a lot. I'm exhausted. I feel like I have all of the words and yet no words. Then you add anxiety to that. Anxiety feels like all of the emotions. It's the "what if's". It's the fast fluttering of my heartbeat. It's feeling like there's something sitting on my chest. It feels like I can't breathe. Just last week I had a couple of panic attacks, and one was really bad. I felt as if my throat was closing in on itself. I started choking, gasping for air, crying. This was on the day I interviewed for a up and coming news media platform. Most people would be like "oh but you should be happy! You are doing great things! You're making a difference!" Yes, I understand this. But I can't control my brain. I can't control what it decides to tell me. I can only help it to rationalize what's going on, but I feel like I'm fighting for a breath some days. Some days I just don't have anything else to give to fight so I give in. The depression, anxiety, PTSD, agoraphobia washes over me and I'm left just staring up at the surface of the water. Feeling like I'm in a prison.
Yes, there are some days where I feel refreshed and good and like I can accomplish things. There are days where I can carry a conversation, where I feel like making art, where I want to be my best self. But then there are those days where I can't and I see how it hurts the people around me and I can't seem to do anything to fix it.
This photo describes me perfectly when I'm having a bad/anxious/depressed day. The only thing that seems to make me feel at ease is to take a nap in front of a fan cuddling a dog.
I've recently been reading "Furiously Happy" by Jenny Lawson and there was a chapter I read last night that really resonated with me. Here's a snippet:
"Agoraphobia--the fear of being in a situation where escape is impossible if things go shitty.
Some people are afraid of flying, and I am too, but not in the way that you think. I'm afraid of getting stuck, and lost, and paralyzed every single step of the way from my house to the plane. The only time my fear abates is when I'm actually in my seat and the plane takes off. It's not until that moment that I have no other choices or mistakes to make and so I can relax for a few minutes...I need the hour before we land to be quiet so I have time to study and memorize the terminal maps of the airport we'll be landing in, and triple - check my notes about every step of the travel are right, and worry about the unknown place we'll land and the myriad of spots I could become lost. The normal scared-of-flying people will exit the plane with obvious relief and I can't help but feel envious, both that their irrational fear is one normal people understand, and also that it's one that ends as they leave the plane."
The constant state of worry and anxiety that my brain is in takes a toll on my body. When I have a bad day, the day to follow is excruciating for my body. My legs hurt, my shoulders hurt, sometimes I get back pain or neck pain. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a fog. Sometimes I can barely keep my eyes open. Those are the days I'll spend sleeping. I'm talking like 14+ hours. I've been experiencing this agoraphobia and anxiety about social situations since I can first remember at the age of 5, shortly after my Dad passed away. I can almost feel the pain in my heart still from that little girl, so lost.
I'm going to go ahead and say this now: If it weren't for the internet, I'd be dead a long time ago. Being in another country is especially hard, but you know what keeps me going? The fact that there's an online community of people that 'care' about me. There was an interview I listened to yesterday with Corwin Prescott, and he talks about how with the internet he has an entire city/community with just instagram. It's all people that are into the same things as him, and can go anywhere he goes. I may not ever meet any of these people in my circle or even have a one on one conversation with them---but I know they are there and feeling the same things. I have a handful of people I can reach out to-- no matter how hard it is for me. Someone sending me a fucking rainbow emoji and sending a virtual hug can be such a huge deal when I'm in bed, crying, and hiding under the covers. Kindness and caring can go a long ways. So whatever you do, don't take that for granted. And I, of all people, need to listen to myself with that sentiment.