Story Wall for hope

Please share your story with us and help shine a light of HOPE on depression. Your story can help inspire and honor the 350 million with depression worldwide.

Ashley

sunflower
Life is made up of pieces; tiny snapshots, vivid images, flooding throughout our lives.

We hold on to distant memories and nearly forgotten events. Eventually the pieces we are actually able to grasp at make us who we are. But, what if there are no pieces left when it’s all said and done? What do we become then? I try to cling to these pieces of life, but not all memories are meant to be kept.

Most of the time I feel like a ticking bomb just waiting on bated breath for the one catalyst to end it all and not be able to stop it. Where is the off switch? How do I dismantle it? I am destructive. I destroy things; myself, my mind, my relationships. All of it crumbles around me.

I wrote this, among other things, when I was undergoing what I consider the lowest point of my depression.
I guess I had begun showing signs of depression and anxiety as early as high school. I had always been a little off growing up, but I also had assumed that everyone was just as high strung as I was in their own way. All in all, I had managed to make it through high school and college without so much as a hint of my disorder other than random panic attacks. When I hit my second year out of college, my symptoms began to change. I began to notice my anxiety and obsessive compulsion more and more with little signs. I felt the need to check and double check things, make endless lists, and obsess over problems until a solution was found.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (More like, obsessive thoughts), and Major Depression Disorder was what the doctor called my new found diagnosis. After a month of treatment, I had grown to accept it, and worked even harder to get rid of it. Being this way wasn’t an option for me and yet one label had suddenly taken my whole life by storm.
The pivot point of my anxiety turning toward depression came when my closest friend, and roommate at the time, began to distance herself from me due to her own problems she wasn’t ready to talk about yet. I had always had abandonment problems; however this seemed to heighten everything.

There were frequent days when I didn’t want to get out of bed. On these days, I was always accosted with feelings of helplessness, isolation, and confusion. Trying as hard as I could, nothing was able to distract from my own repetitive thoughts pounding away against the back of my skull; you’re not worth it. Over and over again, doubt, fear, darkness, and loneliness seemed to cloud what positive thoughts I tried desperately to hold on to. I had decided early on that skepticism is my worst enemy. Perhaps it’s everyone’s worst enemy. I wanted it gone, but how could I lose skepticism when it’s all I’ve ever known? I kept thinking I was being lied to, that I wasn’t trusted or cared about enough. I let myself think that I wasn’t important. This led to the overwhelming want to end everything then and there.

Thankfully, I had friends and family to help me through these times. I remember two key nights during the low point of my depression; the first was when my friend told me she didn’t want to live with me anymore because of my issues. As one could imagine, the feeling of abandonment that I had tried so hard to get rid of came seeping through. I somehow managed to make it into the bathroom, my safe place at the time, in a heap on the floor with nothing but my phone. Thankfully my friend who had been working on her own anxiety and depression drove an hour and sat with me weeping in her lap. The second time, my parents had to be summoned from two and a half hours away while I sat on the phone with my mother and a close friend. In both situations, I am not sure what I would have done without people watching over me.

From that moment on depression is a word that has infiltrated my daily vocabulary. No matter how often I had seen the Cymbalta advertisements on the television, the Xanax billboard on the side of the freeway, I couldn’t have been prepared for the doctor visit where my life would transform into a plot out of a Lifetime movie. I had never once thought that the lonely person on the television screen could be me.

People say all the time that people don’t understand them. They don’t get what they are going through. I didn’t really understand depression, anxiety, and OCD until it happened to me. I thought I was normal. That everything I have done, the decisions I have made, were a result of my personality. It isn’t normal to obsess over things. It’s not normal to feel your heart rate pick up because you are terrified of saying the wrong things.

I’ve been on medicine for a few months and some days are better than others. Antidepressants are a weird thing. First and foremost, they block out dwelling on the negatives in my life. However, for twenty-four years my brain has been wired to obsess over them, obsess over any little thing that it wants. The result of a mix of these two things results in my brain having a constant battle with itself. It’s hard to put into words, especially when I didn’t have any to begin with. The medicine- “Meds” as I often call them- put up a sort of block, not unlike a brick wall, in my mind.

I am still dealing from repercussions, as you can imagine, from my depression. However, thanks to doctors, counselors, family, and friends I am able to continue and find hope at the end of the rising storm. When I begin to falter, I have people ready and willing to pick me up. I managed to survive my personal hell thanks to the hope of a new day and the promise that life will get better.

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