My alarm blares, waking me up. The ringing in my ears echoes with a gross shrill. I normally wake up staring at a wall. I never sleep on my back (I can’t sleep that way) so one wall or the other is always in sight.
But almost every day, I wake up with the same mindset: when is the next time I get to crawl back into bed?
I mentally go through my schedule. I walk through my classes, try and think about what the professor might be talking about that day, figure out when I’ll be able to eat, when I go to practice, etc.
Basically, I mentally go through my day before I even step foot out of the warmth of my comforter.
Throughout all of this, I usually convince myself to get out of bed. Like, in other words, I need a validated reason to get out of bed. I can’t do it on my own.
Normally, the reasoning behind it is going to basketball practice, the anxiety of missing class, and other reasons. Usually, my anxiety for missing out on things overrides the depression that tries to hold me back.
I don’t remember the last time I didn’t go through this before getting out of bed.
After getting out of bed, I’m usually more motivated than I had been just minutes ago, the adrenaline from my anxiety fueling me for the rest of the morning.
In classes, depression will sometimes take over. Thoughts like the ones below take over my brain, often times causing me to lose focus.
- Why am I even here?
- I’m not smart enough for this.
- I bet no one in here would even care if I left.
- What’s the point?
It’s deafening, especially in a quiet room.
The worst part of it all, though, is if someone notices and asks you if you’re okay. You can’t exactly say, “No, I’m not okay, I have anxiety and depression and I’m having a bad day.”
Talking about having a mental illness in most settings is pretty much taboo and shied away from. (This should definitely stop.)
So, instead of confiding in others in the moment, I have to improvise.
I’ve learned that any time I have to think, is when the negative thoughts usually start to take place. So, having outlets to let out energy and more importantly- negative energy, is a must for me.
Some outlets I have are:
- Basketball– It’s a physical and mental activity, and helps me release all of the pent up stress and energy that fuels both my anxiety and depression.
- Drawing– I recently took up a drawing course when I was in a particularly rough patch, and found out that I not only like drawing- it’s a great way to create an image of what I am feeling.
- Visiting A Psychologist– I go to a psychologist twice a week, and have found out that being able to speak to someone who is paid to have no judgement towards me is a great way to alleviate burdens and get things off my chest.
- Crafting– Like drawing, doing different crafts by looking on Pinterest and coming up with different DIY ideas is a great way to focus on something fun and creative, and forget about the negative thoughts and feelings.
- Writing– I love creative writing, and I found out that writing about my experiences with mental illness and creating characters that were different from myself to give the burden to (instead of placing it on myself) is a great outlet to use.
- Journaling– Like writing creatively, journaling is influential to me in getting my thoughts and feelings out of my head (literally) and forcing them onto paper, like taking that weight off of my shoulders.
- Other Physical Activity– Basketball practice doesn’t last all day, so when I find myself in class, sitting in my apartment, or pretty much anywhere (like an airport) and getting lost in my thoughts, I often quickly crank out 20 push-ups, 25 sit-ups, do some squats, and some calf-raises. Getting myself physically tired helps me release the negative emotions.
That was merely a glimpse of what types of coping skills there are for people to move on from rough thoughts and emotions, and focus on something else. My next post will be covering these things, as I find them to be essential for people like me.
The only problem is sometimes I am in a situation where I can’t exactly go and crank out some pushups, pull out a drawing pad, pull out my computer to write and journal, or go visit my psychologist.
So, in these cases, life can get to be pretty difficult.
Often times when this happens, I have no other choice than to fight. I am always fighting the internal battle that is taking place in my mind every second of every day. I’m either dreaming of it, feeling it while I’m awake, or pushing it to the side. There’s no escape.
Therefore, when I can’t escape it through coping mechanisms and outlets- I need to fight it and face it head on.
Let me tell you, it’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
And I’ve played sports with a broken back and torn hamstring, which happened to be pretty painful. So the fact that this exceeds that kind of pain is kind of horrible.
My depression is telling me one thing, to just sit down and give up, while my anxiety is telling me another, and analyzing all the reasons why I should not give up and the consequences of said action.
Every move I make is over-analyzed, over-thought, and way more tiring than it should be. That’s my anxiety.
I will seriously stand in front of a mirror the morning before I am about to talk to my teacher about being gone because I will be out of town, and practice what I am going to say over, and over, and over again.
Then, I normally don’t even end up saying what I had practiced and freak myself out even more.
Every move I make is also judged by myself. A part of me always wants to just stop. End it. Be done with it and go back to my bed and curl up in a ball.
A voice in my head… the depression… reminds me how tired I am and reminds me of the dark bags that hang underneath my eyes. It reminds me of the peace I feel when asleep and the pain I feel when awake.
And at that reminder, the pain in my chest tightens.
That’s constant, too.
This goes on for the rest of the day as I get more and more tired, but also more and more excited because I am going to finally be able to go back to bed.
The first time all day I feel pleasure is the moment before I fall asleep, and all the pain of the day washes away and is replaced with peace.
That is- if I can get to sleep at all.
Even in bed, my anxiety and depression still haunt me, and before I go to bed I need to complete a certain order of “winding down” and if I do one thing out of order I need to start over again.
Thoughts of all the idiotic things I had done that day reoccur in my head and don’t leave me alone.
But if, by a miracle, I am able to somehow ground myself to my surroundings by doing certain grounding techniques- it is then I am able to find peace.
To be honest, this all sounds quite sad. Hell, I’m sad after reading what I just wrote.
But it’s the truth.
And if I am not the only one who goes through this day in and day out like I know I am, the thought sickens me. Because I am blessed to be able to have an amazing support system that helps me get me through my day-and others don’t.
So, if you’re reading this and seeing yourself in any of these words- I want you to know that you have me in your corner, and I most surely have your back.
You are not alone.