This will be a rambling post…so I can unwind what has been on my mind lately…and as a way to organize my thoughts…and for memory purposes. It probably won’t make sense at all. I’m still trying to make a sense of it myself. I’ve been thinking about this since last week or so. Wide awake at night going through my thoughts of what to put on here.
A little bit of background of how this may have started…I’ve always been an anxious kid. I WORRY about EVERYTHING. It is a really stressful way to live. I remember I had minor OCD symptoms when I was around 5. I was worried about germs that I washed my hand CONSTANTLY. Whenever I touch something I thought was dirty I would run to wash my hands immediately. With that going on for awhile, my poor hands became so dry and started to peel from the harsh soap. It did not look like a five years old hand. It was wrinkly, gross, and painful from the dryness. That eventually got better. I think my mom intervene or someone did and I stop doing that…I can’t quite remember. I just only remembered the ugly hands and the pain it caused. Till this day, I’m still a germaphobe. I use hand sanitizer like crazy and I go through disinfecting wipes like no other.
Also another thing when I was kid was I thought that the teachers at school know what I’m doing at home ALL THE TIME. I believed if I misbehave, they would immediately find out. Being the teacher’s pet that I was at the time, I was CONSTANTLY on edge trying to be a good girl. Not get in trouble with Mom and Dad…try to be obedient. I SERIOUSLY thought my house has surveillance and the teachers can remotely watch all my actions. I don’t know where that crazy thought came from. With today’s technology I still feel like I could be watched…you know NSA shit…just I don’t dwell on it so much like I was when I was a little girl. I guess I want to please everyone. I want everyone to like me. So me doing ANYTHING out of the line that will cause a teacher to dislike me was devastating.
Anyways those are the two main things that stood out to me as a child. Another feature of my character that still causes me some trouble is insecurity. I’m a VERY INSECURE person. I care a lot of what other people think and perceive of me…when honestly I’m sure most people don’t give a shit about me…I know I’m not that important lol but I still somewhat care…I want people to see the GOOD of me…not the BAD/UGLY part.
Then there were the middle school school to college years. When I was 12 we had a big move from NYC to Dallas, TX when my parents decided to start a business there with some of their friends. Dallas was very different than NYC, and I didn’t adjust well. I missed NYC and my friends so bad. I had trouble making new friends at the new school where everyone knew each other since childhood. My parents were busy all the time and weren’t home much and I was very lonely. After a year in Dallas, we moved again to Austin which I like so much more. The people in Austin are very different and laid back compared to Dallas. However I still hated the schools I went to. It wasn’t challenging and as competitive to the school I was used to in NYC. I got lazy and start to not care as much about school. I didn’t work as hard as I should which I regret now. I hated high school and just couldn’t wait to get out and choose a college as far as possible from home. Starting a business is hard and took a toll in my parents’ life. They were always arguing. I ended up going to college in Boston. However, it wasn’t as I thought it would be. I was again in a completely new place. I was naive thinking going back to the east coast would make me happy again. I was again lonely and felt out of place and missed home terribly (although I don’t want to admit it).
I did make friends and liked Boston but something wasn’t right. At times I didn’t want to go to class and just spent a lot of time sleeping in the dorm neglecting my studies. I didn’t know what I want to do with my life. I thought I wanted to pursue political science and go on to law school but I didn’t enjoy the classes and was not sure if that was something I want to do anymore. I wanted to be a lawyer since I was five and I felt like I’m giving up on my dream and goal. I felt like I wasted my parents money going to such an expensive school and not sure what I want to do with my life. Why didn’t I just choose to stay closer to home and go to a state school instead? I regretted that.
These were all the early signs of depression but I overlooked it at that time. I thought my blues were caused by the lack of sun and long winter. I thought I can just sleep it off. And it did go away. Those feelings and thoughts were around but didn’t lingered, which makes me think I’m fine when I’m not. Looking back now I wished I got help or talk to someone during those times. But I was too ASHAMED. I don’t want to admit something was wrong or I’m weak. Even now it is hard for me to talk about my depression to people. Many people probably don’t know that I had it. Close friends noticed but I chose not to confide. I felt exhausted just talking about it.
By this time I chose to move back home to be closer to family instead of staying in east coast after college. Which was a great decision because that was how I met my husband. I met him the summer after college. If I didn’t go back I would never cross path with him. However, it was not easy being with him. Long story short my parents didn’t approve. That would be a story for another time. The hardships in our relationship caused me more stress. I really love him and I fought hard to get their approval. I was strong in pursuing what I thought was right. It took a great mental toll.
Anyways about three years ago was when situation got really bad. There was some family issues that caused my brother and I to move out abruptly and I had to get marry earlier than expected. My parents had approved of Moses by then. But there was no wedding. We got married in courthouse. Nothing in my life was going according to plan or going in the direction I wanted. I felt I lost control in everything. I felt completely helpless. My husband and I were still in a long distance relationship. He could only come home on weekends or holidays. I was living alone by myself. We got a dog and it was stressful taking care of the puppy alone. I never had a dog before and it was a huge responsibility. I know my husband wanted to get the dog to keep me company when he is not around. The puppy did brought joy to my life. I trained her myself and love her so much but I still really miss Moses being home with me.
It was a difficult time. I didn’t want him to quit his job to move back home for me. It was hard for him to find jobs in his specific field. There aren’t many opportunities and he was lucky he found one somewhat close to home right after graduate school. He didn’t want me to quit my job to move either when there are career opportunities within the company I’m at. So we had to make the sacrifice of being separate on weekdays. This along with all the other issues I had in the past just finally pushed me to a point I couldn’t handle anymore.
I became very tired and just want to sleep all the time. I became antisocial and didn’t want to talk to anyone at work. I would not eat seeing eating as an effort. I closed all the blinds at home and didn’t want to see any sunlight. I stopped going outside to meet friends or even wanting to hang out. I stopped exercising and other forms of self care. I thought about suicide and what was the point of life when I’m not happy. I started to miss work. I just want to keep sleeping and sleeping and when I’m awake I will spend endless hours on Youtube watching videos to escape thinking. I felt no emotion and didn’t care about anything.
Finally one day Moses came home seeing me in bed sleeping and on God who knows how many days without showering. He said this couldn’t go on anymore. He made an appointment and took me to see a psychiatrist. I started to get therapy and taking medication. I began taking Trintellix. We started with a small dose and slowly increased it but I wasn’t seeing any outcomes. I would relapse. Trintellix was also expensive and not covered by insurance. There was no generic version. Therapy was expensive and not covered too. I changed medication a few times. Lexapro didn’t work. Wellbutrin gave me horrible allergic reactions. Now I’m on Cymbalta. It seems like I finally found something so far that worked. Then there are the side effects. It made me bloated and constipated. I gained a lot of weight from all the medications. I was at my heaviest at 140 pounds and now 125 (my normal weight was 105-110 pounds). I’m still working to lose the weight gain.
The most important thing I gained from this experience is that we should not keep everything bottled inside us and think we can resolve it on our own. Get help when you need it. We can’t get better on our own. And it is okay to be vulnerable and weak. There is nothing to be ashamed of and wrong of that. Mental health is just as important as physical ones. Friends and family support is also vital to recovery. I couldn’t have done it without Moses and my close friends understanding but there still are some previous times when I relapsed and they would get frustrated with me. They see a cycle of me getting better and getting worse but I told them I was trying REALLY hard to get better. No one wants to be like this. It is important to communicate with each other about that. We can’t control ourselves at times and they need to know that it is not our fault.
I hoped people understand that mental illness is just as serious as other illnesses. I hate hearing people say things like “oh you can just not think of the sad things” or “you can snap out of this if you’re strong-willed.” Well everyone is different. What YOU can do doesn’t mean we can as well. Don’t expect all illnesses to be the same. Show some respect and understanding to people that are suffering. Show some more compassion. The world would be so much better if people do that and stop assuming.