Cultivating A Healthy Life and a Happy Home

Dealing with Depression and Anxiety

I’ve been dealing with anxiety my entire life.  I had no idea what it was until I was in my late 20s.  I’ve always been anxious about things, especially new things.  I get nervous and get butterflies in my stomach.  My hands would shake and I would get sweaty.  Sometimes it affects my sleep. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep because my mind won’t turn off.  I’ll relive conversations and interactions in my head and replay them over and over again.  Stressing about how it could have gone better. Looking for subtle signs that I missed the first time around.

I thought this was normal and what everyone deals with.  Apparently not.  After reading some stuff online and reading about others who suffer from the same thing, I realized that I had anxiety.  I have high functioning anxiety.  You’ll never know I’m dealing with anything because I hide it well.  I don’t have full blown panic attacks or anything like that. Everything is silent and happening behind a wall.

I also deal with small bouts of depression.  It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I even realized that I also have depressive episodes.  Just like my anxiety, I am still high functioning even going through a bout of depression.  It’s the reason why I didn’t even realize I was going through it because I didn’t have stereotypical signs.

When most people think of depression they think of people who can’t get out of bed, have thoughts about harming themselves, and maybe cry a lot.

I don’t do these things.

Mostly I just sort of crawl inside myself, put up a wall, and want to sleep.  But I get up, go to work, and go about my day.  I interact with people just like I normally do.  Unless I tell you that I’m going through something and need some space, you won’t know.

Anxiety I deal with almost on a daily basis.  I haven’t had a depressive episode for about 4 years.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to see the signs because it starts off just being typical things that as an introvert I already need.  Time and space alone.

Recently I’ve been needing more of that.  I’ve also been neglecting going to the gym because I haven’t been eating well or sleeping well.  Then that starts the guilt and causes me to continue to not eat well and feel zero motivation.

I can easily get stuck in a cycle if I’m not careful and don’t pull myself out of it.

I recently realized that I’m currently having a depressive episode.  I was able to take a step back and realize, that yup, that’s what this is and I need to get control of it.

So I’m working on pulling my self out of this funk.

Triggers

With anxiety, I have learned how to cope and keep it under control.  I know what most of my triggers are (anxiety is always changing and evolving, new things might crop up as triggers while others might go away. Good times.) and can deal with them accordingly.

I’ve also learned that some foods can trigger my anxiety. For example gluten and dairy are two of the biggest triggers.  If I have too much then I’ll become very anxious and it will cause me to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to fall back asleep.  This took me years to figure out.  I had to do some testing on my own by eating those food items (separately) and keeping track of the results. And yes, with gluten that includes beer.  I have to keep beer drinking to a minimum or else I’ll be up all night.  Plus it does havoc on my digestive system.

With depression, the triggers tend to be more personal in nature.  This most recent episode, I feel was triggered by events making me feel overwhelmed and like a failure.

Our house needs a lot of work, just in terms of getting it to where we’d like it to be.  It doesn’t need anything done for a major redo or structurally.  Just to make it feel like ours.  And to think of everything we have to do and trying to figure out when we are going to have the time, it’s a little much.  Plus dealing with our current bedroom situation and feeling displaced is getting to me.

Also turning 40 and looking at my life, I’m not quite where I want to be or where I thought I’d be.  I’m about halfway there.  I know what I need to do and what I’d like to do, but I’m lacking some serious motivation to do anything.  Because what’s the point? Meh. (That’s a big red flag. When I start feeling MEH about everything, I know something is up.)

These are all things that most people probably wouldn’t even bat an eye at but stuff like this can really get to me and bring me down.

I feel like this episode was building for a while and I just didn’t realize it.  Then it hit me like a truck and here I am.

Breaking The Cycle

I’ve grown a lot because I’m at a point where I can realize that I’m going through some shit.  Last time I was depressed, I didn’t even know it until years later when I did a lot of reflecting on that period of my life.

For me, I know there are things that I need to do to crawl out of the depression hole.

  1. I need to get my eating on point.  Eating well helps me stay clear headed and better able to focus on tasks.
  2. Get back to my sleep schedule. Sleep for me is a big deal and I need to make sure I stick to the schedule that my body prefers.
  3. Keep alcohol to a minimum. Alcohol can trigger anxiety, make me feel more depressed, throw off my sleep, and make me feel like crap. If I feel like crap, then I’ll eat like crap, rinse and repeat.
  4. Create a To-Do list of things to get done. Stop looking at the entire picture or I’ll get overwhelmed. I need to take baby steps and take action that way.
  5. Communicate with my husband so that he knows what’s going on and we can work on an action plan together.
  6. Workout. It helps me so much and I need to make sure I get back to the gym on the regular.

My husband is amazing.  He’s so patient and supportive. He might not fully understand it (because you can’t really understand anxiety and depression unless you also deal with it) but he helps me through it.  I definitely need him and his support to get through these times.

Trust me, even writing this and posting it caused me a great deal of anxiety. I hate being this personal because it leaves me feeling vulnerable and I also hate that feeling. But one of the things I want with this blog is for it to be real. This is real life for me. It’s not always sunshine and puppies. And maybe someone else is going through the same thing too. Maybe they have high functioning anxiety and/or depression and also didn’t realize it.

This is me. Right now. Going through some shit and working on getting through it.

Andie is a certified holistic health coach who lives, works, and plays in Northern Colorado.  By focusing on whole foods and being active, her goal is to heal her body and to create a healthy work/home/life balance.

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