This is a piece I’ve wanted to write for a long time, as it is written on my heart. And I’m trying to open up my heart (and not call my heart “stupid heart” which I just did mentally in my mind…it’s a process, people).
It is thought that I may be bipolar [jury’s out but I don’t feel I am]. Or have bipolar tendencies. Or maybe I have something called PMDD (severe PMS – lucky me). Or maybe my MTHFR gene is messed up (I call it the motherfucker gene…someday I’ll look up what it stands for if my insurance decides to cover that test).
I tried for a really long time to pretend everything was OK when for months I’d had weeks of sleepless nights, and by sleepless I literally mean some weeks where I only slept maybe one or two hours each night. I tried my best to be brave, to keep it together, but with the line of work I was in at the time concentration, communication, and collaboration was essential – not to mention the mental capacity to digest scientific information and then create written articles about random intellectual topics. It was rough.
The issues really became exceptionally bad during May of last year, although during the couple years leading up to it there were also problematic circumstances that led to depression/fatigue/withdrawal. I’d always blamed that on PMDD, though, and I’d always just did whatever I could to “deal” with what I was going through aka hiding and/or telling people I was sick.
I’d actually missed tons of school prior due to illness related to PMDD. Which reminds me, I’d like to call out a female gym/health teacher of mine in high school who told us she played sports year-round regardless of when she had her period and that everyone was capable of that too; you, my friend, are an asshat.
Moving past that silly infantile rant, let’s progress to what happened much of last year and has occurred to me recently within the past few months again.
Basically, for one to two weeks (if not more) each month I experience severe crippling depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, fatigue, lethargy, insomnia, headaches, self-criticism, self-doubt, withdrawal, and a strange desire to spend outrageous amounts of money on often very foolish things (like a yoga trapeze/inversion swing…thank God it’s refund-policy is solid).
I got passed around to different doctors faster than a joint on 4/20. Needless to say I still do not have answers, only speculation.
The most frustrating part was that the worst of my symptoms occurred while I was going through 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. “Where the fuck is my zen?!” I’d think to myself on the regular. I couldn’t focus during yoga or at work and in fact I had to take a leave of absence and eventually quit (an inevitable life decision for me, but one that came prior to me being able to save the goal amount of money I wanted…especially after blowing it on yoga trapezes and shit).
My primary doctor thought I may have PMDD as did another doctor at MGH. I requested receiving drugs (any drug will do!) just to get me through the end of 2013. They put me on Prozac. God, was that a mistake.
My insomnia became increasingly worse and I actually became suicidal while on Prozac. Needless to say it was a horrible life decision and I spent much of my Christmas with family freaking out silently. The New Year brought relief through the weaning me off of Prozac and eventually left me drug-free.
And I’m still drug-free. And I still don’t have answers. And for the most part I’ve been doing pretty OK. Except for every once in a blue moon I’ll take a dive into the deep end of my subconscious, somewhat lose my shit (/denero), and then resurface chipper as ever just as suddenly without realizing where I’d actually been the past week.
It sucks to have this go on, but when it all started I became really humbled. I now knew deeply and personally how hard it is to live with chronic depression, suicidal thoughts, crippling anxiety, and most of all fear. My experiences were temporary and yet they were so extreme, I could not imagine waking up every day feeling the way I did during my darkest moments.
It also sucks to be a yoga instructor and reiki practitioner, someone who does energy work, understands how to breathe properly, and meditates, and yet not be able to “fix” myself.
And yet that’s the answer there, there’s no need to try to fix anything. I’ve learned to let myself be and I’m trying to actively be honest about where I’m at. There’s no need for me to hide, to go MIA via electronic forms of communication. I’ve found that pray helps tremendously and I’ve been blessed with family and close friends who are also family. I am so fortunate to have these wonderful people in my life for constant support.
Thank you for your love, always. For anyone who is suffering out there, know that you are not alone.
And as a P.S. I’m sharing this story, my own personal story, with others so that they may realize that so many suffer out there. We all do in various ways. Some suffer more quietly than others. At the end of the day all the shit I’ve gone through is going to make me so much stronger, and I hope that you as a reader realize this for yourself too. Stay as positive as you possibly can, at all times. And don’t judge someone based on what you feel you see – there may be so much more going on underneath the surface of one’s skin.