September 6, 2016

Will This Ever Get Any Better? (My Anxiety & Depression Monster)

It feels like I’ve been punched in the face, in the throat, in the chest and in the gut.

Several times.

All this, while having run a marathon.

But none of that really happened.

I didn’t fight nor ran a marathon.

I merely did that in my head.

I fought and ran with my own thoughts and emotions.

And I got to see the face of an ugly monster.

The anxiety monster

It was so ugly, it scared me…

On the one hand, I guess I’m “happy” I saw him because now I know where he lives and what makes him come out…

But… I also just really don’t want to see him.

What happened?

destructive habits - anxiety and depression

That monster I saw is the part of me that I hate.

Every once in a while this monster shows its face very clearly.

And every time it exhausts me completely.

It’s when life happens and I engage in my old and negative habits which stem from how I believe I don’t deserve to be heard… to be listened to… To raise my voice… To speak up… To ask for something… To stand firm and claim what’s mine…

It’s when I notice a lack of confidence and a lack of self-love in myself.

Fundamentally, this is what it always comes down to:

“Do you believe you are worthy of a great life? Do you believe you deserve to be loved? In all its aspects?”

If you believe you are not worth it, who else is going to believe it? (Well, there are some beautiful souls who still wish you the best and want you to have it all, but to be honest… If you keep believing and putting out into the world that you are not worthy of love, confidence, admiration, compliments et cetera…. That’s how your life will be.)

The hardest part about being aware of your thoughts and habits is the fact that you won’t like what you see.

Like me… I know I have bad habits that are destructive.

My destructive habits

Habits like: Avoiding conflict at all times and thereby neglecting my own needs and feelings. I do this either by always being in agreement with someone or by removing myself from that person completely. I don’t like the middle ground. It’s where I get scared.

I don’t like being 70% OK with someone and being in disagreement about other 30%.

It makes me scared because that means there is a chance of judgement.

A chance that the relationship will break or become negative.

I don’t want to lose that love. (I think that’s where my anxiety stems from)

So I either make sure we are 100% OK and if we are not….

First, I’ll stay quiet for a long time….

until the pressure of friction between what I feel and what I can express inside me becomes too much.

Then, either I run away or I push that person away and never want to look back.

I see this habit in all areas: at job(s), with friendships, romantic relationships, clients or business partners…

It’s such an automated process that I rarely stop and think about it.

Recognizing this habit feels like receiving a punch in the head

When I am stopped in my tracks and forced to see this process it hurts, because I see its destructive nature.

It makes me think: “There it is again… And you didn’t even notice you were doing it until now. Do you think it will ever get better? Don’t kid yourself. There’s just something wrong with you”

In moments like this I have no magic trick that instantly makes me strong and happy and confident again.

I have no sight of when things might feel better again. It’s a very dark cloud that sucks up all future vision and hope.

This is where I can only endure the pain and try to remember:

There is only one way out. It’s the way that leads to more understanding of myself, more kindness and care and a better way of living.

I will keep seeing these moments as opportunities to understand myself better and grow as a person. These moments are horrible and super hard but ultimately… These are opportunities to grow. This is what I’ve asked for. I want a great life. A vibrant life. So I need these moments to understand myself and grow in my thinking patterns, habits and day to day behavior.

What happens when I go the other way

I’ve already tried going the other way… Which is reinforcing the belief that I am really worthless and incompetent and undeserving.

That road leads to a big, black, nasty and lethargic all immersive hole called severe clinical depression.

I went there…

And so I know, that was no solution either.

Even suicide was not a solution to my pain. (I’ll explain why and how I discovered why suicide was not a solution in a blogpost later, I will link to it here)

Rest and care to recuperate from the blow

So all I do is recuperate.

I take it easy for a couple of days and respect the recovery process of my mind and body.

I take care of myself.

I remember to keep active.

To keep eating well.

But more importantly, to rest.

Not feel guilty for resting an extra hour.

Watch more comedy…

Or a super intimate movie and let myself feel the emotions that come up and be with them…

Stay an extra hour playing with and “talking” to my 8-month old son…

Go outside and pay more attention to the trees and flowers, the wind, the smell..

So after a while, I can handle more and more pressure again. And I pick up right where I left off.

I enjoy the things I’d worked hard on before, because they are what keep me afloat during the times when I get punched in the face.

And so I keep going; continuing on.

semicolon tattoo Hans Kolbeek - Photo by Fred_Erick van Grootel

It will get better

Oh, and to answer the question of the title of this blog post: Yes, it will get better.

It just seems impossible to feel and believe that when anxiety and self-hatred (some might say depression) hits you full force.

It robs you of your future vision and hope.

But it will get better.

it does get better - depression and anxiety

I promise.

Because I have been writing this post over a couple of weeks time.

How it got better? I’ll write about that another time, I’ll make sure to link to it here.

But it will.

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