I knew I would have some winter blues or seasonal depression to an extent, but I was not prepared for one of my darkest seasons yet. Depression hit me hard. I felt like I was suffocating. Feelings I had not felt before, but they were oh so real. Depression comes in many forms, and it looks different for everyone – mine was built up over time – some of it was circumstantial, and a lot of it seemed to be out of my control. I guess I thought I had seen it all. I had conquered SO much and come so far with anxiety. I was “fine” and could handle anything. I believe that is when Satan chooses to attack. He knows my weaknesses and preys on them – planting seeds of destruction, dark thoughts about myself and my circumstances making me believe that I am not worthy, loved, but that I am a burden to others and the ones that love me most.
I cannot pinpoint when it exactly started, but I knew I had a few triggers. I had read online about a pastor who committed suicide. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. How did that happen? I felt a deep dark sadness. I was obsessing over it and would read about it continuously. My thoughts were spiraling out of control. I started to believe the lies that Max would be better off without me. I am a burden and I knew that my struggles over the years had taken a toll. “He would finally be free”, “he wouldn’t have to take care of me”, “he could pursue his dream of performing in New York full time”, “nobody cares about me”, “what am I even doing with MY life?” Just a few of the thoughts that were regularly playing in my head as I tried to stay above water. My anxiety increased, and I had a panic attack when I was out of town, which hasn't happened in a long time, and I truly just stopped caring. I would cry daily, sleep a ton, over-eat, and I was filled with sadness. How did I get here? I felt so distant from the Lord, and in fact, I continued to isolate myself by not sharing any of this with my closest friends. “They are all busy and it’s really not that bad”. LIE. I was just trying to make it one day at a time – get to work and get home. I stopped blogging. I cancelled tons of plans and didn’t go to a wedding in Florida with my family. It was too much.
I decided to start going to therapy. 1 on 1. I had not done this in ages, and I knew I needed to talk to someone. It was weird – going to therapy felt like FAILURE. Like I was starting all over again – another lie. I no longer had the church community like I was used to earlier in the year and I felt so alone. Sweet Max wanted to help, wanted to fix and didn’t understand everything that was going on. How could he? If you have never experienced depression, you probably wouldn’t understand. All you can do is be there to listen and continue to check on and LOVE the other person. I was looking for Max to fix me instead of my Savior!
But, there was hope – a light at the end of the tunnel just waiting for me. God hasn’t forgotten me, he was just waiting for me to come back to Him. My perspective had gone so far south, I forgot WHO my hope was in and desperately needed to cling to the Lord. I believe many things are chemical too – I have been on the same medication for a very long time and there was question of whether it had stopped working or not. Very possible! We had also just moved and even though it didn’t seem like a big change at the time, it was, especially when dealing with all of the other things on my plate. It didn’t quite feel like home just yet.
It wasn’t until a friend of mine on Facebook had made a post about a link between depression and ADHD. The picture that he had posted resonated with me deeply and I wondered if that could be me. I didn’t know too much about ADHD at all. I took an online assessment and the results were very clear. It made so much sense to me looking back at school and college and recognizing symptoms I saw back then - procrastinating, focusing, etc. I will be in conversations with people and be thinking about something else and go off on a rabbit trail. I was impulsive. I would have to re-read things MULTIPLE times and would eventually just give up because I couldn’t stick with it. An endless cycle of not feeling accomplished or good enough. In school, I chose music and theatre because that’s what I was good at. YES, I LOVED it very much, but even if I had wanted to do something else, I wouldn’t have been able to. Even basics in college were a struggle. I always knew I had to study 2x the amount of anyone else and still do OK. My mom was actually asked about it by a counselor when I was younger, but I was mainly dealing with anxiety, so it made sense why it was overlooked. I was the one who made an appointment with my doctor to discuss this. I am not one to “want more medication”, but I felt very strongly about what I had researched. I took another assessment and had a very long conversation with my therapist and the doctor about it. Results came in and it was clear that I had ADHD. In a strange way, this gave me so much HOPE. Not that a new medication was the answer for all my issues, but this was an underlying issue for so many years and it all made sense now.
We are still figuring out the dosage and what will work best for me – it is a process for sure. I have quite a bit to learn about ADHD. You CAN have it without the hyper activity part, and ADHD can go hand in hand with anxiety and depression – all very interesting to me. The new medication has helped tremendously – the depression does not have a hold on me anymore. With a new diagnosis, new medication and help of therapy, I am in a much better place. I am learning so much about myself and working through things slowly but surely. I have opened up to my family and friends and came out of isolation. I started having fun again! I started going out instead of staying at home and that is what I needed.
I am ending the year and the decade on a positive note. A new (and fabulous) place to live, a new perspective, and endless gratitude for everything I have been through. I know there will be tough days ahead, but God has always been faithful and there is NOTHING he cannot do.
If you are struggling with ANY of the thoughts I listed, you are not alone. It takes so much courage to talk to anyone about it – you CAN. One step at a time, one day at a time. We are not meant to do this life alone, and we are not meant to carry these burdens. We simply cannot.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28.
Thank you for reading and being a part of this journey with me! You are loved.