Slaying the Beast – Anxiety and depression

My first post in a while, it comes after a lot of monumental goals have been achieved in my life. I was officially baptized at the Easter vigil, I celebrated my 29th birthday with my amazing friends and family & reaching over 1 year of recovery.

I feel like I’ve come through the other side of the Blue patch in my life (yes funny enough my colour for feeling down is Blue – a deep lonely blue). I’ve been recognising colorations, situations and feelings in my life which directly relate to my Synesthesia and it’s slow been helping me continue to recover further.

Now I’m not saying I’m fully recovered from my anxiety and depression , but I’ve come leaps and bounds from the dark place where I was . I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever fully recover from , no matter how great things can get , I feel like it’s an ongoing illness which will need constant recognition when it arises . I’m happy to say I’m officially off all anti-depressants and anxiety medications. It was a long and hard road but I finally did it. I’m starting to feel more like me again.  The anxiety medication I was on would truly “ Zombie “ me out and I hated it , but I knew it was something I had to do to be able to deal with the trauma and issues which were causing my anxiety and depression . If you’ve ever had constant Anxiety attacks on a daily basis you understand how crippling it can be, so to be here writing this now with no medication and no anxiety attacks is something I could never have dreamed of.

How did I do it? Firstly it was hitting rock bottom – recognising there was a problem and asking for help. This consisted of really hard conversations with people around me, consulting doctors, psychologists and psychiatrist. And not just 1, there were several.

Accepting the help – this included talking about things troubling me, things which were constantly on my mind. This was the hardest step, accepting the medication I was prescribed and talking to my family about stuff id been through which for me was weighing me down. I didn’t want to think of myself as unwell, because I’d always put up a strong front. Accepting I wasn’t ok and I needed guidance was one of the biggest things I did.  I took the medication even though I was strongly against it at the time.

Working through the Trauma – Taking the prescribed anti-anxiety and depression medication allowed me to work through the trauma from my past which was causing the Anxiety attacks and long bouts of depression. Trauma is not something to be taken lightly, the medication allowed me to open these doors in my mind, deal with the experiences and find ways to overcome and deal with them. You can’t erase the past, this is extremely difficult when dealing with things like Family violence, Abuse and traumatic events. You need to find coping mechanism which work for you.  I don’t think I would have been able to continue digging into my mind without medication , as I was already in a dark place at the time.

Coping Mechanisms, my coping mechanisms are not only chocolate, but meditation and self-imposed standards.  This means if I’m at home and I feel my anxiety or depression taking over I’ll take the time out to do a short Meditation or Breathing exercise. It was important to recognise feelings and take time out to do these things. The other was how others made me feel, we can’t control how other people act, but we can control how we feel. So now if I’m in a situation where I don’t like how I’m being treated I will just say something , I’ll be very direct and blunt . As there is not point on carrying the unpleasant thoughts around with you, I just spit it out and move on. For some this hasn’t been very pleasant but I feel it’s been a big eye opener for myself and others, good or bad.

Taking out the trash & Cutting things out – I needed to cut out a lot of stuff in my life some positive some bad. Even though i really really didnt want too , i knew it was for the best . This included activities, places and people. One thing I loved more than everything was Bjj and competing, but during my recovery this was something I needed to cease temporarily. Competing triggered my anxiety and having a guy in-between your legs or pinning you to the floor was not something positive I needed during my recovery. So I made the big call to stop for a while. this came along with a massive weight gain and an uproot of my schedule which took a lot of adjusting , at times made me more depressed but I knew it was for the better.  I cut out a lot of friends and family in my life simply because they were enablers of downright bad influences on my life. This is a hard one for many – Cutting those close to you in your life because you recognise that they are part of the problem.  All I can say, is don’t worry it gets better. You will find and meet some amazing people along the journey who will treat you as you deserve.

Weaning– Once I felt I was in a good place with dealing with the trauma and recognising signs of anxiety and depression. I started to wean myself off medication. This started with stopping the anxiety medication, a few months later we halved my anti-depressants & a month later I was completely off them.

Recovery Stage– Getting back to my old self with my newly learned tools, less my anxiety attacks and periods of “self-pity parties”. I quite honestly feel mentally and emotionally stronger than I did before. No medication, no anxiety, no dull periods. Just me.  I look forward to the next year, losing the weight gained during my slaying stage and getting back into my fitness and BJJ.

Lesson 23: Without the darkness there wouldn’t be light.

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