‘While sobbing like a teenager who was stood up at prom, I finally found it. I am fighting for my sanity and for my life.’: Woman diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder says ‘you are not alone’

“Today is day two. Day two that I’ve felt completely helpless. Day two that I’ve had emotions that I didn’t know how to handle. I distinctly remember Saturday night and thinking (after I was already comfortable in bed) that I needed to dig my medicine out of my bag and take it or I would pay the consequences on Sunday. While I know that they say with antidepressants that if you miss a dose you probably won’t be able to tell a difference and to take your next dose as soon as you realized you missed one. Not the case for me. I can feel my missed dose immediately. I get shaky after 24 hours without a dose. In addition to the physical things that happen, my mind is cloudy, disoriented, and just feeling ‘off’. So, I get up from my comfortable bed, risking Lexi and Axil melting into the spot that I left making it impossible to crawl back into bed without having to start the ritual all over again, to take my medicine.

I woke up on Sunday like normal. Feeling the same that I do daily. I went on with my day like I always do when I’ve stayed at Mom’s house for a weekend. I pull myself out of bed, take the dogs out, start on homework that I’ll stare at for 6 hours and not really get much accomplished. This Sunday, I decided I would head home early. I packed up my belongings and loaded them and the dogs into the car before heading back across town. Still, feeling normal.

After getting home, I unpacked, started laundry, and sat down to actually work on homework this time. It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that I started feeling different. I had broken plans with my boyfriend earlier in the week. We were supposed to go to a friend’s house to watch the Super Bowl with them. Since I’m taking a heavy course load, I decided to stay home and try to catch up on the week. Out of nowhere, while studying amino acids, I started feeling SO guilty about not being there. It developed into other emotions that I am still not sure how to explain. I ended up going to bed (induced with an Ambien) at 8 p.m. because I knew if I stayed awake any longer, I would end up in tears and probably in an argument that was unjustified.

That lands us on today. Day 2. I woke up this morning feeling the hungover monster of emotions that weren’t handled before sleeping. Residuals. Like dust that settles back on the dresser even though you just wiped it off with a dust rag and the Pledge that’s supposed to be great for all surfaces. I drug myself out of bed. Texted my beau good morning like I do daily. All the while, I’m just hoping that the more ‘normal’ things I do, the more normal I’ll feel. After I got to school, I started feeling more like myself, kind of. When I know I have to focus on things to retain them for later, it’s so much easier for me to shut off the part of me that has 500 check engine lights on. Even though I’m functioning well at this point, I can feel the troll inside me pulling at my inner strings waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

And it happens. I break. Again. And when I say break, I mean sobbing and on the verge of hyperventilating. My eyes swell and turn red. Forget any skin care I had put on before I got in bed. I sob. I am trying to explain just how I feel to someone who cares so deeply for me and all I can say is ‘I feel like a failure. Like I’m less than’. In the midst of my break down, I keep talking and find more words that seem to fit what I’m feeling but just aren’t deep enough. Things like ‘I feel like I should be through this. I hate crying. I don’t cry’. I have had more days like this in the last couple of months than I normally would and definitely more than I care to admit. But why? I feel like it makes me seem weak, but the truth of that statement is that it makes me stronger. While sobbing like a teenager who was stood up at prom, I finally found it. ‘I thought that once I got a hold on this and if I stayed on top of it, I would be fine and wouldn’t feel like this anymore’. BOY. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I am the kind of person who is always an open book and will gladly talk to anyone about my mental health. I was diagnosed with anxiety and Major Depressive Disorder in 2018. Life on a daily basis is like a game. I never know what I’m going to wake up feeling like even if I’ve meditated, taken my medicine, avoided any downers, exercised, stayed positive, blah blah blah. I think it’s important to tell others that they are not alone. I have been struggling with depression my entire life. But it wasn’t until my epiphany tonight that I realized, mental health isn’t controlling it one time. While I have struggles almost daily with mental health, this control that I’m talking about is the big one. The Mother load. The unable-to-function-until-it-decides-what-its-doing. For me, its feeling like I did before I had ever received treatment. Mental health is being able to get it back under control any time it wants to rear its ugly head. Yes, most days I feel like I’ve got a strong grasp on my mental health. Most days I feel like the ‘normal’ people who don’t struggle this way. But there are so many other days that I feel unworthy or like I’m failing at everything. There are so many other days that I feel like I am better off just being alone so that when I am fighting for my sanity and for my life, I’m not disrupting anyone else in the process.

For the ones that feel like the latter, you are not alone in this fight. There are so many people in the world struggling and feeling the same way. This is the reason that I speak about mental health. For the bad days. So that I can reach out to the people who ‘get it’ and say, ‘Hey, having one of those days, think of me’ and they can respond by carrying on conversation as if I didn’t even mention it to them. Because feeling normal just by having a normal conversation when you are feeling anything but normal is the different between crying yourself to sleep or going to bed hopeful that tomorrow will be better. And it will.”

Courtesy Ashley Evans

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashley Evans, 27, of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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