This isn’t easy for me to articulate. It’s taken me a little while to figure out how to tell people and how to express myself in the way that gets what I’m going through across as accurately as possible.
I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety a few weeks ago. I’m still coming to terms with it, and learning about it. Hubby and I have returned a week ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand. We went to have counselling at a recommended professional counselling centre, with trained counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists. Our organisation were the ones who encouraged us to go and of course, we wanted to get help as soon as possible. It has made things much better and we are now equipped to manage my depression and anxiety.
I’ve called these DnA (Depression and Anxiety) Diaries. Hubby and I wanted to share these entries about living with depression and anxiety with others. Firstly, so that I don’t need to repeat myself 100 times over and over – as it’s quite an emotional experience (so maybe I only need to repeat myself 99 times). Secondly, so that I’m not making people read anything they don’t want to. Anyone who wants to can read, if they wish, when they wish. Then it may overcome some of the awkwardness. Lastly, so that I hope anyone else going through something similar has something they can read that may (or may not) help.
Also, I want to make sure that all of the things I write in these DnA Diaries are my own experiences. Much of it is actually from my own personal journal. I have had to omit some parts as they are very personal, and edit some of what I’ve included to protect the identities of those involved. So, it’s not advice for others, as I’m not a professional counsellor. All I want to do is to share my experiences with others. So those close to me, my friends and family, get a glimpse of what I’m going through.
Ok, where to start?!
Anyway, I might start with when I first started getting most of the physical symptoms. I really thought something was wrong with me. I started getting TMJ (teeth clenching) issues – which was not really that odd as I’d suffered it before, and usually when I was under some kind of stress. Pain in my right shoulder, neck and jaw. Massive headaches, insomnia. Was tired, and still am, much of the day. No matter how much I napped or slept. Sweating a truck load (I already sweat alot). I had heart palpitations and shortness of breath. These last two made we more anxious and I thought I was dying.
I started with the majority of these slowly from around April until now. At the time, hubby and I were back home in Aus. The amount and severity of these symptoms increased as time wore on. The worst was in June, when we were back in China. We’d had blood tests done in Australia, and all came through as healthy. So this was particularly alarming for me.
Anyway, I think the best way to do this is to provide some journal excerpts throughout my entries. Up until the current date anyway, I will try not make any one entry too long. Reading back on these personal journal entries is quite emotional and shocking for me, to see such a change. Blessed that there is such a change. This is the earliest journal entry I have with me in China that talks of the beginning of symptoms.
Journal Entry 24.6.14 ~
Getting tired. Been so exhausted and wanted to ‘process’ what we’ve been going through. But it’s hard.
This was in reference to us being back in Australia. We were only back for 2 and a half months. This is quite a long time, but felt not well rested at all. Processing all the things we’ve seen, experienced, learnt – but finding not enough time to do so.
At a young adult camp, the speaker asked us to write down our emotions and what we thought were causing them. This was a difficult exercise. I got right to it and wrote down many things, but looking back over it, majority of the emotions were negative. This really started me thinking that I need to talk about these to someone.
Journal Entry 5.5.14 ~
We are finally on our anniversary getaway. We are up near Bright in Victoria’s North East. Near Mount Hotham. We will be here until Thursday. Time to finally spend some quality time with G and with each other in His Creation and beauty.
I am actually pretty tired and we only just arrived. The last few entries speak of exactly how exhausted and tired I am. Pretty sad really. We came back from China to Australia to actually take a break from everything, but it really doesn’t feel like it. Quite exhausting.
Both of us have prioritized making a huge effort to reconnect with people. Probably over looking after ourselves.
I realised how blessed we are and also how much Father has really looked after us.
Firstly, I was really planning on having this time to spend enjoying the real great outdoors, and most importantly, journaling and reflecting on everything that has gone on. My mind, and heart, feel very heavy and burdened. I want to share how I feel, but I think I haven’t even processed it yet. I’m the kind of person who can’t share without first processing it. I’ve been really storing up so much that I’ve almost gotten to the point where I’m not sure I know what or where to start off with.
The topics that have really been on my mind during that time were:
- A really good friend going through a marriage break down with their spouse
- Friends going through personal crisis
- Club burdens
- M-related burdens
- Future and purpose
- Organisation work and burdens
- Family burdens
All of which are normal things to be concerned or anxious over, but I was to discover that having them all at once was too much for me to handle. And boy did my body show it.
All the while, this was meant to be during our break time back home. I’d also already started the role in the organisation of ST coordinating. This only made things far worse once we got back to China.
Journal Entry 10.5.14 ~
Starting to look forward to going back to China. Strange, but we might only get a break there. I definitely don’t want to be the kind of person who does m1ss10ns to escape problems, but at the same time, I will be glad for the breathing space.
Maybe this ST coordinating role won’t be so bad when I’m there. We will have to see.
At the time, I was already not enjoying the role and was hoping that things would improve once we were back in China…