The Constant Fear

I have a bunch of fears. Some of these you may find silly, but others maybe not so.

  1. I’m petrified of heights.
  2. I’m terrified of dying via an illness or a bite which makes me a bit of a hypochondriac.
  3. I’m scared of silence.
  4. I’m scared of losing the people I love.
  5. I’m terrified of the current president-elect situation
  6. Bees. That is all.
  7. I have this stupid fear that spiders seek revenge.
  8. I’m scared of my mental health dive bombing.

I face a lot of these fears everyday. The one, however, that has been on my mind the most has been #8.

I’ve been on a nice road to recovery ever since the year of living hell that was 2016. I feel genuine happiness much more often now, I haven’t had a panic attack since early December, and I haven’t felt suicidal.

Yet in these few weeks before classes begin again, I feel my depression coming back. I didn’t go to a Group Therapy meeting because I couldn’t get out of bed. Portland is currently covered in snow and I’ve only been outside once to enjoy the snowy wonderland. I have had to take drowsy medication to make myself sleep at night and my nightmares have returned. Last night, I lay awake until 3:00 in the morning, terrified that this height was going to crash again and 2017 would be exactly like 2016.

I hadn’t gotten a chance to see my therapist because of the foot of snow that is covering our driveway and street combined with my lack of chains for my tires, so we decided to call each other and have a shorter therapy session that way. Thank goodness I did.

I told her my fear of crashing back into depression again after I told her all the awesome things that have happened to me this year. She said this to me,

“You have depression, Zoey. This may just happen from time to time.”

I at first related it to that awful therapist who told me around this time last year I would have panic attacks for the rest of my life.

“Oh god no. I’m going to have depression for the rest of my life too”, I thought.

“But”, she continued, “you don’t feel suicidal right?”

“No.”

“Good! You’ve been cooped up in your house probably right?

“Yep.”

“Alright that sure doesn’t help. But this is a mental illness you have, Zoey. I know that the idea of crashing is really scary, but you have so many more tools that can keep you from collapsing again.”

She’s right, damn it.

I am terrified of becoming that depressed again. I’m scared of not being able to find joy in things I love again, of crying every day, of being unmotivated and glued to my bed.

Yet I realized that when I noticed how depressed I was feeling and the thoughts I was having, I was already using techniques that I had learned from her. I used mindfulness to recognize the depressed thoughts, label them, and put them in storage boxes to be sent away. I practiced deep breathing. I put on my meditation playlist on YouTube. I took action as soon as I recognized the thoughts happening, which I had never done before.

The bad news is that she may be right about having depressive episodes for a long time and this hasn’t exactly stopped my fear of going back to where I was. I have really serious depression and I am foolish to think that I can snap out of such a scarring mental illness so quickly. I also am terrified of bad things happening seeing as how I have a lot of evidence that shows my trend of my mental illness going to shit.

The good news is I feel much more confident about handling it. Sure, I need some days to lie in bed and feel like shit. Yet, those days when I’m lying in bed and feeling like shit I’m not letting those thoughts bring me further down. Instead, they are staying right where they are. In the morning, they feel a little lighter. It doesn’t sound like much, but for right now, it’s enough.

Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Please don’t compliment me; leave me in my bubble of self-hatred

Before you even try, no this is not a post to fish for compliments. It is actually the exact opposite of what I want.

I hate being complimented. No, I’m not saying that in an attempt at being humble or self-less, I genuinely hate it. My body reacts in a way that physically rejects your compliment. I curl up in a ball, or won’t look you directly in the eye, or grimace, or even shiver, twitch, or tense up. I’ve learned to politely say “thank you” instead of, “No…” because then people go, “No really! You’re…compliment compliment compliment” and then it gets worse.

Why does this happen?

I’ve learned it is because I think everyone is lying to me. I think that anytime a person compliments me it is because they’re trying to make me feel better about something, but they don’t mean it. Yes, this includes family and close friends who I trust.

How did this happen?

Well it goes back to middle school..(here we go again). Someone once told me that to have self-love and to think highly of yourself is egotistical and therefore unattractive and no one will like you. I, being an incredibly susceptible, insecure middle school girl who would do anything for people to like her, took another 12 year old’s words as truth. I was barely recognized in school for the significant amount of hard work I put into the arts and because I wasn’t a straight A student, I was rarely recognized for my academic achievements as well. No one in the academic system was telling me that what I was doing was right or that I was doing a good job. There were people around me who were consistently putting themselves down over grades and other insecurities and I fell into this as well, well into high school.

By high school, I had been living with un-diagnosed depression since about 8th grade. I decided that I was fed up with being put down and not being recognized, so instead of saying, “Fuck what other people think!” I built a wall of self-hated around myself thinking, “No one can hate me more than myself. That way people can’t hurt me.” And that wall has remained ┬ásturdy ever since.

Now that I am out of that hell hole and I’m immersed in the most welcoming community I could ever ask for, there is no need for this safe wall of hatred that I created and maintained for so many years. But even having an idea of loving myself scares the living shit out of me. What if someone does think I’m egotistical? What happens if I get hurt again?

I’m so utterly terrified of being hurt that it is my worst nightmare to leave this box. I would rather hate myself than risk being hurt (and now that is put in words I see how ridiculous that sounds). My therapist is slowly coaxing me out of this box. She knows that this is something I can’t be extremely exposed or pushed into, like my anxiety therapy was, because the first slip can send me racing back into it and may cause me to ease back into the depression I’m fighting so hard to keep off. So we’re taking baby steps.

She’s having me start with the one thing I know to be true about myself. I am passionate. I always have been passionate and its one flame that has never even flickered during any hardship in my life. So she told me to repeat this phrase in my head everyday:

“I love that I am passionate.”

I say this sentence until the words “I love” can be successfully associated with “I am passionate”. The words “I love myself” with “passion” aren’t scary anymore. This is secure. No one can take my passion away and therefore I am safe to love myself because of it.

It may seem like not even a baby step, but this is HUGE for me. Not even huge, world shaking. To have even a glimmer of self-love is mind-blowing.

I’m starting small so I can end big. It will be a twisty, winding, uphill road. I’m just hoping the view at the end is worth it and I don’t fall off the mountain during my journey.

Okay?

Zoey K.