I have a bunch of fears. Some of these you may find silly, but others maybe not so.
- I’m petrified of heights.
- I’m terrified of dying via an illness or a bite which makes me a bit of a hypochondriac.
- I’m scared of silence.
- I’m scared of losing the people I love.
- I’m terrified of the current president-elect situation
- Bees. That is all.
- I have this stupid fear that spiders seek revenge.
- 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?”
“Good! You’ve been cooped up in your house probably right?
“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?