The bad and the ugly

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Struggling is a funny word. To me it looks a lot like the word juggling or giggling,  which make me think of happy things. Unfortunately I think struggling is the only word I can use to describe what I've been dealing with lately.
This isn't a pity post and I'm sure it's a post lots of people won't understand. But for those that do, you'll get it 100 percent.
Years ago I went through a traumatic experience that triggered a bout of depression I've been battling since then. It comes in waves, and some waves are easier to deal with than others. There will be months that go by where I don't even realize there's a monkey on my back. Other times, there will be a few days where I feel like I'm drowning.
This waves vary in length. Some last for days, others for months. I handle them differently each time they hit depending on how I'm feeling.
Lately I've noticed a wave that has been different from the past. I can't tell if it's hit already or if it's just building strength waiting to strike in full force.
Coupled with waves of depression is my nemesis anxiety. We haven't known each other long, just a few years. But for lack of a better term, he's a real bastard.
I took an abnormal psychology class this semester. It was easily one of the most intriguing classes I ever took in college. If I had to go back and do it all again I think I'd focus a lot more on psychology than I did.
In this class we learned about everything from sexual disorders to personality disorders to more severe cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer's. One of the sections I was most interested in was the one in which I could most closely relate, anxiety and depressive disorders.
When we started the class we had three rules: don't diagnose the professor, don't diagnose family and friends and don't diagnose yourself. I found myself at an odd crossroads having already been diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist with a few things.
What I found was I am ordinary on the abnormal spectrum. My symptoms and experiences are normal, the comorbidity of my depression with anxiety and OCD are normal. Well, as normal as it all could be on an abnormal scale.
I wasn't sure whether to be comforted or bothered by my ordinary abnormality. It was nice to know what physically is causing it. What, why and how my brain is functioning is fascinating.
All the while during this class I was experiencing the usual. Lack of motivation, catastrophisizing, compulsions, obsessions, the usual. I knew what was happening and was sort of relieved to know it was normal. Did it make me any less uncomfortable with my thoughts? No, but it was something.
I guess nothing has gotten better, but it hasn't gotten worse either. There are diseases and disorders one can overcome. Pneumonia can be cured, allergies can be cured, even cancer can be cured. Through class though, I couldn't really decide if this was something one can ever "beat." Sometimes I feel strong and capable of dealing with it all. Other days I know I've been swallowed hole and choose to role over. The battles need to be picked, and carefully so or else my motivation to fight is lost on a battle I cannot win.
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