So .... you hear a lot of politicians talk about mental health.
They don't do much to help .... but they talk a lot about it.
And if you listen to them, you would think that all mentally ill people are bat-shit crazy loons, roaming the streets of America, trying to harm everyone else.
Well ..... this is mental illness in my world.
I suffer from severe clinical depression. I spent years in therapy and on medication. (I personally believe it should be a combination of both ... not merely drugs .... but what do I know??)
The last several years, I have been off medication and have felt wonderful!!!
I know my depression gets worse in the winter (SAD) but with good friends, a loving husband, and spending time in creative endeavors ..... I have done well without meds.
Until this year.
This winter has become a bit of struggle.
Remodeling is a total disruption of my surroundings. I reach for a pan and remember it is packed away. I turn to grab a cup of coffee .... and realize the coffeemaker is in the laundry room.
Boxes filled with flooring and electrical boxes and appliances litter my living room.
So I have worked doubly hard to keep the darkness of depression away. And on the whole, I have done well.
Until last week.
And suddenly, I am being confronted with another problem that I have never had, anxiety.
Yep. Twice last week, I had anxiety attacks ..... panic attacks.
It first happened on Thursday as I was getting ready for class.
I was teaching an Introduction to Interior Design class. This has been a difficult class for me to teach. I know the subject inside and out. I have the resources and the knowledge but I have had concerns that I am not reaching my students. Getting them to participate and share has been difficult. I have tried projects .... asked questions ... and I feel I am not exciting them.
As I was going through my notes and my Powerpoint, it started.
My heart races .... I get nervous and upset.
And I brushed it off ..... What in the heck was that????
I took a couple of deep breaths and I was off to class.
Until Saturday morning.
I was speaking at Nursery School at the I Wireless Center. And as I double check my photos one more time, just one more time ................. my heart starts to race.
I know what is happening and I try to control my breathing. But it is much worse than before. Deep breath. Deep breath. Just keep breathing deeply. You'll be okay. You'll be okay.
I try to talk my way through the panic and fear. I am totally frightened and scared.
It is beginning to make sense.
All winter .... I have wanted to stay home. I want to stay in the space where I feel safe. I need to feel safe with the people around me. People that don't judge ... people that love me. And now, I am beginning to know why.
Another phase of mental illness is striking me. And as someone that does a lot of public speaking .... Wow! Anxiety can be debilitating.
Back to therapy ..... back to medication.
The struggle never seems to end.