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“Depression can affect anyone—even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.” – American Psychiatric Association
We created this page to allow you to share your story on Anxiety and Depression and how it affects (or has affected) you. Our race organizer, Cassi Davis, has shared her story and we’d love for you to submit your story below as well. Scroll to the bottom, login, and share. We hope this page can be a positive space for you where you can connect with others! Thank you for reading.
Depression doesn’t care if you have a comfortable life. It will tell you disgusting lies and make you believe them. It will self-incarcerate you. It will numb you … inside and out … mentally and physically.
Anxiety doesn’t care if you have nothing to fear. It will turn a walk to the park into a war zone. It’ll make your body shake and quiver and your brain hyperaware. It will form irrational delusions; make you believe the worst is waiting for you around every corner.
My Depression and Anxiety didn’t show their ugly faces until after my second baby was born. Other than some small scares of early labor and some pretty vicious morning sickness, my pregnancy and delivery were relatively normal. My son is sweet and mild-tempered and healthy. I had no reason for feeling the way that I did. But I quickly learned that Depression is not logical. It doesn’t need a reason to invade your life; it just does.
On dark days, I did the bare minimum to take care of my babies. They were fed and their diapers were changed. It was all I could muster. On those days, they didn’t have their mommy. They had a zombie. A zombie who would have the television on, but instead of watching it, my eyes would instead drift off to the side and stare into an abyss that my mind had created. I would be in no condition to make decisions, because I just didn’t care. I didn’t care enough to eat, answer the phone, or to clean my son’s spit up off the floor. I pushed away family members. I pushed away everything I used to enjoy.
The days I had anxiety attacks were both surreal and terrifying. I had never experienced a panic attack before and they are wild. They’re like being over-caffeinated and drunk at the same time. I would sweat and my heart would race. My entire body would shake uncontrollably. And the craziest thing is I would get super cold, my body saving its energy for fight or flight mode. These attacks came randomly about two or three times a week. I had one while driving once: I was dropping our dogs off to be watched for a few days because we were leaving town the next morning. It was just the two dogs and myself while my husband stayed home with the kids. Suddenly, I didn’t see the freeway anymore. I saw my little dog dead on the side of the road. I saw my big dog frantically running around the vehicle injured and scared. I saw all this from an upside-down point of view, stuck in my seatbelt in the over-turned car. I heard my husband telling my daughter that her mommy was gone and wouldn’t be coming back. I heard my son’s newly-learned first word, “mama” repeating over and over. I saw my mother-in-law moving in with my husband to help him with the kids. Finally, I saw the freeway again and somehow managed not to veer off into a ditch. I immediately called my husband so he could calm my breathing and tell me the kids were home safe and sound. Another panic attack came when I was walking my kids to the park and a car drove past me. That’s it. It wasn’t speeding. It wasn’t loud. I was on the sidewalk and it was on the street. But I thought for sure it was either going to hop the curb and run us all over or drive by and shoot me, leaving my kids to fend for themselves until help came. I have no idea who was driving because I was too afraid to look. It could have been an old lady on her way to some Early Bird Special. But to me, it was a psychopath whose intent was to hurt me and my babies. Even recalling these moments and typing them out are making my hands shake and my chest tighten.
The Anxiety didn’t just cause random panic attacks. More frequently, I would be hypersensitive to noise and touch, making me extremely irritable. Simple things like the sound of a text message coming in would make me jump out of my seat. The touch of my kids or certain clothes would bother me so much, I would have to leave the room just to avoid as much stimuli as possible. Even if another person was in the same aisle as me at the grocery store, I’d start to shake and and get all “tweeky” (for lack of a better word).
The day I realized I needed to talk to someone, I was walking down the stairs and suddenly I wished I would fall down them and severely hurt myself. I fantasized about lying in a hospital bed, not having to move or make decisions or have anybody rely on me. It sounded like paradise. I never actually did any harm to myself, but I knew that wasn’t me thinking that. It was Depression.
I talked to my doctor and got on anti-depressants. I’m not typically one who prefers to take medications, but I needed help with my fight, and there is no shame in that. It took a while for the meds to kick in. I suffered from horrifying dreams and night sweats and a multitude of other random symptoms. I was still having dark days, but not as much. The dark days were starting to be shorter, too. Instead of two or three days of darkness, it was more like four to six hours. I could feel the Depression trying to get through, but my brain recognized those thoughts and fought back: I was able to control them a little bit more. Soon, after a few dosage adjustments, both the medication symptoms and the Depression symptoms started to melt into the background. I finally found the motivation to do the things I enjoyed. I started doing my favorite hobbies again.I even signed up for a gym membership which lead to a great friendship, which probably ended up being more of a benefit than the exercise. I also found the courage to talk about it, not hide it. And the more I talked about it, the more I realized how many other people felt the way I did, even those who were closest to me. Lyrics to songs became more meaningful because I was realizing that the musician was suffering. I was in awe when I randomly decided to watch Pixar’s Inside Out. My mind was blown. The little girl’s face when Joy and Sadness leave the headquarters. Wow. How the Islands of Personality crumble and fall. That movie was so impactful for me, I even got Joy tattooed on my inner arm to remind myself that I always have her with me.
Every day is still a struggle. This segment has been difficult for me to write. I keep having to come back to it because as I type, I feel that darkness creep in. Just like seeing a thunderstorm coming from the horizon, I can feel those dark clouds rise up through my esophagus and sit behind my eyes. Before Depression and Anxiety, I was easygoing and lighthearted. I was the class clown in school. I lived in comfort with amazing friends and a supportive family. Now, I still have amazing friends and I still have a supportive family and I still live in comfort, but I have to actively try to be my old self. I have to force being silly or excited. I have to muster up enough “care” to eat and brush my teeth. I have to physically control my thoughts, which can be so distracting I often find myself putting my shoes on the wrong feet or swiping my phone to look something up but immediately forgetting what. A lot of times, Depression is triggered by abuse or trauma, but that’s not always the case. Like an ambush predator, it has no preference on who it attacks.
Even though I still get those feelings of Depression and those thoughts of Anxiety, I am truly more myself again after making those changes. It wasn’t easy and I wish I never had to deal with it at all. In fact, I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy. I may never be able to get rid of it, but I can put up a hell of a fight, which is why I decided to organize the Crush Run.