I was completely ambushed yesterday. I couldn't handle all the stimuli. Every "noise" felt multiplied by 100. The radio, the whining three year old, the barking dog, the furnace kicking on, the dishwasher, anything and everything that was out there felt like a physical assault. I couldn't answer the simplest of questions, and I couldn't handle being in the same room with anyone, including my pets, which is highly unusual. I could barely stand being in the room with myself.
My husband knew I needed time so he took the kids out, unfortunately I was not any better when he returned. I decided it wasn't fair to anyone else to have to deal with me, so I went to my bed and I didn't come up for air until almost 24 hours later.
My husband and I have been together for over 12 years now and he knows me well. He has the amazing ability to pick up the slack when my "symptoms" are taking me over. He knows that most times his words don't work so he does what he knows will help, and that is to take care of the kids and himself while I sort myself out, whatever that means.
My bed and I have a love hate relationship. It is both my refuge and my escape. Yesterday it was my escape. I buried myself deep under the covers so even the dog couldn't cuddle me and I put on the noise canceling headphones and I begged whatever to just take me away from it all, I had fitful sleep, if it you could even call it sleep. It felt more like an exorcism. I sweat buckets. I had vivid, delusional, insane nightmares. I remember some, but not most. I do remember waking up, looking around and then going back under the cave of blankets again. I felt so tired, weak even. I knew I wasn't getting a flu, I knew this feeling all to well. This was depression, mixed with being a woman at a certain time, something that has plagued me since I became of age.
It's at time's like these when I wish they still had the sanatorium in Princeton so I could go there and both give my family the freedom to live normally, and allow me to purge myself of the foul, painful, debilitating emotions that steal "me" for what could be days. For what has been years.
Fortunately it was less than a full 24 hours and while still emotional, the depression seems lifted and the anger has subsided and I can handle the world around me without sensory overload. I wonder, did I become the victim again? Did I give in? I didn't know what else to do. I feel it was the right option for my family, and me. And that it didn't turn into another day I have to go with that and accept that I needed to check out for a spell.
You can't really explain this to people and expect them to understand unless they have gone through it themselves, many women will understand part of it, some will understand all of it and some men will understand some, but as individuals we go through things that we wish people could understand so we could feel validated and supported rather than alone and freakish.
I know I am someone with mental illness. I know I have a very hard time during my monthly cycle. I have decided to not let my illness define me, nor will I be victim any more. I may suffer from it but I refuse to let it be who I am. It is certainly a part of me, I have journals full of me and my depression. I have blue bracelets from the times me and my depression went on vacation together. I have discharge papers that I have promised myself I will frame and put above my desk like some do with their diplomas. They are my diplomas, I earned them. I worked my ass off for them. And I am NOT ashamed of them. I am who I am and depression and anxiety, while they are part of me, are not me. I am more than that!
So tomorrow I will wake up, and I will fight if I have to. I know it won't be the last time I will have to fight to get through a day. My goal is to stay out of bed, to be productive and be gentle with myself. If I can do that then I will not be the victim!