Hello friends 🙂
I was very touched by the response I got to the last post where I opened up about having depression (it still feels scary to write); several people personally messaged me offering support and reassurance, and every message, comment or ‘like’ was greatly appreciated.
The thing is, since that post, I haven’t written any more about it because it is very hard to voice the experiences and feelings that happen deep within. If initially opening up was hard, continuing the line of communication seems to be even harder.
But today I’m going to try, and I am not only suffering from depression, but anxiety too. That seems to be worse at the moment. As I type, my eyelids are heavy from lack of sleep -OK, yes I was out until late, but I have also had several nights which alternate between periods of wakefulness, experiencing nausea, or periods of restless sleep with eventful, dramatic and emotional dreams.
A recurring dream I have actually seems to suggest that there is something stopping me from communicating or expressing myself. It’s not a pleasant dream and I’ve had it twice this week already. In these dreams, my mouth is full of a material which shouldn’t be eaten, to the point that I am in danger of choking on it. The material tends to change but it has been: gravel, sand, flakes of plastic, plastic microballs (the kind you find in skin exfoliators), and a weird, thick, gelatinous liquid. I try with difficulty to spit out the substance, but if I manage to get it out, my mouth immediately refills again. In a similar dream, there was a ribbon in my mouth which I tried to pull out, but every time I pulled, it tightened round my throat.
I’ve thought about what these dreams might be trying to tell me, and my conclusion is that there is a kind of blockage between what I feel and what I express.
So today I thought I would express some of the anxiety I have been feeling, starting from Friday night. I’d been out with friends and had a lovely evening, but on returning home I had some sad news; my nan, Norma, has been ill for some time but just before Easter she fell and broke her hip and was hospitalised. However, during her stay in hospital her other illness worsened and there is nothing more doctors can do. Essentially there is nothing anyone can do, except wait, and keep her comfortable until the time comes.
I woke up on Saturday feeling weird and distracted, but also I had booked to attend a yoga class (which I have written about before!) I thought it might be helpful to centre and focus me and generally make me feel better. I walked to the class in the morning sunshine, no coat on for the first time this year, distracted but also feeling hopeful.
But when I got to the class, there were a lot of people waiting to go in, a lot more than I’ve seen there before. It was also a different instructor and I suddenly wasn’t sure about it. I sat down on the chairs outside the studio and experienced a sensation of dizziness, just for a second. This then triggered other thoughts, which I know now weren’t true; it was anxiety talking. I can’t cope with the class. I don’t want to faint. I should have eaten more before I came out.
However, knowing this was anxiety I tried to push through it. It will be good for you. You’re here now, just go in. I went inside, but seeing all the mats (no floor space at all), outlines of all the people (not fully seeing them), I immediately turned round, out the door, and went to sit down again. I was debating what to do, and thought I would sit and wait until I felt better enough to walk home, or until I had gathered enough courage to walk into the class before it started (although I was running out of time for that).
With all this in my mind, the instructor then popped her head around the door.
“Are you on the waiting list?”
“No, I have a space, I’m just not sure if I’m going to come in.”
“Why not? Come on, I’ll see if you’re on the list, what’s your name?”
I followed, alongside her, sort of being swept along into the class.
Several other questions followed, in between them, I was answering “yes… no… mmm.” not really being given time to finish; not really being able to articulate a sentence anyway.
“Are you new to yoga? Did you get used to the other instructor? Have you done this class before?”
At one of the questions, my eyes suddenly started tingling and tearing up. Oh god, now I’m going to cry as well!
The instructor must have seen. “Let me get you a mat, and we’ll put it next to the door, in case you want to leave… and the thing about yoga is, if you find you can’t do a move, just have a lie down!”
I was grateful for her kindness. And I did the class. I did cope with it. It did help me.
At the end of the class, I thanked the instructor.
“Yes, there were a lot of people here weren’t there! I even felt like turning around and walking out when I first arrived!”
I didn’t believe her, but there was understanding there, and she was trying to lighten up the situation.
Even though I’m not always able to share experiences like the one above, and other (more) difficult situations, I know (as my dreams are suggesting) that I do need to find healthy ways of expressing my feelings.
I had a thought, as I typed this blog post: what is harder than having anxiety and depression?
Answer… trying to hide (even from yourself) that you have anxiety and depression.
I really hope that I can continue what I have started here; that I can write here to express my feelings; and that I can get over the fear of expressing my feelings in general.
Thank you to all the people who have supported me with opening up; every kind word and acceptance helps me reduce the fear a little bit more.