Dear loved one,
It’s hard to tell you how I feel. Most days I feel this fog from the top of my head down to my toes. Some days it feels more like a fine mist that I can see through but the heaviness remains. I want you to know I want to talk about it, but when I’m ready. I just need you to listen and to tell me that you believe me. I really need to know you believe me.
The chemicals in my head are failing me. They lie and tell me my battle isn’t important or worthy. I need you to know that most of the time I don’t know why I’m feeling what I’m feeling. I’ve buried wounds so deep that they’ve become a part of the fog. So I walk around hazy and scared of my own mind. I don’t need a “fix” because I’m trying every day to find the fix that works for me.
I need your love.
Please ask me if I want a hug.
Please ask me if I want to be alone.
Please ask me if I want to talk.
Please invite me places.
Please include me.
And I’ll push back because I don’t think you believe my struggle. And I’m scared to open up, because when my wounds open, I’m left raw and ashamed. The fix hurts. The healing hurts. But I need you to know that I do need you. Sometimes that only looks like a phone call, a hug, or dropping off something you know I love. I need the reminders you care. Tell me something silly you love about me. Tell me why you think I’m brave and if I don’t seem to be listening, don’t worry, I am. I need little things, little reminders that it’s okay that I’m not okay and that you’ve got me.
I can’t do it alone. I’m too scared to do it alone. If I push, let me push but still show me you care. Tell me I’m brave. Tell me you’re proud. Tell me you love me. And don’t stop checking up on me.
I’m really good at faking it. Remember that this disease is dark, and the healing is painful. I want to be okay, but right now I’m not. And that’s okay too.
anxiety and depression CAN look like this. because i want to put on that fake smile, act fine and mask what actual thoughts are racing in my head. i want you to think i’m okay, because maybe if you do i’ll believe you. but in the last 48 hours i feel like i can’t catch my breath. things feel heavy and explosive. i felt really discouraged last night because maybe this isn’t the right medicine combo. and i know it takes patience, effort and honesty with my doctor and therapist. but last night it felt like this particular depression was going to last forever. being diagnosed with PTSD isn’t easy. because it means i keep hiding things and burying them deeply for self preservation. that triggers feel everywhere right now. thoughts are swirling and dean looked at me saying, “i know you’re not okay, Hillary, i believe you.” to the ones fighting, i believe you. i believe you. i believe you. you’re not alone. you’re not alone. i’ll be your advocate. and i’ll tell you everyday: i believe you, until you believe it.
your thoughts may feel heavy but i promise you bring light into the world.
I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety since i was 12. it comes back in waves big and small. i jokingly refer to it as an unwanted old friend, oddly comforting because it feels normal. but this time it came back full force tsunami. i felt fogged, trapped and unsure how exactly to come up for air. the voice in my head said “no believes you anyway, so why does it matter.” i started having panic attacks after yoga during rest. constantly feeling like i couldn’t catch my breath and i couldn’t get my words out to tell anyone. finally after a really heavy depressive episode i told dean i think it’s time to go back on medication. i got an appointment the next morning (and felt God lift my shoulders). and when i walked in my doctor looked at me and said “you’re not crazy. you’re not crazy.” over and over. and i believed him. diagnosed with PTSD and back on medication. i always hate the first week. but i swear my head already feels less foggy. and i’m here to tell you, the voice in your head is wrong. you’re not crazy. and there is help. i am here for you. if you feel fogged and you’re wearing this coat full of fear and anxiety about the unknown i’ll be your advocate or just a listening ear. mental health is important. and so are you.
*I took this picture yesterday when i got home because i wanted to remember this feeling of how proud of myself I was.*
You can find out more about Hillary on Instagram.