tomorrow is my one year anniversary of being hospitalized for major depression and generalized anxiety disorder.
one year and one day ago, i was slammed with my first-ever panic attack. i was spiraling out of control, out of my mind with fear. i didn’t know what was happening to me. i was on my knees, sobbing. i was curled in a ball. i was clutching at my husband and my mom. grasping for something to make the panic stop. something, anything to make it stop.
one year and one day ago, my life was about to change completely. i didn’t realize it at the time. it’s surreal to look back and think that i was on the brink of hell and i had no idea what i was in for. i was on the verge.
i didn’t grasp the power that mental illness can have. i didn’t know that deep depression could last so long. i didn’t know that anxiety could grip you with such intensity for months, years at a time. i didn’t know how it felt to be so hopeless that i wished i would die.
i didn’t know i would be hospitalized. i didn’t know i would quit my job. or go on disability. i didn’t know that my fast-paced, busy “successful” reality was about to come to a screeching halt and then disappear altogether. gone gone gone. i didn’t know that my life would transform into a series of days that i managed to make it through. one long, excruciating day after another.
i didn’t know how my body would change, gaining and losing and gaining weight from my medications. i didn’t know how awful changing or stopping meds could be. i hadn’t experienced the hell of withdrawl.
i didn’t know how hard it could be to shower. or how terrifying it could be to go the grocery store. or how impossible it could be to do the dishes or walk the dog. how making dinner felt like climbing the highest mountain, running the longest mile.
i didn’t know how my mental illness would profoundly impact my friendships, my marriage, my self esteem.
one year ago i didn’t know i could get through a year like that. i didn’t know i had that kind of strength. i didn’t know i was that kind of a fighter. i didn’t know i could walk through the fire and come out on the other side. burned, scarred but still standing, still alive. still standing, still alive.
for better or for worse, now i know.