Exhaustion, Depression and Relapse
Exhaustion is painful. It is one of the top four reasons people relapse for a reason. It depletes us. We lose our patience, our clarity, and our ability to cope. For me, I wake up tired and anxious on the regular morning. I have GAD, general anxiety disorder. Name an anxiety pill, I tried it. I have had this for so many years that I cannot remember not having it. I wake up with a constant hum of worry. About EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. Money. Health. Danger. The "what might happens" of life. I dream anxious dreams. Some days I shoot out of bed like lightning screaming "is he/she ok?" The funny thing is, I never scream "help." I shot out of bed the other morning at about 4 am. Changing time zones and utter tiredness makes my anxiety a million times worse, so I half expected that particular 4 am anxiety alarm clock. Hours upon hours of travel was elongated due to weather and the delays sucked the life out of me. I had one person online troll and degrade me for being depressed from "vacationing." I assure you, I am exhausted from MY WHOLE LIFE, not the snippets online that are shiny. What comes after exhaustion for me is always depression. I gorge on McDonalds. I try and make up the mood difference with coffee. It always seems as if the rainbows and butterflies I saw the day before are forever gone.
The one thing I’ve learned in recovery is to recognize this depression. The depression caused by this exhaustion and anxiety that takes you down. It is not so easily released as the serenity prayer would suggest. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." Anxiety does not release even though you cannot change it. My anxiety is caused by exhaustion and my exhaustion is caused by lack of sleep. My lack of sleep is mostly caused by this anxiety. See the conundrum? It is an endless cycle of what came first? The anxiety or the excessive tiredness? I used to pop Xanax and Ambien but that ship sailed. Actually, that boat sank. Now, I am learning to recognize the crashes and keep afloat. I have some coping skills that seem to alleviate the desperation in my low points, but as we all know...sometimes you just have to weather the stormy waves.
I’ve learned to snuggle my dogs and do natural things to elevate my mood. I go for long walks. I started this in early recovery, my "Take a Walk, Not a Pill" philosophy. I’ve learned to cry. It releases my stress. I’ve learned to stop taking it out on people around me. I’ve learned to let it out instead of keeping it inside. Welcome to soberupbuttercup.com where I lay it all out. But, the number one thing I’ve learned is to not pretend like my life is perfect. I am not talking about me pretending so others see my life as perfect. I am talking about the lying I used to do to myself. The "I'm ok" I used to whisper in the mirror. I did this OUT LOUD, y'all, almost daily as a matter of fact. Sometimes I am not ok, and that is ok. The acknowledgment that this is just a feeling and not a life sentence is the best way I've found for me to negotiate these dark waters of depression. My boat is still afloat.
What baby steps am i taking to combat this anxietal induced depression?
1. an early morning long dog walk.
2. Switching to Decaf after my one cup of high caffeinated coffee.
3. going to work. yes. This helps me not wallow.
5. Blogging. Ta-da!
6. Showering. Don't laugh! This is the most important and hardest one to do on days like today.