Why is depression more tolerable than anxiety?

anxietyanddepression

I haven’t been at my best.   My anxiety has really been acting up.   I’m finding it hard to stay mindful and have a positive outlook.   All the tools I learned to stay mindful and avoid the worst of Complex PTSD are almost useless.

I can never relax.  I’ve been filled with a free floating sense of awful, black dread.  I can’t take naps in the middle of the day like I used to, or even sleep in late because at some point I feel like my heart is slamming in my throat and I’m jumping out of my skin.    Often I wake up early in the morning with a jolt, all that oppressive black anxiety weighing down on me like a lead blanket, and I almost feel like I can’t breathe.   Sometimes it’s so intense it borders on full blown panic.

Some of my anxiety is very specific:

  • Worry about the future of our country under the current president;
  • Worry about my personal freedom and rights as I get older, especially since I’m what most would consider poor and under this horrific regime, I will be VERY vulnerable to exploitation or early death from lack of social security, Medicare or other old age benefits that older generations took for granted;
  • Worry about what will happen to my children (or any children they have) should we become a real dictatorship;
  • Worry that the payout from my insurance company won’t be enough to allow me to buy any kind of decent vehicle, which I need for work;
  • Worry about my daughter’s new husband not being capable of providing sufficiently for her or any children they have.
  • Worry about a likely move in the future: will I be able to afford it?
  • Worry that one of my adult children will be in a terrible accident and possibly die;
  • Worry that my own family is using me financially and talking badly about me behind my back (this is probably the most irrational fear I have).    I know this is due to my past as a victim of narcissistic abuse.  When I’m very anxious and triggered, I have a hard time trusting people, even people I know aren’t out to hurt me.

There’s also the free floating, nameless anxiety I’ve lived with all my life, magnified by my specific (and possibly even rational) fears.   It’s this overwhelming feeling that something awful is about to happen, though I have no idea what.

All that anxiety is debilitating, and yes, it’s painful.   It’s hard to function properly or maintain healthy relationships when you’re constantly fretting or ruminating about something that might happen in the future — or might not.    I irritate my family because of my constant need for reassurance that I’m not being used or they are not going to be doing something dangerous that will get them hurt or killed.   I get annoyed easily at work and just in general.   I snap at others, not because I’m angry, but because I’m so anxious all the time.

There have even been days I’ve contemplated suicide (though I know I won’t actually do it) just to escape from the oppressiveness of all this anxiety and dread.

Every so often though, my anxiety gives way to depression.    I know that depression is actually worse than anxiety because it means you have given up.   You’re no longer fighting (anxiety definitely feels like you’re fighting for your life sometimes).  Oddly enough it feels almost…comforting.    When I’m depressed, I can just lie in bed or in front of the TV and not feel like my heart’s about to slam right out of my chest.   I feel no guilt about being so slothful.   When I’m depressed, I can actually sleep and escape my emotional hell through dreams, or just the oblivion of featureless slumber.   I can find food comforting even though I can barely taste it.    Though tears come rarely, when they do, it feels cathartic.

But mostly, when I’m depressed, it’s like boredom turned up to 11.    Depression is very, very boring.   There are elements of sadness and sometimes grief, but more than anything else, depression is boring.   Yet, I have no urge to do anything to relieve the boredom, except maybe sleep or eat.   The boredom is there, and while it’s intense, it isn’t painful or intolerable the way normal boredom is, the kind of boredom that makes you have to go DO something about it immediately.   It’s just there, like gray wallpaper.

When I’m depressed, I don’t suffer much (or any) anxiety or dread, because in my mind, the bad thing has already happened.  Even though my belief it already happened may be irrational, I’ve emotionally succumbed and accepted it.

It’s like that moment you know you are going to die.   You go through your whole life fearing death, but when you’re finally face to face with it, staring into its infinite maw, knowing there’s nothing you can do, your fear disappears and you just accept you’re going to die at this moment, right here and now.  I know this is true because when I was 18 I got raped.  The man had a knife, and I thought he was going to kill me.   At one point, I was sure I was a goner, and at that moment a strange calm took over and I just accepted this was how I was going to leave this earth.  Obviously it didn’t happen, but I remember that sense of peaceful calm and acceptance.

That’s what happens when I’m depressed.  It’s like I’ve already accepted something that might not even have happened and may never happen.    No, of course it isn’t healthy, but it’s oddly comforting and far more tolerable to me than the almost constant high level of anxiety I’m forever doing battle with.

 

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Eeyore wisdom.

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eeyorewisdom

Freeing myself from my past by making peace with it.

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Credit: Me

I woke up earlier from a very odd dream.  Unfortunately, I didn’t post about it right away, so the details are a little fuzzy, but I do remember the gist of it.  At first it made no sense to me (most dreams don’t right away), but when I realized it wasn’t to be taken literally, it began to make perfect sense.

I dreamt I was on vacation with my MN ex.  I don’t know where we were, but it was on a beach somewhere.  We were renting a beach house.   We were getting along very well (!), and at some point I felt this outpouring of love for him.   In real life, I feel nothing but a strong dislike and disgust.

Inspired by my loving feelings toward him, I told him I’d like to make things work with him again.   I apologized for my part in the destruction of our marriage and the ways I’d hurt him.  I prompted him to do the same.   He was hesitant, but he agreed, and made amends for all the terrible things he did to me and to our family.

“Let’s just let the past stay in the past now and start over, as if we just met,” I said, and he agreed to let bygones be bygones.

When I woke up, I actually laughed, because I have no loving feelings toward my ex whatsoever.  I have no desire to resume any kind of contact with him, ever.  He’s still as evil and hateful as he ever was and has grown worse over time (I know not all narcissists are evil, but THIS one definitely is!) and has zero conscience or empathy.   I also know that in real life, there’s no way he would ever be so agreeable and cooperative, even if I were to suggest such a crazy thing.

I scratched my head trying to decipher what this meant.  Obviously it wasn’t really about him.   Slowly it dawned on me that in the dream, my ex represented either my inner child (who I’ve spent years rejecting and denying) or my past.   Either way, it doesn’t matter, because both bleed into each other.  My inner child is my past, and my past is my inner child.

Slowly I’ve been learning to develop empathy for my inner child and stop pretending she isn’t there.  I’m actually learning to love her and appreciate her because her heart is so huge and she is so genuine and has so much love to give.  I’m learning to incorporate her gifts into my everyday life.  It’s not easy and sometimes I still pretend I can’t hear her because I’m still programmed to feel ashamed of her.   But I’m hearing her more, and realizing she’s not some pathetic, weak, immature little brat, but she is the real me–the one who never got to grow up because her spirit was squashed when she was so young.   I’m mature enough now–and also armed with the truth about what really happened to me–to know how to use her gifts, or at least start trying.  When I was a child, her gifts only brought me shame and I had no idea how to use them (and wasn’t allowed to use them anyway), so I rejected them.

In the process of learning to love the real me, I’m also learning to accept my past, and finally move on from it.

For as long as we can’t make peace with our past, we remain trapped in it.

Letter to my child-self

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Me at age two.

For most of my life I wanted to pretend you didn’t exist. You embarrassed me and made me look bad. You cried too much and made scenes. You were weak, sickly, scared of everything, and easily frustrated. You didn’t know how to talk to people and usually ran them off by telling them too much too soon. You were easily overwhelmed. You were too sensitive and didn’t know how to roll with the punches. I hated you. I just wanted you to go away and stop getting me in trouble and making everyone hate me.

I am so sorry. I was wrong. I’d been brainwashed by others. I didn’t want to understand you. It was too dangerous. I might have been punished or bullied for it. I was in fact. I couldn’t let that happen anymore.

It wasn’t your fault you had problems. That was done to you. You had no say. You were a thoughtful and deep child, who loved to analyze and understand things. You were intelligent and read a lot, always wanting to learn about everything you could. You were curious about human behavior and more than anything you wanted to be loved. You felt deep in your bones that the love you needed wasn’t there for you and you tried to find it elsewhere. But you already had internalized the message that you weren’t enough. That message was a lie.

You didn’t know it but your sensitivity wasn’t a weakness, it was your greatest strength. You just hadn’t learned how to use it and you were made to believe it was bad, but that’s another lie. It’s a sophisticated gift that is lost on children but you can grow into as you age. It shouldn’t have been a shameful thing; it should have been celebrated and nurtured because it meant you could see the truth about the world and the people around you. I’m sorry I couldn’t see how strong you were. I’m sorry I couldn’t see how much I needed you.

I can see you there, peeking out and wanting so badly to come out.
You deserve better. I’m not embarrassed by you now, for I have come to realize how much I need you to teach me how to be authentic and fully engaged. Let me hold you and love you. Cry your tears and laugh your laughter and teach me how to be you again, but this time tempered with the wisdom of an adult.
Come on out.

Everything is okay. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I was wrong to be ashamed of you. You are not weak. You are strong, much stronger than you know. You should have been understood and loved for who you were, not who they wanted you to be. I understand you. I want you to be who you are. I want you to teach me everything you know that I have forgotten.

Smile and come out. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Haters gonna hate.

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For the past few days I’ve allowed a group of online bullies to really get me down and even make me consider not blogging anymore (God forbid, that will NEVER happen!)

I’m not willing to stop posting my unpopular opinions about controversial issues. I’m not going to censor myself for fear that certain small-minded people might not like me.

Someone pointed out something important though. If I’m going to take negativity from others so much to heart, then I either need to stop posting about controversial things that might make people upset, or accept the fact I’m going to have haters, especially since this blog is getting more popular.

I’ll keep the haters.

Opinionated Man is one of my blogging heroes. From the very beginning, his blog has inspired me. He has one of the most popular personal blogs on the Internet, but he sometimes posts his unpopular opinions and admits he has many haters who would love nothing more than for him to take down his blog. A lot of this is probably due to envy because of the swift growth of his blog, which has 50K plus followers. So obviously many more people like what he has to say, than those who want him to fall into a manhole and get trapped in it.

It’s a very small group of people who have been giving me trouble. I have so many more supporters and friends and I should focus on them, rather than on those who wish me or this blog ill. I’m like a person who frets about the one person scowling at me at a party, even though everyone else is happy to see me.

Not long ago, I wrote this post about having the courage to write about what you want. I need to follow my own advice.

Anyone know where I can buy a skin-thickening agent?

This is not a nice post.

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I committed to complete honesty in my blog, even when it means I have to show an ugly side I prefer others not see. This blog is the only place I can be completely honest about everything regarding myself and the Narcs in my life, so I don’t expect everyone to like this post. In fact, some of you may hate it. It’s ugly, and it’s negative, and it’s petty, but it’s also something that’s REALLY bothering me, and since this blog is, first and foremost, self-therapy, sometimes ugly stuff is going to come up. What I’m going to write about may even make some of you suspect I’m the narcissist, but read further if you want to understand. I really wish I didn’t feel this way and didn’t have to write this ugly post.

I’m going to keep this short because I don’t want to dwell on it. In fact, I’d really just like to forget about it and move on. But I’m obsessing, so maybe writing about it in my blog will help me to let it go. I can’t talk about this with anyone I know IRL.

For those of you who have read my entire story (click the “My Story” link in the green header), you already know I spent many years supporting a man I was no longer married to, allowing him to freeload, trash my house, take over my home, abuse me and my family, and suck me dry financially, spiritually and emotionally for 7 years after we were no longer married to each other.

In 2010 or 2011, Michael applied for disability. I won’t say he isn’t disabled, because in a relative sense he is. I do think his “mental problems” are largely fabricated. The guy is a Narc–that’s his primary mental problem. I don’t believe he is actually Bipolar and he certainly isn’t suffering from PTSD. I don’t think Narcs can suffer from PTSD (can they?) although perhaps they can be bipolar. But I know him, and I know 99% of it is an act, so that he could appear “crazy” enough to get the treatment required by SSI so he would qualify–and also be able to stay in a psyciatric ward during the time when he would have otherwise been homeless.

Keep in mind that Michael didn’t have a second thought about ousting me from MY home (AND taking my kids away from me) back in 2003 when he was working in cahoots with his flying monkey Rachel who had taken over my home. He never apologized for this either. Yet he hates me because I “made him homeless” because after waiting on him hand and foot for 7 years and getting (and asking) nothing in return other than some help with the bills (which because he refused to work he couldn’t provide) I finally tossed him out when I reached my breaking point when he gave my daughter a black eye. I told him way back in 2007 when he first moved back in with me I would not tolerate violence. Well, he broke that promise. If he hadn’t done that, chances are I would still be putting up with him today.

During the time he was waiting for disability, he did so by my charity. If it hadn’t been for me providing him a place to live–and otherwise supporting him, he would probably have died on the streets since no one else would put up with him (and everyone else had kicked him out). He would never have gotten his SSI because no one would have sacrificed their happiness, given over their home, or put up with his intolerable, exploitative behavior for that long.

One day recently I sat down and calculated how much he had cost me over the 7 years he lived with me and the 5 he lived as a human leech and did not contribute one penny to the household expenses. I spent at least $20K on him, including turning over at least a third of my tax returns to him for at least 4 of those years. And this after he whined countless times, “But I don’t cost you anything!” Yeah, right.

Today he got his SSI check–not the regular monthly check, but the back pay going back to the time he stopped working in about 2008. The check he got is for well over $30K. So this useless, narcissistic, evil, hateful, exploitative, pathetic excuse for a human being is being rewarded–on the backs of the two people (me and my daughter) who made it all possible for him (not to mention the taxpayers). And yet….he told my daughter I will not get a dime of this money. Even though he saw how much I struggle financially, even though I work my ass off, even though I do all this with a smile on my face…not once during the time he lived with me did he show one iota of empathy or even offer to help around the house. Even after working all day, I came home and did all the housework–which meant cleaning up after him because he sat here getting high and trashed the house every day.

moneybags

If I was going to make him accountable for what I had to spend on him, I would ask him for $20K. But I will not do that. I feel $3500 is fair. Of course he is not legally obligated to pay me this sum, nor do I have any legal rights to it. I don’t have a case in the eyes of the law. I don’t expect to get a dime from him, in fact, knowing his history with money, I expect he will spent most of it on drugs and gambling, maybe buy himself a nice new car (while my transmission on my 2001 Taurus is almost shot) and find a place to rent. The rest he’ll spend on whims–because that’s the way he operates. He sees something and has to have it right now. Like most narcs, he’s stuck at the emotional level of a very young child. The money he has will probably be gone in six months.
But it still doesn’t make me feel any better. I feel like I’ve been had. Used and used up.

I’m still dirt poor and now the asshat’s got a shitload of money for doing absolutely nothing except use me to freeload off of while he waited to get that money, and the unfairness of it is astounding and infuriating and makes me want to break a lot of things.

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I understand if this sounds incredibly self indulgent, childish, and petty, and I apologize for that. I’m not too proud of it either. But I just don’t understand why Narcs ALWAYS seem to come out ahead, leaving a trail of destruction and misery behind them. I hope there’s a such thing as karma.

The Serenity Prayer comes in handy in times like this.

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The Courage to change the things I can
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

It’s the only thing I can do.