Dear J,

I heard you were coming home soon, if all goes well. I heard that you’d be spending some time here, making a new life for yourself. That only slightly adds to the chances of me seeing you face to face. I mean, I would love to see you, spend time with you, catch up and hopefully set things to rest but I don’t think that will ever happen even with the good news of your pending arrival.

I’ve noticed a trend that’s been going on for a while now. I didn’t think anything of it at first but then it was in my face, clear as day. I couldn’t deny it anymore. I’ve been struggling with a lot of things lately, you being one of them. I wish I could say you were the most important but, I’m sorry, you’re not. It’s hard for me to even write this let alone talk to someone about it face to face. But I’m going to have to do that soon too. And I’m even dreading the thought of thinking about the thought, if that makes any sense…?

Ugh, I wish it would all just go away, I just want it all to go away. But it won’t, not completely, I don’t think. Since I was about 12 or 13 it’s always been there. It’s been a part of me. I started remembering things from my childhood, things that weren’t the best. And I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it. Well, I ended up finding someone who has always been able to help me through things but I fear we are growing apart…Anyways, I started acting out after having to change schools and things started getting worse. I started down a dark and dangerous path. This feeling that I couldn’t shake had taken over my everyday, day-to-day, life. The doctors called it depression with an anxiety disorder and said with some talk therapy I would be fine, it would go away. They were only half right.

I found that I was losing friends very quickly because of my new BFFs. I wanted to please everyone and I was pulling myself too thin. I tried reaching out to my friends but they didn’t understand. They were all dealing with their own things, normal middle school stuff I guess. The rejection I felt by the three of the closest friends I had ever had at the time really set me back in my depression. I didn’t know how to handle it, hanging out with other friends didn’t feel right. I couldn’t put into words how I felt. I was standing in a gym full of people, screaming at the top of my lungs and no one could hear me. I was drowning in the thoughts and feelings of my own mind and the ocean of obese almost claimed me.

After finding some amazing therapeutic music, moving schools again and getting into a killer workout routine, I started to feel better about myself. It seemed as if Thing 1 and Thing 2 were gone. I was free at last! But only the fairy tales have happy endings. Over the next 13 years I would battle depression and anxiety. Sometimes I would suffer in silence, hardly letting on that there was anything wrong. Other times it seems like I was the poster child for public anxiety attacks and outrageous outbursts. I didn’t realize that depression could cause such a scene. Most people think it’s just really glum and dreary. But it can cause you to do some pretty crazy things. During these times in my life, I didn’t even know who I was. I would look in the mirror and not know who was looking back.

After I had my son, I started taking pills but do you know how hard it can be to remember a little pill?! Maybe it’s a woman thing…Anywho…I never got a refill and I noticed how much they really did for me. I should have gone back to a doctor and asked for more. I probably still could but then my anxiety kicks into overdrive. I don’t like talking about it. I hate it really, saying the words out loud. I feel weak and powerless. So I don’t go to the doctors about it. I suffer with it and hope that when I wake up in the morning that nothing will set me back. But it seems like the world is against me when it comes to that.

Depression is one thing, anxiety is another. I could still go out with people and pretend to have a good time when all I really wanted to do was lay in bed, in a cold dark room under my weighted blankets and cry and watch Dirty Dancing. I could deal with the dull ache of my body and excessive tiredness. But with my anxiety I started to overthink things. I started to get paranoid. I couldn’t help but try to prepare for every possible outcome before doing something. It probably saved me from getting into a lot of trouble as a teenager but it didn’t start to really be negative till after my youngest was born.

…. …… ……. ….. < That, was a wave of anxiety that washed over me while thinking about my next sentence. Typing words on a computer screen gave a jolt to my anxiety. Can you believe this? I don’t think you can unless you suffer from it too. It’s so hard for me to explain this. It’s like when you have your first crush and you find out they like you too…kind of like 5th grade for me with you…and you get that rush of butterflies and excitement at the same time and you feel like you could either puke or run a 5k marathon. But ten time more intense and all with a very dark atmosphere with that weird suspense feeling you get when you watch horror movies.  Is any of this making sense??

After years of living with this, I thought I had found a way to make it work for me. But then I cut all my lifelines. I stopped going out, making new friends, stopped talking to people other than my family. I realized that I was closing myself off, shutting myself in and I tried to reach out and stop it. But like many times before, I failed. Then there was a glimmer of hope, I was asked to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. I thought, Great! I will get to see all my old friends, finally be in a wedding and possibly make new friends all at once! But I don’t think that will happen now. I was supposed to meet up with a friend that I see as a sister who came home from out-of-state just for the weekend. We talked about it and planned it and I asked her to keep on me about it so I couldn’t flake out on her. She left without saying a word to me. That’s when the reality of my situation hit me like a ton of bricks.

I wanted to go out and do things. I wanted to be able to go to the gym and workout, get a killer body like I had before kids and I wanted to have a partner to go do it with. I had it all set up and then one setback led to another and another and by the time it was all said and done I was back to where I started. It wasn’t my fault at first, but once an obstacle came up then my anxiety raised higher and higher. I started having doubts and by the end of the night I had thrown my hands up in frustration and caved to an arrangement that I wasn’t the happiest about but it was something I could work with. But I waited too long to act on it. And when I was left alone, again, I gave up.

I get so stressed out, so sick to my stomach, my emotions get so out of whack. Nowadays I don’t know if it’s the depression or the anxiety. I should really go get it checked out. But all I really want to do is hide under the covers and cry. So you see, J, though I really want to, I won’t ever be seeing you. Let’s not waste time, energy or breath making plans that I will never fulfill. You are one of the few people who I haven’t pushed away yet. Probably because I have so much anxiety to even send you a simple “Hello” message so I write these letters to you instead. Maybe someday you’ll stumble across them and you’ll just stop by.

I hope by then I am in a good place again. I don’t want to miss another opportunity to socialize because of my anxiety and depression. I wish just the sight of a smile on your face could be enough for me to rid myself of these chains….maybe one day….

Under lock and key,

Me.

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