My latest descent into all-consuming anxiety and depression started in May. I was contacted by an old friend (who I hadn’t seen in months and that I was missing terribly) who wanted to say hello and wanted to do lunch. We were texting and figuring out when to go, and, long story short, he just stopped communicating with me with no explanation, and has not responded to my attempts to re-initiate contact.
I have been wracking my brain all summer (while studying for the bar exam) wondering what I did, wondering what happened, convinced that I must have done something to cause this reaction in him. I have cried. A lot. I have bored my friends with analyzing every conversation. It’s been so exhausting. Mentally and physically. So, because I got so tired of feeling so bad, I started eating a lot to deal with the discomfort. I had lost almost 40 pounds from January to mid-May and just threw my good habits out the window. Most of June, I barely worked out, ate whatever I wanted (mostly sugar and large portions) and started driving myself crazy trying to figure out what I did.
Then came July. 31 days that I would like to forget ever happened. Probably the worst time of my life outside of undergrad (that’s another story for another time). I went to my doctor at the end of June to adjust my medicine (to help with my obsessing and anxiety) and it caused a side effect that made me suicidal. I don’t think I have ever felt so close to the brink then when that happened. Luckily, it was another quick change to my meds and that side effect went away, but it set the tone for the rest of the month. I never quite bounced back from that. I struggled to get out of bed every morning I slept 12 hours a day. I studied for the bar while all of this was happening, but spent so much time being anxious about whether I was doing enough or what I should be doing better, that I’m not sure how effective my actual study time was (I guess we will see in October!).
I continued to beat myself up over the situation with my old friend. Even in the midst studying for the most important test of my life I just couldn’t let it go (thanks OCD). It was horrible. I managed to pull myself together in regards to the obsessing the last couple of weeks of July and focus on the Bar studying, but my depression stayed. I’m not even sure how I made it to the Bar and actually took the test.
The week in between the Bar and going back to work was not so bad, I felt like the weight of the world was off of me, and that I had turned the corner on the situation with the friend.
Wrong. I got back to work on Monday. I immediately started obsessing again and took what felt like 100 steps back. I started wondering what i did wrong, regretting things I had done and said during our few conversations before he disappeared, and blaming myself entirely for the situation.
I have been struggling with why I care so much. I know that what one person thinks of me doesn’t define me. But I can’t let it go. I don’t like not having closure, and I like having explanations for things, even if I might not like what someone has to say. I can accept and understand anything, if I know what anything is. But I won’t get one in this case, and I just know I need to let it go. I’m also pretty angry that this person chose to contact me after months of not speaking, then I get excited, and then they just drop me. I don’t know; it just hurts.
Which leads me to what I realized last night after having a major meltdown, where my depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts took over with such fierceness that I could hardly function - I thought I have been grieving this situation this whole summer. I was wrong. What I have been doing is refusing to accept the fact that I have been rejected by someone I care a lot about. Literally typing that, thinking that, hurts. REJECTED. By someone I genuinely care about and would not choose to reject and ignore. It’s like he said, sorry, I don’t care about you and you are not important to me. That’s what it feels like. That may or may not be how he feels but that’s how it feels in my head.
I mean, everyone gets rejected and it sucks, but most adults bounce back pretty quickly. That’s what anxiety does. Your mind takes over and your fears and worries become what you view the world through. It really messes with your mind. I think the combination of stress from the Bar with my utter disappointment in this situation just did me in.
I’m hoping now that I’ve started to accept the reality of this situation I can start to really grieve and move on. I know that’s what happens and how it’s supposed to work - but I’ve spent my adult life eating to deal with emotions and pushing them away and avoiding them - so this is new for me. It’s scary.
I’m hoping by sharing this that I can help people understand me better and help to remove so much of the stigma around mental illness. No matter what your circumstances this stuff can take you over. It’s tough. But I hope by talking about what’s on my mind it can help me to heal and grow and handle a situation like this in the future much better.