Oh man, depression hurts!

Oh man, depression hurts!

I always thought that depression was one of those things that hurt mentally. Heck, I’ve experienced it personally several times over the past year. It hasn’t got better by much, but I’m getting better at fighting it off. Unfortunately, “it” is also getting better at fighting me.

Last night, it upped the ante by escalating into a physical thing. For absolutely no reason, I had a panic attack at 1:00am. I woke up feeling scared as I had trouble breathing and my chest was really heavy. And my body felt completely depleted of all energy. All I wanted was water – lots of it. I downed about 4 glasses of water and the panic subsided a bit. But I still couldn’t breathe.

I woke my wife up (for the first time in my life) and told her what was happening. She listened… but there wasn’t much she could do. She asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. “No”, I firmly replied. I knew where the roots of this were… My old friend – Depression.

I opened the bedroom window and the cold winter air came streaming through. It really felt good, even though it didn’t help my breathing. I looked at my wife who was sitting by the side of the bed groggily looking at me. She was tired as hell too. She’s been having busy days at work. This wasn’t fair on her.

So I figured if I have to solve a problem I’ve never had before, I’ll do something I’ve never done before. I got out of bed, grabbed the duvet from the next room, my yoga mat from the family room and headed out to the car garage. I was going to sleep in the garage. My wife gave me a “Are you friggin’ nuts?” look which I was able to ignore. “I’ll be OK” I said as I walked out.

It was freezing cold in the garage as I lay out my yoga mat and my pillow. My chest still felt heavy, but in about 30 minutes, my breathing improved. I think the biting cold took my focus away from the physical discomfort. I was spending all my energy staying warm to bother too much about the breathing. The only thing that bugged me was the garage light that came on every 20 minutes as a squirrel would scamper across the driveway. I have never cursed so much at a squirrel in my life!

By 3:00am, I was breathing normally. I even managed to doze off a bit. But now that I had things under control, and I got thinking…

I have to get a grip on this. More than anything, I have to believe that I will be able to take control of my problems. The company I worked for closed down in August and everyone got laid off. I have been working for myself ever since, but money is nowhere close to what I was making working full-time. Every now and then, the fear grips me and I think “What if I don’t make enough the next month?”. I then try to push it away by telling myself “You’re worrying about something that doesn’t exist. Cross the bridge when you come to it”.

I’m trying to focus on what’s going well for me – I have an amazing family around me – My wife loves me, my kids are fantastic, and we have enough to get by. So what the heck am I worrying about? I have all I need. In reality, it’s the excess that I don’t have. Do I really need to kill myself trying to get a little bit more? No!

This morning at 6:00am, I walked back into my bedroom feeling a sense of relief. My circumstances were EXACTLY what they were five hours back. But I had been able to change the way I was looking at my life. I felt better about the fact that I wasn’t going to give up on myself. I’m not the first person dealing with depression and I won’t be the last. It will take time, but I will get out of it.

In the meantime, I’ll focus on all the good things I have going to me in my life.

The Warrior

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