How Living with Anxiety and Depression Feels

arousal spectrum of sleep and wakefulness (photograph credit: Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology by Stephen Mm Stahl)

I’m not a professional in this aspect at all and find this whole arousal concept complicated to understand. But I do know that I’m always shifting in between hypervigilant/insomnia and cognitive dysfunction (overstimulation) because my doctor said so, and that explains why I’m always having recallable intense nightmares and why I’m so hypersensitive about the surroundings. My treatments are assisting me to shift back to the middle so that I can deal with everyday activities normally.

I probably should have been in panic/fear for times too as I couldn’t handle sudden happenings like having a waitress spill a tiny removable stain on my coat at all but crying in the public the night before my sister’s wedding, and that immediate made me determine that I couldn’t possibly make it to her big day due to all the unpredictable interactions. I also remember rushing off the bus at least 45 minutes/20 stops earlier than I should because too many people were getting on the bus. I felt completely suffocated and couldn’t help escaping from the area as soon as possible.

Anxiety makes you worry about everything all the time.
Depression makes you uninterested in everything as you’re trapped in the black hole and can’t see anything; there’s no glimpse of hope.

The combination of two sucks. It’s like pulling a string very hard from both ends, and there I’m, I’m the string being pulled. My life is constantly in between two extremes, being concerned about everything versus not giving shit to everything. This really makes me nuts.

All of my senses are highly on guard unintentionally, which ironically always reminds me of one of the best classic and soothing songs, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong:

I’d gaze at the moving clouds in the sky (missing the clear blue sky and perfect weather back in LA and wondering if it’ll rain here later, hopefully not because raining can easily make me gloomy), the looks of the strangers’ passing by (wondering how they’ve been today, why do they look so unhappy? why are they all facing downward to their cellphones?, where they’re going now, or even, if they’re judging me secretly), and the bright billboards and fancy window displays everywhere (wondering who and why he/she designed in this way, and if there’s any specific meaning behind each of them).

I spontaneously played a ‘game’ with a few different friends on counting the sounds we heard from one point to another. Most of them could recall about 5 or 6 sounds as they generally categorized them, but I could count like 60 different sounds:

I’d hear the accelerating tick-tick sounds from the many traffic lights, travelers’ suitcases rolling fast on the uneven street, the children’s and babies’ screams and cries that make me anxious the most, How sarcastic that I used to swear that I must have at least 4 babies! and people’s clop-clop sounds as they all walk differently (some walk quickly, some walk slowly, some tread heavily and irregularly as if they’re drunk or really mad) For many times I’ve been completely shocked by a sudden loud noise when I’m concentrated at something.

I’d avoid going to crowded places because every inch of my skin is hypersensitive too, and I don’t want to have any body contact with anyone or anything unexpected. It’s really unpleasant to be squeezed with strangers in an enclosed area such as a lift. However, quiet places are mostly no fun. There’re no nice shopping malls or restaurants that open late enough that I’d make it willingly. If I really want to go shopping or treat my stomach, I must bare the pressure or better have someone in company.

The most comfortable place in the world is restroom. Whenever I feel anxious and suffocated, I’d always go to the restroom in the bookstore; this combination doesn’t suck. I’ve once sit on the toilet for half an hour just to let myself calm down.

I can’t tell whether having anxiety or depression predominant feels better because none of them makes you feel good at all.

However, from my own experience, I might have to admit that depression is ‘better’ because at least I can figure a way out……,which is suicide (this isn’t the right solution at all, I know, I always know). Depression makes me feel numb and non-human. I don’t feel that intense anxiety which tingles all over my body painfully. I don’t feel alive. I’m only a breathing thing. The only thing I’d think of, or the only voice I can hear is — “Stop being a burden and making your friends and family exhausted looking after this useless and worthless piece of you just because you’re weak and selfish! Everyone’s better off living without you!” This message is so strong and ‘directional’ that I feel right to follow (again, I know it isn’t right).

How does it feel in short?
– Forever tension headaches
– Feeling of suffocation
– Irritable bowel
– Forever restless sleeps
– Intense nightmares
– Extremely dried and sore eyes due to poor sleep
– Intolerance of most of the possible sounds
– Feelings of helplessness, hopefulness, and loneliness while you’re not ‘alone’
– Unpredictable emotions due to unpredictable happenings
– Anxiety accelerating from 0 to 100 within a minute
– Self-hatred pretty much most of the time
The list can go on and on…

And yet, no matter how exhausted I’m feeling at this moment, my head is non-stop processing thousands of thoughts, and I’m always hyper-functionally reading, writing, doing housework even at 3AM while everyone’s sleeping. I truly wish there’s a button on the back of my head, and I can just click it and have one peaceful sleep.

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Early Evening 12.1.2016

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