I want to preface this by saying, I’m generally a happy person.
These are the kind of things everyone expects you to push under the rug or talk about in hushed tones and although that’s how I instinctively deal with things, I’m trying to be more open.
I really didn’t think I would tell this story online. I know I’ve been pretty candid about struggles in the past, but sitting six feet under, I’d never imagine myself telling this story. That being said, ‘write clear and hard about what hurts’ has been a driving force in making this blog what it is, writing about past struggles has proved to be beyond therapeutic, and although this is the last thing I want to be doing right now, this is my truth and I think telling it may help.
This is neither for attention nor pity, it’s a simply me writing something very real and raw that I’ve been going through. Beyond anything, I feel alone despite not being alone at all and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
There’s a stark disconnect between my social media and my real life, and I’ve spoken about my distaste for social media in the past and this is partly why. My highly saturated Instagram with its clever captions and not-so candid laughter gives an illusion of my life that I’m all too thrilled to hold up. It’s so nice to be able to control what people think of you through the simple means of social media, post like you’re happy, no one will be able to tell you aren’t.
And I really haven’t been.
A prime example is the smiling picture I posted on my birthday, the caption was “6 more years till I have a fully developed pre-frontal cortex! #19”. It was a little quirky, I was smiling, dozens of people wished me ‘happy birthday!” in the comments. To an outsider, I was thriving. That picture was taken at Cheesecake Factory on the night before my birthday where I was surrounded with people I love more than my whole heart. No one could tell that I had to walk out of my own birthday dinner where I was surrounded by these amazing people because of a panic attack. I had to leave the restaurant and cry and angrily ask the universe why I couldn’t be happy in a situation where most people would be nothing but. No one knows that on the same day, I was diagnosed and given medication for bipolar disorder.
The day before, I had been diagnosed with major depression and anxiety.
I had spent the past few weeks crying every day. If I wasn’t crying, I was empty, feeling absolutely nothing. I wasn’t eating or sleeping properly and I couldn’t get myself to do the things that I would usually enjoy. I had to give myself pep talks to simply drive to campus. I wasn’t doing my nails or my hair, I’d stopped taking care of myself completely.
At some point, getting emails from school would induce panic attacks. I chewed off my nails and I was consistently rubbing my hands together and feeling my palms, things that only a very anxious Hiba does. None of my friends saw me anymore. I was isolating myself from them or if I did see them, I’d put on an active face of being normal. I’d practice my ‘happy voice’ alone in my car before going to any event where I had to see people. I made it my mission to appear normal and happy even though I felt like anything but. I can’t count the times I cried on the floor of my bedroom or alone in my car.
And this wasn’t the first time this happened either, that’s what bipolar disorder is. I’ll essentially go through these ‘down’ times for weeks or months and other times I’ll go through the complete opposite, a mania of sorts. It’s weird because despite having gone through these periods multiple times in my life, I’d never thought that I’d experienced depression.
I always thought depression was for like sad people, whatever that means. I always thought, oh I could never be depressed. I’m the happy, cheery, peppy friend. I pull out quotes about positive energies and I make jokes at inappropriate times. I’m hardly the poster child for depression.
Admitting it to myself was the hardest part of all this, if I’m very honest.
I’ve stopped feeling like myself, I’ve stopped feeling in general.
This Monday was the worst day that I’ve had, every fear of mine replaying in my head, I convinced myself that I wasn’t going to get better from the mess that my life had become, and I felt detached from everyone I knew. Life became a burden I didn’t want to carry anymore. I devised a plan, wrote a letter but had a moment of clarity as I went on a final walk. I walked all the way to the nearest ER knowing if I stopped or turned to go back home, I probably wouldn’t live to see tomorrow.
I won’t go into the details of that, because quite frankly that’s hardly a pretty story and one I’m probably not ready to tell the internet in detail. I was in the hospital until Thursday. I didn’t have access to my phone, laptop, and I couldn’t see anyone I knew. I was put on an anti-depressant along with the anti-psychotic was I was prescribed for my bipolar disorder. I know it’s the chemicals in my brain that interfere with my function from time to time and that it’s temporary but it’s still very very hard.
Seeing the reaction baker acting myself had on my family and the few friends that knew was shocking. I’m not sure why. Obviously, my head knows I’m loved and cared for but my heart doesn’t believe it. I also find it impossible to reach out to people no matter how many people offer. I also find it absolutely necessary to tell everyone I’m doing much better whenever they ask, regardless of how true it is. I always feel like everyone is busy or shouldn’t have to deal with my issues hence why I internalize it all.
I’m working on reaching out more even though it’s hard.
I’m working on myself and even though I spent last night sobbing in the corner of my room, it was the only time I cried this week since Monday and that is improvement. I am trying really hard. I’m working on improving myself, getting rid of things I don’t need, reconnecting spirutally. I’m working on a book, which is partly why I haven’t posted anything here. I’m working on catching up on school and trying to be happy again.
I always say happiness is a choice and I’ve gotten out of depressive states before and I’ll do it again but this was just a purge of my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Funny enough, someone asked me to write a blog post about getting rid of regrets and considering my current mental state, I think I need to read the same post.
Anyway, all ramblings aside, I am currently working on a little book of poetry and prose which is why I haven’t been writing on here but I’m going to start doing that again. Every Sunday, something reflective, some way that I’ve made my life better, maybe a story, maybe a list, something. If I don’t post on a Sunday, dear friends, you have full permission to call and yell at me.
I’m on a path to recovery and I’m taking this blog with me. We are going to be okay. Life is good. I’m trying to be more honest and this is a start.