How do you explain not being happy when everything is going well? Most of the time I seem to thrive on high stress situations.
I didn’t feel sorry for myself when my daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease that most doctors had never heard about. I handled marriage issues with my head held high. I managed all that Murphy and his laws want to throw at me.
But when I found myself in a pleasant state of life ... I could not find a happy place.
None of my usual activates brought me joy. I just walked through the motions of my life and honestly did a pretty poor job at it. Hardly a day passed without me crying.
Finally, at a friend’s urging, I called the base clinic. When asked what my appointment was for I sputtered out that I thought I was depressed.
“Okay, we can see you tomorrow morning at 9:00," they said.
Wait, what? No two week waiting period? I had to do this TOMORROW?
I arrived at the clinic to check in. I received my normal paperwork and the receptionist handed me another paper saying, “Oh here is your risk analysis.”
Great ... the receptionist knows I’m crazy.
I got called back and talked to the nurse assisting me. She went over the risk analysis with me again and I tried to explain that I’m just not happy. No nothing is wrong. No I don’t want to kill myself or others. I just want to be happy again.
After what seemed like a barrage of questions from her I wanted to run. I was on the verge of tears and did not want to go through with this.
Then in walked my PCM. I had seen him several times for run of the mill issues. He was a pleasant doctor who was easy to talk to.
“So, what’s going on?” he asked.
I explained the sleepless nights. My lack of ability to remove myself from the couch. The feeling of being inadequate and useless in my family. I went on and on with this poor doctor pouring all my recent feelings out and how embarrassed I was to even be there in tears.
And he listened. And nodded. When I was done he calmly explained that yes, he did believe I had depression and anxiety.
I thought there was no way I had anxiety. People with anxiety curl up in little balls in the corner of the room and rock back and forth.
He told me how anxiety is different in all people. Mine is most active at night when I try to settle my mind. My mind rehashes everything I should have, could have, and would have done, not just for that day but from years back. Not so normal.
And the gut wrenching I felt often? More than shyness ... anxiety. It all started to make sense. We talked about my options for therapy, medication and therapy, or just medication.
Getting help was one of the best choices I have made. My life has taken a new positive outlook that many have noticed. I am back in college, striving for my degree, reading again, laying on the floor coloring with my kids, and best of all enjoying time with my husband.
I want people to know that you don’t have to be ashamed to reach out. Just because life is great and you’re not happy doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful, crazy, or weird.
Sometimes our bodies are just a little off and need a hand. Do not feel judged. Do not be afraid. It’s okay to get help and to find happiness again.
Alden Ferrell is an Air Force wife currently living at Dover AFB.