It’s All In Your Head

I suffer from anxiety and depression (as well as chronic pain). I’m just beginning to honestly say that. For so long, I’ve squished down those feelings of depression, anxiety and everything else icky. I feared the label, feared what acknowledging it would mean for me.

I’m on Zoloft. Sometimes, I feel like it helps. I’m less anxious, less depressed but those feelings are certainly still there. I haven’t been taking Zoloft for very long, and I am told that you need to give it time to rewire you.

I suffer from intrusive thoughts. They are less frequent than they were before I started taking Zoloft, but they are still there. They get worse and louder if I’m stressed out about a situation. I don’t enjoy having intrusive thoughts, who would enjoy that? But I am now able to recognize when I have them. Sometimes, I will still voice them because I will need the reassurance. Yes, that’s an intrusive thought. Yes, that’s all in your head. Everything’s okay. We’re okay.

Sometimes, I give myself my own pep talk. Those are intrusive thoughts. They aren’t true. Everythings okay. Just breathe.

But then I worry. What if I’m blindly telling myself that everything’s okay, when it’s not? I don’t want to live a lie. I don’t want to deceive myself into thinking everything is fine and dandy when it’s not.

Clearly, I am my own worst enemy. I overthink, I over-analyze and I hardly ever know the truth. For me…that’s terrifying. I hate not knowing the truth. I hate not knowing what’s real. Sometimes, the intrusive thoughts are right. Sometimes something really is off about a situation or person.

My husband suffers from depression and a rage disorder. Plus, we are both Geminis. Our communication abilities are far from the greatest. I have found ways to communicate my thoughts and feelings, but they are not verbal. I write, it’s the only way I can release the flow of words from my head. This frustrates him, because his writing skills are not the greatest. He has ADHD and is dyslexic. He prefers to talk, which I can’t seem to do when we’re arguing. Call it emotional constipation, if you will. It’s all there, it’s just…clogged. Writing is my emotional laxative.

Sometimes, it’s a battle to get both our sides out in the open. It’s exhausting to do, and leaves me feeling as if someone has taken a large metal spoon and scooped out my insides. I feel hollowed out.

But, at the same time…I feel relief. Relief that we’ve finally gotten out whatever pent up anger we’ve had with each other, be it silly little nonsense things like him not doing what I ask and me asking too much. Each arguement we have, I feel I understand him and myself better.

Two years ago, I would have denied my hand in everything. He was wrong. I am right. I was big on denial back then…I denied that I had any issues at all. My go to response was maybe I’d be less irrate if you listened! I wouldn’t accept the fact that I, too, had mental illnesses that were blocking my ability to be genuinely happy. By facing that, acknowledging it, I’ve realized that I am not the innocent princess I once thought I was. I’ve taken my blinders off and can see better now, although the brightness and clarity is sometimes overwhelming.

Marriage is tough. Communication, even more so. It’s hard to make sense of everything, especially when you’ve got “road blocks” in your head. You’ve got to find ways around them, and take your time and have patience to sort it out.


Matt and I, recently.

The most important ingredient in marriage is love, and the desire to get past any obstacles in your way…even if they are all in your head. Even if it’s hard. Nobody said it’d be easy. (And if they did, they were lying).

I wrote this piece upon the discovery of how I was adding to the stigma of mental illness by refusing to acknowledge my own. I also wanted to write an honest piece on marriage, and how it isn’t easy but it’s certainly worth it, and about how our mental illnesses come in to play in our marriage. When we took our vows, we meant the words we said…for better or for worse. We suck at communicating the majority of the time, but we are getting better. We are better than we were a year ago, and we’ll be better still in another year.


About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
This entry was posted in anxiety, blogging, challenges, depression, differences, discoveries, emotional, feelings, figuring it out, frustrations, growing, hard stuff, honesty, hopes, how we do, imperfections; perfections, insecurities, learning, love & marriage, love love love, marriage, Matt, me, musings, personal, real talk, realizations, stories, togetherness, tough stuff, uncensored, verbal diarrhea, words, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to It’s All In Your Head

  1. This is such a beautiful honest and brave piece. I am so proud of you for sharing your story. You are amazing.

  2. Paul Davis says:

    You two are truly blessed. Especially today, it’s hard to find someone who means those words. Someone who didn’t mean to say “I’m here until you get boring or are too much of pain.” Intrusive thoughts? I’m not sure I understand that entirely. From how you explained, I have it a little, my friend has it a lot, where everything is wrong. Every action is interpreted as “How are they out to screw me.” It’s very debilitating. 😦 Praying the meds work.

    • Jess says:

      Thank you so much Paul. And basically, that’s right about intrusive thoughts. I think things I don’t want to. That something is off or wrong when it isn’t, that people hate me or are judging me when they aren’t, that I’m not a good wife/mother/person because blah blah blah etc etc etc. It’s exhausting, too.

  3. Trauma Dad says:

    I really love this. I’ve just recently “come out” about my mental illnesses, and the support I am getting from friends is so strong. I didn’t expect that. I was so afraid and ashamed of myself before. But acknowledging that I live with what I live with feels like standing up for my basic right to exist. It feels like defying the stigma and claiming my place. It feels good to remind myself that this stuff isn’t actually my fault. I found admitting I had my mental illnesses to be so relieving. It was like, “okay, now at least people will understand that I’m not specifically trying to be strange and assholic sometimes.” (I think I just made up that word).

    • Jess says:

      Thanks for your comment Byron! It’s very freeing to stand up and say, yes…I have this. No it doesn’t define me but it is a part of who I am.

  4. Beautiful. Communication is hard, no matter how you slice it. Happy Valentine’s Day to both of you.

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