When Depression and Anxiety Are Like a Highlight Reel of Your Worst Moments

Living with depression and anxiety is hard. I hear a lot of people who tell me and others just get over it. If it were that simple, I would have been cured a long time ago. I know some people think they’re helping by trying to motivate or drive those suffering, but I want to take a moment to describe what it’s really like.

Randomly during the day you have the crushing weight of all your failures hit you all at once. It’s like having a personal highlight reel of your worst moments set up in a compilation video playing through your brain over and over. Because of my great memory, my flaws and failures are branded and seared into my brain for me to remember. I still remember the time when I was 7 and I burnt my thumb on a hot iron right after my mother told me not to touch it. I was so scared I would be in trouble, I hid my pain and went to my friend’s house. Soon upon arrival my friend’s mother noticed my tears of pain and looked at my thumb. She was surprised my mother would send me down there without doing something about my thumb. She called my mother. It was no surprised that I was promptly sent home to both be healed and to be in trouble.

I tell this story because I’m still embarrassed about trying to hid it. I still have it in the back of my mind. I still remember the pain of my thumb on fire. It pops in my head about every other week to remind me of how I have failed. I live with that memory and every other mistake and failure I have done in my life. I wish I could stop those memories from drowning me and some days I do great.

Other days not so much.

And it’s not just your mistakes.

When something goes wrong with someone else, you react two ways. You question if you messed something up, even if you had nothing to do with it. You cannot stop wondering if you could have done something to help. The second way you react is you overreact by being overly sorry for what happened, even if you had nothing to with what happened. You try to comfort and help that person in such a way that you end up doing too much.

It makes for a hard time trying to deal with other people’s failures while your own failures play constantly in your mind.

It also makes you paranoid. You question everyone’s jokes and teasing. You’re observing everything and analyzing it. You wonder how much is true and what is a joke. You live in constant fear of what you say and how it could be taken wrong.

And this makes you tired.

You carry the weight of that around with you. The reason it’s hard to get out of bed for a person with depression is two-fold. First, you’re tired from carrying yours and everyone else’s burdens (even if they didn’t ask for it). Second, you know the only relief is sleep. Sleep because it is when you finally get a break.

It is hard to be depressed. It is hard living with anxiety.

I saw a post on social media that inspired this post and I want to share it now.


Fear. You live in constant fear.

“What if?”

The next time you see a person with depression or know someone who is depressed, take two seconds and think on these things. It could save a life.

#hugapony my friends.

Follow this journey on My Stuffed Little Therapy.

The Mighty is asking the following: For someone who doesn’t understand what it’s like to have your mental illness, describe what it’s like to be in your head for a day. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

To the Husband Who's Been Newly Introduced to My Depression

Dear Hubs, First and foremost, you are so stinking amazing there aren’t even words for how amazing you are. I am so thankful for you and I love you so much. I want to take some time to specifically thank you for being an awesome husband to me, even throughout my struggles. Which have now [...]

When You Need to Explain Depression to Your Kids

I think this is a really tough subject to cover. I’ve had to explain bereavement to young children, but because I’m not a parent, I haven’t had to explain my depression to a child. I have worked with young children for eight years, including some who had experienced some rough times and needed a lot of support. [...]

When Depression Sneaks Up on You

When depression hits you, it sucks the life out of you. It slowly takes away your desire to live. That doesn’t mean you always want to die. It just means you don’t care about work, friends or yourself. You don’t want to shower, brush your teeth or even do your hair. You may even wear [...]

When There's No Treatment Options for the Gray Area of Mental Illness

People assume mental illness is black and white. You’re either suicidal or you aren’t suicidal at all. You either have severe and debilitating anxiety and depression, or you’re a little bit anxious and depressed. There seem to be all sorts of resources for people who fall in the black and white categories of mental illness, such as hospitals [...]