When Your Depression and Anxiety Are Like Evil Twins

Depression and anxiety aren’t just things I have, they are something I am.

These things are so much a part of me, some days it courses through my veins, reaching the farthest extremities of my body, taking over every piece of me.

It is in my being, but it is not my whole being.

Some days it rears its ugly head and other times I forget I even carry it with me.

You’ll note I refer to it as a singular unit. They are a pairing that are not separate to me. Conjoined twins, operating as one. They are like a tag-team on my brain. One often overpowers the other, but both are always present.

For those who have not experienced this, it is hard to comprehend. Even those who have lived closely with someone who has, it can still be a foreign concept. I’ve read a lot of articles and listened to numerous TED talks about the subject.

One talk mentions when someone breaks a bone, you can see it. You sign their cast, wish them well and feel bad for their pain. When you see a depressed person, you may not even know. And sometimes when you find out, you want to run the other way.

I would guess most people I know would be surprised to find out this is something I struggle with. I am an introvert, but outgoing. I love being with people and am generally a positive person.

The problem — and the good thing — is no one can see inside my brain. Yes, I made it to the party, but they don’t know I almost couldn’t talk myself out of my bed this morning. Or how I got overwhelmed just standing in my kitchen, thinking about what to make for myself to eat once I got out of bed. Or the inner dialogue once I’m there about how people don’t truly want me there or actually care.

I’ve been able to quiet these voices with good people who speak truth into my life. I’ve also quieted these voices by diving into constant social activity, overworking and overcommitting myself. Or other times with books, music, television or movies. When I’m focused on other things, the voices are still there, but they have to compete.

The voices want me to be quiet.

Recently, I wrote a lot about this topic. This writing was just for myself and no one will ever read it. In the midst of it, I wanted to write things that people would read.

I have been so inspired by those who have spoken out about their personal experience with mental illness. There are people who have been able to give me the words I didn’t know. The words to describe the feelings I didn’t know were capable of description. I felt they were standing beside me in my deepest sorrow and pain, saying “I understand.”

If I keep quiet, I may not be able to be the voice for someone else. I want to stand next to you and say “I understand.” I know it doesn’t feel like I do, but I do. I may not feel it like you do, but I feel it like I do. And I understand. There’s nothing I can say besides that.

I can’t make it better for anyone else. My words can’t do that, but yours can. All my words can do is give words to the feelings you don’t know how to explain, and hopefully this helps you along the journey of finding your own words. When you find those words, no matter what your circumstance, share them and be the voice for someone else.

Depression and fear want us to be quiet. Right now my fear is telling me putting all this information out there will make people think differently of me. It’s telling me my words aren’t perfect, and I could write all of this much better.

But truth tells me to share my story.

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