The Shadows of Anxiety and Depression
They creep up quietly, these two shadows, which are completely opposite from each other. They follow each step I take, they managed to never leave, but some days they subside. The first shadow is telling me not to leave bed, but the second is rushing thoughts inside my head. It’s like pots and pans banging in my ears. They keep ringing, and I try so hard to make them stop. These shadows won’t let me alone, even when I feel isolated. I’ve lived with them so long that I feel lost without them.
No matter how fast I run or how far I may travel, they don’t leave. These shadows don’t even care that they are unnoticed by others or unwanted by me. I’ve gotten so close to them, they know the insecurities I have. No one else realizes I’m being stalked, hunted down each day by these. A simple smile hides a lot. Am I starting to become happy? Or have I gotten so good at faking it? They weren’t always this hostile.
It starts off by me struggling with simple tasks, while I try to ignore them. It’s kind of like a continuous headache that I remind myself over and over again will leave. I know it’s temporary because people always say bad days don’t last forever. So I get used to pushing through. There comes a task I have to do, but the problem never really leaves. These simple tasks start getting harder and harder. Yet if you looked at me on the side of the street, would you ever realize? See, you might think someone who is depressed or someone who has anxiety would look messy. That is not always the case. No matter how hard it is to wake up every morning, I dress nice, fix my hair, and do my makeup. This is my mask.
Days, weeks, months, years, go by. I’m still pushing, but I start to lose the excitement I use to have for certain activities. Sometimes I look outside and I can’t even see the beauty. I drift away from family and friends because the things that excite them don’t do it for me. Then I realize how much a gap is there, how far I’ve actually fallen. I feel so bad that I can’t see the beauty no matter how hard I try. Then when I find something or someone that makes me feel alive I hold onto them, until I eventually push them away.
I know I’m loved and wanted, but I feel like a bother most days. I can find happiness again, but I’ve gotten used to these two shadows. It’s hard for me. Most times I tend to dream about the past before I let this take over my life. I use to be free and could care less about opinions of me. It’s like I’m walking backwards through my life trying to find that little girl. I see everyone around me breathing and laughing, but it’s like I’m 10 feet underwater, yet no one sees.
There is hope for me and anyone struggling with mental illness. I’m strong, and so are others like me. I know I have to go through my darkest days to reach my brightest days.
I can sit behind a screen sharing my thoughts for millions of strangers, but most days I can barley face the world around me. I know there has to be a reason why I’m this way. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or sorry for people who struggle in the same ways I do. We don’t want to be played out like victims, but sometimes that’s how we
feel. Like what did we possibly do to feel this way? I don’t want to be a victim; I don’t want to be felt sorry for. I just want compassion for people who struggle with mental illnesses because they are a lot like physical ones, just harder to see. To anyone
struggling with any mental illness, it can get better. We just have to be ready to fight.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo by Charliestockis