To Anxiety and Depression, My Unwanted Intruders
Dear Anxiety and Depression,
You have become an all too familiar presence in my life. From the wave of incompetence that often washes over me as soon as I wake up, to the heavy ache that nuzzles itself beside me as I sleep – you are the unwanted intruders that force themselves into the comfort of my being. You haunt me with my own thoughts, and use my fears and insecurities against me. Time and time again, you feed me lies by telling me I am not worthy — that I am not good enough for success or deserving of love. Sometimes you even tease me by leaving for a short while — giving me a small glimpse of freedom — only to quickly return with new and more powerful tricks up your sleeve.
Together, you are the dichotomy that makes it absolutely impossible to get through even the most remedial of tasks. Anxiety, you keep me awake at night by preying on my paranoia, causing me to obsess over every stupid mistake I have ever made, and reminding me of all the things that I have not done. And all the while, Depression, you cast your cloud upon me by keeping me in bed all day, and tell me nothing matters anyway. This unrelenting battle in my mind puts me in a state of frantic melancholy – constantly sending me to the brink of “madness.” Learning to understand how to live with you is like learning how to live in a body that is not mine.
You are the wildfire that will stop at nothing to destroy every sign of life within its path, and I am the blackened remnant of a forest. Gasping for breath in oxygen-depleted air, I desperately cling to the slightest bit of life I can find. I fight to gain control over this. I will not let you win.
I will not let you win because you do not get to define how I live. You seek to kill quietly and without notice, but I will no longer sit in silence. I will speak up, because I am tired of feeling trapped within the confines of my own mind. I am tired of putting on this happy face, and pretending like I am OK.
But you know what?
It is in those moments when you make me feel helpless that I will continue to push forward and fight, because no matter how tight your grasp, how loud your screams or how hard your scratches may be, I know I am growing. Just like the flowers die in winter and learn to bloom again with spring, my soul is learning how to rejuvenate amidst this storm.
It is in the moments when I begin to retreat back into the darkness of isolation and when, despite my cries for help, I find familiarity in pushing away those around me that I will write and I will create. I will expose your haunting thoughts, and the debilitating lies you feed me because contrary to how you make me feel, I am not alone in this.
It is in those moments when I start to feel myself slipping into your fatal complacency, when I feel suffocated by the inner workings of my own brain that I will choose to be joyful. I will choose to be inspired rather than to be defeated. I will choose to be kind to myself. I will choose to love on those around me, and I will choose to put my hope and my identity in my God.
I know it won’t be easy, and I know some days will be harder than others, but it is in this simple declaration where a new page will be turned. This is me reclaiming my body, my mind and my spirit. This is me choosing to no longer be a prisoner to you. This is me beginning to set myself free.
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Unsplash photo via Allef Vinicius.