When Depression and Anxiety Speak
Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
When my anxiety speaks, it’s fast, incoherent and makes several interruptions. Consciously paying attention to my actual thoughts is exhausting. If I can make anything out in the chaos, I typically hear words like, “should,” “what if,” “hate,” “can’t” and “why.” When I choose to not consciously pay attention to the noise inside my head, I grind my teeth, clench my jaw, tighten my shoulders and try to move on with my day.
But some days, I can’t. Some days, I feel like I am falling into a pit of voices that all shame me, mock me and I feel helpless and terrified. Some days, I feel everything. Crying feels good though and it becomes all I know. I keep crying because it’s the only thing telling me I am alive. I am surviving by crying. There comes a point where I become angry. Self-harm comes into play. I want out of this mess, so I scream. I run out of tears. That is when I fall into depression.
When depression speaks, it whispers shame statements behind me. It’s like hearing your name behind you where you have to turn around and face the person talking to you. When I face depression, I sink. I sink into the pit and make a bed there. I feel numb and worthless, yet anxiety is still near by to make sure they aren’t done with me yet. Depression tells me lies. I will never change. I can’t change. There is no hope. There is self-harm, there is alcohol, there are a number of ways to feel. I desperately want to feel the intensity of this, but it’s so hollow. I am in a hallway with no emotion, just anxiety banging on the walls. I self-harm to document what is happening inside and to punish myself. I’m never really connected with myself when it happens. I feel alone. I feel like I am never going to make it. I feel “crazy.”
And then anxiety decides to obsess over one of those lies. I decided to obsess over the belief that I am “crazy.” I fear I am so “crazy” for all of this. My teeth grind more and I might start crying on the freeway. I might start crying in class.
Miniature versions happen every hour sometimes. Their intensity is the same, but masked behind smiles and business. The pull between the numb, hopeless words of depression and the jolting, pressure-shaming of anxiety make for exhausting days.
Today wasn’t much different, but I went outside. I felt the pull when I woke up this morning. Stronger than usual. I cried for an hour feeling like hope was gone. I went outside in the sun. I walked for two hours. I even ran a little bit. I breathed. I breathed again. I still listened to depression and anxiety. They didn’t completely go away. But I breathed through it. I survived. And sometimes that’s what we have to give ourselves. The affirmation that we survived one day.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo via opium_rabbit.