What I Need From You as a Person With Anxiety and Depression
Dear people who do not live with anxiety and depression,
I do not expect you to understand. I know you perhaps don’t know what it’s like to question everything — every decision, every single thing you’ve said, every facial expression. I know you don’t know what it is like to wake up so exhausted every single day, to go through life with what feels like an invisible weighted blanket on top of you. I know it is hard to fathom the never ending barrage of doubt and self-hatred, and the ever-nagging question of whether the people who tell you they love you actually do. I don’t expect you to know what it’s like to lie awake every night, compulsively thinking over every moment and every detail of your day, only to then begin thinking of the interactions with the people during that day, to then start thinking about all the other interactions you’ve ever had with those people, and so on and so forth until you only have three hours to sleep before you start your day again.
I don’t want you to know these things. I don’t want you to feel the sadness that feels like a black hole in your chest slowly sucking all of you inward, to the point of worrying about completely losing yourself in it. I don’t want you to know how it feels when people who claimed to love you throw your illnesses in your face to hurt you. I don’t want you to know how it feels when someone you gave a portion of your heart to, for them to keep safe and love, tells you that you’re “crazy” and you clearly can’t be successful in life.
I don’t expect you to understand how I feel or what my life experiences are. I don’t wish for you to understand, because for you to understand, it means you also live with it. And I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
What I would like is a simple acknowledgment that you and I live (and love) differently — that there is something that makes us not the same, beyond what you can see. I know it is difficult to understand what you cannot see. I know you are only taking my word on how daily life is a struggle. I know you also have struggles, and feel anxiety, and feel sad or down.
I know it is asking a lot for you to just give me the benefit of the doubt that I am doing the best I can. I know it is frustrating because you are perhaps capable of handling situations with more grace and with more control and calm than I. But I ask you to have patience. It is like you are a sea turtle and I am a land turtle; we are both turtles but our capabilities are different. I am what I am and I can do what I can do. Just because you are made differently — wired differently — does not mean I can be forced into being like you.
Know I do cherish any laugh I have, any smile I make, any moment where just for a second the weight of anxiety and depression is slightly lessened.
Please just love and accept me, though I am different from you. I need that love, I need that acceptance, more than I could ever verbalize to you. More than you could ever know.
Me, who lives with anxiety and depression
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