ink sketch of crying girl looking at bleeding heart shape

Why Love Can't Save Me From Depression and Anxiety

3k
3k
7

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.

I’m loved and adored — of this, I’m sure — by my family, my friends, mentors, teachers… they remind me of this fact daily. I’m beloved by God, and I’m dearly loved even when I don’t feel like I am.

But knowing I’m loved is not enough to make my depression go away.

Love is not enough to make me not anxious about the future, the past or the present. As much as I would like for love to be enough to cure me of all my ailments — mental, physical and emotional — it’s just not.

Love was not enough when panic attacks kept me up every night for three months.

Love was not enough when I cried nightly in fear I wouldn’t wake up the next day — when I refused to sleep in fear I’d die before I woke up in the morning.

Love wasn’t enough all the times I’ve thought the world would be better off without me.

Love wasn’t enough when depression grabbed hold of me after quitting student teaching, or in middle school when I was drowning in fear and apathy and loneliness.

Love wasn’t enough when I felt alone in a crowded room.

Love wasn’t enough to save me from me.

There are so many times I’ve wanted love to be enough. No need for counseling or medicine or vulnerability required when friends ask how I’m really doing. If the love of my friends and family was enough, I’d never struggle with this crap. But it’s not.

Love isn’t enough for anything else; we can’t love physical illness or injury away. We can’t love mental illness away either – it’s not called illness for nothing.

If love were enough, I wouldn’t be anxious about my next chapter, no matter how excited I am for it.

If love were enough, I would not spend my nights terrified of having more panic attacks. I wouldn’t pray for God to wake me up the next morning because I’m unsure if I will or not, and it scares the living daylights out of me.

If love were enough, I’d never have to worry about the feelings of hopelessness or loneliness or darkness that surface when I’m struggling. They’d never appear because love triumphs over those things — but not when your brain works against you.

If love were enough, I’d never have to take medicine to fix the chemicals in my brain that try to convince me to self-destruct. Every. single. day.

If love were enough, the voices in my head that tell me I’m not enough or forgotten or unworthy would never interfere with the voice of God’s, calling me beloved and welcomed and wanted.

But love isn’t enough for me to overcome this hell on my own. I can’t love my broken brain into healing. Love helps. Love heals parts of me. But it doesn’t fix. It doesn’t cure.

Love – and being loved – is an incredible thing, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not enough to save my life.

I love that people love me – without it, I wouldn’t be me. But it’s not what makes me better.

I have other things (like medicine and therapy and sharing my story) to fight for with me. I have strategies and plans for when my anxiety goes haywire and I don’t know where to turn. I have friends I can call or text when things get muddled by the darkness and I begin to feel lost. I have God to lean on and cry out to, even when that involves me screaming and crying about why this is what’s been given to me to struggle through.

The last thing I need someone saying to me is: “oh, but you’re so loved, how can you be depressed? You have so much going for you, how can you be anxious? How can you be depressed when you’re so loved?”

I am so loved. I do have a lot going for me right now. But that doesn’t mean anything to my mental illness. I could be in the happiest time of my life and it would still steal my joy (and it has). It doesn’t care about what’s going on or who I am or how loved I am.

It’s a thief that steals and kills and destroys. It’s a liar that makes me believe what it says, no matter what other voices say.

And it doesn’t care one bit about how loved I am because it will do everything in its power to make me feel as unloved and useless as possible.

Love is not enough. It will never be enough for me to save myself.

But I sure do wish it was.

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

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 “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via berdsigns

3k
3k
7

RELATED VIDEOS

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

What It's Like to Experience Depression and Rapid Mood Swings

2k
2k
12

It starts off so innocent, like the smell of the earth before it rains.

“I feel fine, I feel OK, I feel content.”

But I know how you really feel.

I know the heaviness that creeps over your body when you lie down at night. I know the thoughts that start to linger in your mind when you first wake up.

I know you feel restless, like nothing you do pleases you anymore, and you lack the motivation to do the things you used to love.

I know you’re tired from a long day of nothing and start falling asleep at 8 p.m. I know the impatience, the irritability, the anger that comes over you. Everything seems so difficult. Every little task seems like a big deal, and every bump in the road seems like a mountain on your path. So, you ignore it. You do things to take your mind off it. You spend money, you write, you try to distract yourself from the truth of what’s to come.

You run from it, and you run for months.

Then all of a sudden you wake up, too tired to run anymore, and lie in bed thinking of everything and nothing all at once. And then the thoughts creep in.

“You’re nothing. You’re worthless. You’re a failure. You’re a horrible person. You deserve this. You’re a disappointment. You’ll never amount to anything. You should feel guilty. No one understands. You’re alone.”

Then one day you wake up, brighter than the morning sun.

How can one go from lying in bed all day to being so excited and joyful?

I know it by the sound of your voice, from singing little tunes, that it’s going to be a good day. You’re chatty and social. You want to go out and have fun. I know you think you’re this outgoing and confident, but you’re really not.

You do your makeup all nice, you get ready, you want to talk to people and do things. I know you think you really feel this way, that people are just trying to “kill your mood,” but darling… it’s not you. You’re an introvert; you get tired of socializing, so how come all of a sudden you’re laughing and joking and doing all these things you wouldn’t normally do? It’s a false sense of confidence, and secretly it makes you feel so good to know you are finally happy again.

So you go out, spend money, write a book, start a blog, open a shop — all these things you get your mind stuck on, that you can’t get out of your head. So many you get distracted by the next and you can’t keep up with your thoughts because they keep popping in and out.

And then, like a sudden crack of thunder without notice, the rain pours again; the fun you once has gone so quickly it’s like it happened years ago.

This is what I go through.

This is my life with rapid cycling mood swings.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Zinkevych

2k
2k
12
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Vector illustration of the two similar girl, proud girl and kind girl

When Mental Illness Convinces Me My Friends Hate Me

7k
7k
40

Hello/Hi/How are you?

You tell me we’re friends. You tell me you love me — that you enjoy my company. You tell me you like talking to me. We’ve been friends for a numbers of years, and we’ve shared countless memories. But my head says different. My head says you feel sorry for me. My head says you don’t love me, you pity me instead. It says you don’t enjoy my company, you actually despise it. My head tells me you can’t stand our conversations, and although we have all these memories, they don’t have any value. It’s not because I don’t love you — because I do. I love our friendship, I love all our times together. But my head does this because deep down I don’t find myself worthy of your friendship. That’s because my head doesn’t allow me to love myself.

Call it anxiety, call it depression. I know it’s stemming from an issue with my mental health. I know these thoughts and fears of you not loving me are deceitful. It would be ridiculous to think you’d go through everything with me just because you hate me. You have proven your worth to me. I see you, I respect you. But I can’t fight these thoughts the second you miss my call, you ignore my text, you screen me. I can’t stop feeling this way when you don’t laugh at my jokes or want to see me. You can’t be there for me all the time, and that’s reasonable. When my head gets like this though, in full on panic/paranoid mode, I can’t stop thinking it’s because you don’t love me.

Still, despite my fears and doubts, I know you love me. I know if you knew I felt this way it would make you sad, it would make you want to help me. You’ll reassure me a hundred times, but I’ll need reassurance one hundred and one times. You’ll tell me it’s OK, but I need to hear it’s great. When I get this way, I feel needy. I need you to tell me we’re fine. I may even act different around you. It will be aggravating, to try to get me to come out of my shell again and again. Sometimes these feelings may get repetitive and annoying. But your reassurance fills me with optimism. Every promise you make is attacking these negative thoughts I’m having.

Having a mental illness sucks, I’ll put that in simple terms. But one of the most challenging parts of having a mental illness is doubting my friendship with you. I recognize what we have, and I don’t want to lose you. I want to take selfies, and go exploring. I want to go on friend dates and have craft days. I can be an amazing friend — just remember sometimes I need a little extra TLC to get through my gray days, and I promise eventually I’ll come shinning right back.

With hope and love,

Your Friend With a Mental Illness

Follow this journey on Taylor Nicole.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via marzacz.

7k
7k
40

RELATED VIDEOS

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Why Mandy Harvey's Song 'Try' Is My Depression Anthem

226
226
0

Mandy Harvey is an “America’s Got Talent” gold buzzer winner. She lost her hearing when she was 18 years old. She wrote the song “Try” as a way to keep her spirits up despite not being able to hear. When I first heard the song, I broke out into tears. I was extremely suicidal at the time and this song was the only thing that made me stop and think that I could keep trying no matter what happens. The song gave me the hope I had lost and made me want to keep living. While I’m not sure whether Mandy was trying to suggest struggling with depression, I find that it greatly applies to the lyrics.

Mandy’s first line is “I don’t feel the way I used to/ The sky is gray much more than it is blue/ But I know one day I’ll get through.” I find that this relates to depression because when I am depressed, I spend a lot of time thinking negatively and it feels like there is a dark cloud following me everywhere I go. But sometimes, there is a little bit of hope that I will get through it to the other side and feel better again someday. To hear this sort of thing acknowledged in a song is rare and completely relatable to me, and I’m assuming might be for others who struggle with depression. It is also remarkable because I find that many songs do not hit the nail on the head the way that “Try” does.

Mandy goes on to sing, “So I will try/ So I will try/ I don’t love the way I need to/ You need more and I know that much is true/ So I’ll fight for our breakthrough and I’ll breathe in you again.” This line could be taken in two different ways. The “you” Mandy is referring to could be herself. She could be trying to say that it’s important, yet difficult, to love yourself and to be who you really are when you’re struggling with depression. I know that this is true for me. When I don’t feel good about my life, I don’t feel good about myself. However, the “you” could also be someone else in her life who is struggling to love because they do not feel well themselves. When I am depressed, I tend to isolate and not give others the love they deserve. I can be nasty toward family and friends because I don’t feel good.

Other powerful lines I found in the song were: “There is no one but me to blame ‘cause I know the only thing in my way is me/ I don’t live the way I used to/ That whole picture never came into view.” These lines are powerful, yet I find them a little trickier, as they do not quite acknowledge the fact that mental illness can get in the way. What I find most relatable is that I think we do have the power to take control of our illnesses and lead healthy and productive lives. This is why it’s important to seek help and treatment if you’re struggling. I was once told, “It is like you have a broken arm in your brain.” I agree with this, because broken bones do heal. If we don’t take care of ourselves, then we are in our own way. There was once a time when those struggling with depression were happy and had dreams they believed they could achieve. Depression can rob so much life from a person, that it can be hard to feel successful or like you’re moving forward. That is why I will reiterate how important it is to seek help — to care for the broken arm in your brain.

Whether it was Mandy’s intention or not, the song is a sort of anthem to my depression. It speaks for depression and allows me to feel validated and perhaps even understood. Someone with depression could listen to this song and think “this is totally me.” And I will be completely honest with you; when I first heard it, I cried and realized that it’s worth it to keep trying and to live my life. This song literally saved my life. I hope this song is as powerful to others as it was to me.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

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 “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead image via America’s Got Talent YouTube channel

226
226
0
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

15 Responses to 'Depression Isn't Real' You Can Use When People Doubt Your Mental Illness

622
622
7

Andrew Tate, a kickboxer and former cast mate of “Big Brother UK,” tweeted on Sept. 7 that “depression isn’t real” to over 26 thousand followers.

This tweet was just the beginning of a series of tweets, including his opinions about how people with depression are “too lazy to change,” and how depression is used as an excuse to “absolve responsibilities.”

We, of course, know this isn’t true — and that statements like these add to the stigma surrounding mental illness. People, including celebrities, have since spoken out against Tate’s tweets. Their responses might be useful if people doubt your mental illness, too.

What response would you add?

622
622
7
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

8 Lies Depression Makes Me Believe About Myself

136
136
0

I have chronic anxiety and depression. I am 68. The prednisone I have to take for asthma sometimes has a huge impact on my mental health. It tips me into deep depression. At least I know why I am feeling so low.

When this happens, I think dreadful things about myself. I need to not believe my thoughts. My thoughts become more and more morose as I slip into depression. It’s like a big black hole that is a whirlpool that drags you downwards and doesn’t let you out!

These are some of the things I think about myself when I am severely depressed. These are the thoughts I need to stop believing.

1. I am useless.

No, I am not useless. This is my depression talking to me! It is the same way as how the bottle talks for the alcoholic. I can no longer do the things I used to do.  Some days I can do very little at all. But that does not me I am useless. My chronic illness has resulted in me having to change the way I live my life.

2. I am “stupid.”

No, that just isn’t true. I am an intelligent woman who successfully worked in a profession. Anyone can have depression and this has nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence or common sense.

3. I am worthless.

Society sets such high value on wealth and acquiring things. It holds these things in esteem. I don’t actually value wealth and things. Worth is not linked to healthiness either. My worth isn’t from extrinsic things. It is based on the inside qualities I have such as kindness and compassion. Being chronically ill does not define my worth as a human being.

4. I am just a burden.

It is hard to have to ask for help and to accept that I need to do this. This doesn’t make me a burden. Being ill is a part of life just as all he fun and enjoyable parts are. Illness can be difficult. I would not hesitate to be my husband’s carer so why believe he doesn’t feel the same way? Depression grabs this thought to just take me deeper into that black hole.

5. Things are hopeless.

No. I won’t ever be cured, that’s what chronic means. But life is still good. Again, this is rampant depression trying to undermine me. 

6. What is the point of constant drugs and medical help?

This thought is itself pointless! My illnesses require the help of modern medicine and I have much in life for which to be grateful. It sometimes feels like a bit of a merry go round. Life without my medication just wouldn’t be possible! So this thought is ridiculous! 

7. No one cares.

Don’t believe this one! This one is depression at its worst. This one can be really destructive. I can make a long list of people who care deeply. 

8. I can’t do anything.

No. There are many things I can do and still do. Yes, things have changed, and yes, there are some things I can no longer do. But life is a continuous series of changes. Depression’s thoughts are always so negative! Another thought to be rejected. 

I am not my thoughts. Depression produces thoughts that try to take over and the thoughts are extremely unhelpful. My thoughts are sometimes totally untrue. They can produce awful feelings if I don’t challenge them. I need to remember to not believe everything I think.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Angelina Litvin.

136
136
0
TOPICS
, Contributor list
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Real People. Real Stories.

8,000
CONTRIBUTORS
150 Million
READERS

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.