When Anxiety and Depression Gang Up on You

When people hear that I have both anxiety and depression, I’m often met with confusion. One day I’m running round, getting stuff done and the next I am unable to motivate myself to even brush my teeth.

They are like bullies on the school playground. Two bullies — one named Anxiety and the other named Depression — are throwing my mind between them. No matter what I do to try and recapture it, I can’t reach — I’m so small — so insignificant.

Anxiety bounces me around, fills me with nervous energy and the need to do or risk certain failure. I overthink everythingdo I even have friends? Why would they want to be friends with you? I don’t sleep. My heart races and I’m reduced to a weeping mess on the floor.

Depression deflates me, I’m devoid of any of my key characteristics. All the anxious questions are met with the answer of “It doesn’t matter.” My mind fills with thoughts like: I’m worthless. Why should I get out of bed? I won’t do anything worthwhile. Why should you seek help? You’re not worth saving. Everyone would be better off without you…

It’s a constant struggle. I can oscillate between these two extremes several times a day which is incredibly exhausting. I’ve heard people say they feel like their mental illnesses are fighting each other, but I very much feel as if they gang up on me – taking it in turns to torture me in different ways.

So how do you stop the bullies? I’ll be honest — sometimes you can’t. But other times, something or someone can come along and lift you. It can be a certain song or film or kind words or even just getting a good night’s sleep. When I’m lifted I can reach out and grasp hold of my sanity myself. I can care for it and blocks out the anxious thoughts and the depressing drone. I can be kind to myself and give myself some very much needed self-care.

It’s true that these days can be few and far between and on certain days I don’t even try to regain control of my sanity — I let anxiety and depression do what they want — and that’s OK. I pick my battles and I fight when I am able to. I still haven’t got it all figured out and I don’t think I ever will. The bullies will come back, but the main thing is that I’m still going to get up when they push me down.

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