What I Want People to Know About My Life With Anxiety and Depression
I’m not shy when it comes to talking about mental health. I have been open about my own illnesses on numerous occasions and I have no shame in stating that I struggle with depression and anxiety, and that I have to take three pills every morning to feel like a functional human being. I often try to emphasize the importance of putting mental well-being first because it is something I believe is so, so important. But, to be completely honest, I suck at doing that. I talk about having depression and anxiety, but I never talk about experiencing it. And sometimes I need to talk about that for people to get that this is serious, for people to know better how they might be able to get through to me when I put my walls up. Sometimes I just need to start by admitting I’m a total wreck.
I live in constant fear of screwing up relationships. I live in constant fear that someone I love might die — that is, quite frankly, what initially triggered this mess inside my head. I have days when I’m far too vulnerable that being on a train full of people nearly causes an anxiety attack. Hell, it’s even worse if I know I’m on a train to school where I’m going to have one of my scripts read aloud because ohmygoodnessIsuckatwriting.
I have days when all I do is lay in bed because I’ve lost all energy and will to exist. I’ll stare at my ceiling while music blares in the background. Just standing up feels as though I’m facing Mount Everest.
I’m scared of being too emotional around people. I’m scared I might scare people away because I can’t get myself together. I’m scared that I’m ruining my own life. Some days, I’m scared to even feel. Because sometimes I feel things that I shouldn’t feel, that I have no reason to feel. Sometimes my emotions will be way too intense and I’ll blow everything out of proportion because all common sense and logic has fled my body, replaced by feeling and feeling only. My body is a fortress of sensitivity.
I get angry for seemingly no reason. I try to shut people out. I try to isolate myself. I convince myself that everyone will live better lives without me, that I should be the one to leave so they don’t ever get the chance to. I’d rather break a heart first if it means sparing my own, because God knows what it’s seen and felt already.
Some days I eat too much, but most days I don’t eat enough. People comment on my tiny appetite, but I can’t help it. I get anxious when people make comments about how little I’m eating, and that anxiety makes me feel sick — sick enough to lose my appetite completely.
My grandparents have seen me cry at a family gathering out of sheer stress. My parents and brother have seen me cry when I moved to a different city. My boyfriend has seen me cry when I wondered how on Earth I deserved his love. My best friends have seen me cry when I wanted nothing more than to stop existing. My reflection in the mirror has seen myself cry due to sadness, loneliness, fear.
I don’t know if my brain will ever go back to the way it used to be. I don’t think it will, honestly. It’s something I’m constantly fighting and constantly learning to live with. Somehow I’ve survived all these years. Somehow I’ve accomplished more than I realized and proved to myself that I don’t have to feel useless all the time. Somehow I’ve conquered my depression and anxiety time and time again, even if it’s only momentarily. Somehow I’ve gained a strength that allows me to live my life.
I’m in an on and off again love affair with life. That’s just how I live as a total wreck who paints a picture of an illusion. That’s how I live as an artist with a chaotic brain.
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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