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How Anxiety and Depression Have Taught Me to Live in the Present

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My journey with anxiety and depression has taught me a lot of different things. These things have one specific theme: enjoy the present moment.

For the past six years, this is something I haven’t done well. I still don’t do it well today. My anxiety and depression do everything they can to make sure my present moments are filled with nothing but worry and sadness.

My depression keeps me rooted in the past. It makes me think about what I could have done better in past situations I’ve been in. When I get in an argument with someone, I think about how everything that went wrong was my fault. That makes me think less and less of myself until I have very little self-worth. My depression tells me I don’t deserve to live in happiness because I have done so many things wrong in my past.

In the depths of my mind, I know that I don’t deserve to dwell in the past. I really do deserve all the happiness that I can find. That’s what mental illness does— it attacks me in the places that it knows it can get to me. It wants to take away any peace and happiness I have. Every single day is a fight to make sure that positivity and good emotions win, but some days, the negativity wins.

My anxiety wants to keep me rooted in the future. Don’t get me wrong, thinking about the future is an important thing to do. But for me, thinking about it consumes my thoughts every day and night and I feel like there is no right decision to make.

Recently, I got a job and an apartment — total big girl steps for me! Most people would be ecstatic, which I was at first. Then my anxiety began to take over. What if this isn’t where I’m supposed to be? What if my coworkers hate me? What if I do a bad job? These questions consumed my thoughts for at least three weeks before I started my job. I wouldn’t sleep at night because of it. Everything is great now that I’m working — all my fears were for nothing. However, there is always something to worry about in my mind.

Living in the present is something that is so hard for me to do because of my mental illnesses. It’s not impossible, but it is difficult. I have to find something unique about every day and set myself in that; like the other day when I went to lunch with my new coworkers for the first time — it was so great!

The present is something that I think we sometimes take for granted and it might be especially difficult for those who suffer from anxiety and depression. I think we have to take time and enjoy where we are. If we’re not satisfied with where we are, how are we going to be happy with where we’re going?

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Thinkstock photo via NataliaDeriabina 

Originally published: August 24, 2017
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