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The Tug-of-War in the Mind of Someone With Depression and Anxiety

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Social media is a constant and visual reminder of what I am missing out on (mostly thanks to my mental illness I would like to believe). I could take a break, as I have once before, and still know life is going on without me. I am thankful it has offered me immense support from friends near and far. For this reason, I probably will continue to stay; however, I am beginning to realize the immensity of things that I have been robbed of by my depression and anxiety. Parties. Dinners. Opportunities. My mental illness is amazing at magnifying these losses and keeping me ruminating about them.

I know there are so many people who are encouraging me to find the silver lining from the past two years. I am “happy” to acknowledge I have made new friends, strengthened so many relationships and started to learn so much about myself. However, this doesn’t minimize the losses that keep me up at night. If (and when) I use many of the skills I learned in therapy, I know that going down this path is not a good or necessarily safe idea.

That being said, my desire to be honest and open about the inner workings of my mind is where I’ve been the past week or two. Angry and pissed off. At my mind. At depression. At anxiety, especially the social one.

I have been wanting to be active and to be able to participate in everyday events with friends and family without incredible stress and apprehension. At the same time, I’ve been wanting to curl up on the couch, binge watching TV and pinning things on Pinterest, which is a real struggle. Recently, the couch has consistently won out.

There is a part of me that definitely feels like I’m missing out on life. For almost 40 years, the belief that I should not let life pass me by has kept me leaving the house and showing up to so many different things. I think that was a good thing. The past few years just surviving and starting to heal has taken precedence.

So now I have a game of tug-of-war going on in my head. On a daily basis. I am like a toddler who is exhausted and really wants to curl up in bed, while fighting valiantly to stay up and play. Yet, I don’t know where to put myself. At least, with the toddler, everyone around can see she is on the verge of a total meltdown.

So what is the answer? I do not know. That is part of the “fun” of mental illness. As much as those around me are empathetic and tell me they can’t understand what is going on in my mind, they usually have no idea I feel the same exact way, minus the empathy.

Starting today, I am going to try to work on this, again. Treating myself the way I would anyone else. Being hard on myself hasn’t gotten me anywhere recently. Whether I stay home or go out, it will be OK. I am wherever I need to be. I hope, and the war in my head continues.

Thanks to all who continue to cheer me on (in person, by phone and of course, via Facebook). I need it.

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: November 2, 2016
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