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When You Feel You Have No Reason to Have Depression or Anxiety

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I have a hundred reasons to be happy — hundreds of moments that should smear a giant smile all over my face. A hundred jokes and goofy things to laugh about. A hundred students — sweet, adorable bundles of joy — rushing at me. But their joy stops there. It doesn’t reach me. I see the joy on their faces, I hear it in their laugh; it’s that twinkle in their eyes, saying they’re up to no good. But I don’t react. I can’t react. I have no reason to react. I’m somewhere else. My body and my head are in two different places, and I’m not quite sure where my head is.

I have a hundred accomplishments looking me in the eye, but I can’t see them. My anxiety blinds me like the bright lights of a car heading your way, about to collide with you and wreak havoc. I have a hundred reasons to stay and keep working hard, but my anxiety says I should give up. I’m not doing anything anyway.

I have a hundred loving people surrounding me, supporting me and trying to help. A hundred family members and outstanding friends, right there. I can reach them with the push of a button, but I feel alone in this world. They’re there for me but I’m not able to call for help when I need it. I know they’re there but I can’t access them.

I have a hundred reasons to be calm. I’ve done everything that needed to get done, but I can’t calm down and rest. There is something I have to do. Somewhere I have to go. Someone I need to speak to. Something I have to say. But there isn’t anything to say or do or see or go to. It’s just my anxiety, making sure I don’t get a moment’s rest.

I have a hundred reasons to sleep soundly at night. A roof over my head. A comfortable pillow on my bed. A good book and a cup of tea. But no. My tired and weary brain can’t shut off. It torments me through the night, leaving me puffy eyes and a tired face, a tired self.

I have a hundred masks, a hundred cover identities — people I pretend to be so an outsider won’t notice what my brain is doing to me. A hundred different costumes for different occasions. Painful to put on, very convincingly realistic, but the roles are terribly hard to play. They manage to convince people but they don’t convince me. I know there’s a broken soul, a broken person hiding behind them, afraid to speak up and ask for help. Afraid of being discovered.

I have a hundred voices in my head, telling me I’m not good enough. Not kind enough. Not capable or competent. Not strong enough. Not composed enough. Telling me all sorts of awful things I don’t want to hear. But these voices are amplified, playing at the loudest volume and on a repeating loop. I hear them again and again and can’t escape their echo. Sometimes I can recognize they are voices of monsters inside of me, the demons that possess me. Other times, I can’t tell who’s talking. But it doesn’t matter if I know who’s talking because I hear it anyways. I can know what it is, shout and plug my ears, but I still hear it. The voices are there to remind me I’m not good enough. And they remind me time and again that they’re in control, not me.

But more than all, I have a hundred reasons to fight. A hundred students looking up to me. A hundred friends and family members rooting for me, and there to help me through my struggle. A hundred funny things to be laughed at, a hundred smiles waiting to appear across my face. A hundred voices to defeat and conquer, decimate and destroy. A hundred dreams to be dreamed while soundly asleep, enjoying every minute of the fantastic imagination.

So I will fight. I’ll fight again and again, even if I need to fight a hundred times. I will scream and yell at those voices. Try to yell louder than them. And sometimes the yelling won’t be loud enough, but sometimes I’ll hear it and get a little relief. A little peace of mind. A little bit of the old me back.

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Photo by Andreas Wagner on Unsplash

Originally published: May 4, 2018
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