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What I'm Really Feeling When I Apologize for My Depression and Anxiety

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I am sorry.

Those three words are constantly flashing through my mind like big fluorescent lights on a freeway telling you to stop and look at them.

I am sorry.

Those three words are on the tip of my tongue, ready to push past my lips anytime I interact with other people.

I am sorry.

I use that phrase so often that some days I forget who I am. I forget that I am Isabella. I forget I am a human being. I forget I am allowed to have emotions and reactions to life. And yet, I continue to say I am sorry. I am sorry that no matter how many times you reassure me, I still feel like a burden and continue to say those three words you have been dreading.

I am sorry.

I genuinely apologize for the fact I apologize profusely. I resent the fact that I say “I am sorry” to the point where you feel like you should be the one apologizing for making me apologize so much. I am sorry I have days where anxiety and depression take turns as the lead in their twisted production of my life. On those days, anxiety screams at me to apologize for not seeming OK while depression taunts me into apologizing for not being a whole, functioning human being.

I am sorry.

I say it again when anxiety yells I did the wrong thing and I need to make up for it. I force myself to use what little air I have left to say it as anxiety wraps her fingers around my throat and squeezes. I yell it when anxiety lights a fire that boils my blood and I lash out.

I am sorry.

I whisper it between sobs when depression murmurs in my ear that I am a waste of space. I wince as I say it, while depression has his claws sunk in my skin deep enough to strike bone. I scream it when depression uses my energy to fuel his fire.

I am sorry.

I cry it out in frustration when depression and anxiety tell me I need to apologize profusely, to the point where you wonder if I am attempting to apologize for simply existing.

I am sorry. I slur those three words when I drink too much liquor and you have to drive me home. I text you those three words when I feel insecure about the way our last conversation ended. I get defensive as I say it on the days where you notice my laugh is less frequent, less loud than it usually is. I tell you it through clenched teeth as I leave early because I am overwhelmed with the number of people closing in on me. I sob it out as I tell you I want to be alone because memories are threatening to destroy me and I wish I was fully healed. I mumble it as I explain that the verbal and emotional abuse from my bullies still affect my everyday life. I am sorry.

But most of all, I am not sorry.

I am not sorry for being a human being. I am not sorry for battling anxiety and depression, for having real emotions, for not always laughing the loudest, for not always being able to cheer you up, for not always reaching out to see how you are doing, because honestly, I am not doing so well myself. I am not sorry for the fact that I ask people to not use rape or sexual assault in their jokes because it forces me to relive mine. I am not sorry that sometimes I drink more than I should and have a good time. I am, however, sorry for saying that I am sorry when I am not.

If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

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Thinkstock photo via BalazsKovacs

Originally published: June 29, 2017
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