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The Difference Between Depression Days and Anxiety Days

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When anxiety and depression battle for dominance, the only loser is the host. They both win. They trade off minute by minute and at the end of the day, I can declare if it was depression or anxiety that was at the helm most of the time. I am getting better at looking functional, I think. Taking a half dose of anxiety medication in the morning and another at night is keeping the debilitating attacks at bay.

Its harder to write during depression days, and I feel like the words don’t flow as easily, they aren’t as pretty. It doesn’t feel like art, it doesn’t feel helpful, but it feels more necessary than ever to do.

I always wish to trade whichever type of day it is for the other, but it is so wearing. Anxiety used to be mania and I was hyperfunctional and I didn’t sleep and I got every little chore done, and I had something to show for my brain malfunction. It has been about seven years since it worked that way. Now, I am trading debilitating depression for debilitating panic. Is depression better? It can be full-body and it often is — it is sometimes impossible to get moving. Panic attacks are half-physical every time so I go down trying to control the physical symptoms. I guess using the probability that depression will let me keep moving, it is possibly better than panic.

I haven’t wanted to eat lately. It makes cooking for others harder. It feels like my anxiety is lying dormant in my stomach, taking up all the space, generating extra bile, waiting for its turn.

I think my brain is extra broken right now. The depression is felt full-time, but if I get completely distracted, I can forget how bad it is. Unfortunate that there is not a lot of distraction from depression. Just more depressing things to read, to hear, to take up space in my head.

My favorite thing that my brain does is that sometimes it uses its intrusive thought function typically reserved for making me feel suddenly frightened, and it’ll insert a song or idea that makes me ridiculously happy for a minute. I think those are my last molecules of serotonin unchained and deregulated flopping aimlessly through my brain.

I cannot connect.

Anxious days make me feel like I’m connected to everyone else’s pain in a visceral way. I’m so empathetically sorry for everything going on in the world that I can feel events in my bones.

Depression days, I cannot feel things, I cannot emotionally connect to the world around me, and then I feel like a monster. There’s a lot of shame in depression for me.

It’s furiously loud and quiet at the same time. Too many ideas, no processing power left. Too many thoughts to identify, too abstract to find a way to talk about, even if I felt connected to the world around me. Too much. I hope that talking to myself, to you, and to the void will somehow help.

So on days like this, if I can do basic things, I’ve won. If I can make myself type out a poorly worded blog for the sake of self-care and cook something for the other people in the house, I’m a fucking gold medalist.

Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

Originally published: January 28, 2021
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