Living with Depression and Anxiety
The club that anyone can join but has a way of making you feel like the only member.—Jake Tyler
I have had depression and anxiety since I was 16 years old. I was able to keep it at bay until I was 21.
I listen to all the TED Talks I can find on anxiety and depression because it helps me understand myself and makes me feel like I am not alone in my journey. Most of my friends do not understand what it is like to live with anxiety and depression. A lot of them live by the understanding that it is just sadness and that all you need to do is think positive and be happy.
In a TED Talk I listened to not that long ago the speaker (Andrew Solomon) said that:
"the opposite of depression is not happiness, it is vitality."
When it is put that way it makes more sense. It's not that you're sad, it's not that you're unhappy, it's it that you have no motivation to do anything. When hanging out with friends, it feels like absolute torture. When you see a text message on your phone you would rather turn your phone off than respond. But your anxiety doesn't want you to turn it off because you don't know when an emergency is going to happen.
I heard in a TED Talk or read in an article the following.
"When you have depression you know that it is not logical to have depression, but you do anyways."
This is true. I have friends. I don't have a lot, but I have friends who care. I have a job, it isn't the best job, but right now it is better than nothing. I shouldn't have depression, but I do. I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. I take medication, but it doesn't mean every day will be perfect. I am in a slump of bad days right now. It feels like the meds aren't working and I am pushing myself, constantly fighting myself, and I am tired.
I have anxiety. The root "lie," as some people may call it, my anxiety tells me is that I am unloved. I am not cared about. People don't like me, or love me, or want me around. That I am broken and everyone wants to fix me because no one wants to love me as I am. I am not good enough. I am never enough. I should never let anyone in. I should be all alone. In my corner or anxiety and depression all by myself.
Inside those layers of fear and anxiety, there is a scared little girl. A girl who doesn't want to get hurt. A girl who is just trying to protect herself. A girl who is afraid that people will get too close and run away because the depression and anxiety are too much to handle. Someone that when people have been around too long, she starts to get ready to run, because people are going to learn about all the broken parts. The insecurity, the self-injury, the eating disorders, and leave.
She is tired of getting hurt, so she starts running when people start breaking down walls. She is tired of running but is too scared to stop. But when she stops, she starts pushing people away. The walls are safe the walls are secure, the walls protect her from getting hurt.
This is just a piece of the internal struggle of the anxiety that floods my mind. I try hard to fight it, but sometimes its hard to fight yourself. Sometimes it is just easier to let the anxiety and depression take over and run away, far away, so that I can be safe.