Living with Depression
Dealing with depression and anxiety can leave you feeling exhausted. We are not selfish or looking for drama, we are just dealing with life in a different way than you are. It’s not an excuse, it’s about survival. What are we trying to survive? Being trapped in our own heads.
First off: What is the difference between anxiety and depression? How can you tell the difference between them? Well here is my understanding of it:
Anxiety is a tightness: be it in your chest or head or heart, it’s a fear of the external, it’s a shortness of breath, it’s an anticipation of what is ahead or what is happening. It’s sweating and feeling anxious, it’s not being able to go out and feel comfortable socializing, it’s a fear of judgement or being rejected. It’s about not fitting in. It’s like living in a hyper state and not knowing how to calm your mind. It’s a heightened fear.
Depression is a darkness: It’s a heavy fog that sits all over your body, from heaviness in your head to your heart to your legs. It’s not having the energy to live as you should be living, it’s dragging yourself through the day. It’s having absolutely nothing to say to anyone and it’s about having no energy to even try. It’s about hiding yourself away and not being able to even answer your phone. It’s about not being seen, being low and a lot of self-loathing. Not feeling good enough, or worthy enough. It’s a feeling of letting others down and constantly searching for answers, why are you here and what is your purpose?
“Living with either of these diseases is horrible, living with both can be excruciating”
Good, great, bad and terrible days make up our lives. We appreciate the great days and we live in fear of the bad. Always a little on edge. Will how I feel right now last a lifetime and if so how can I keep going. Small things can be a big-deal, big things can be a small deal. Understand it’s not about drama, it’s just our brains are wired differently to yours. We need assurance and reassurance, we need support but we need freedom, we need understanding but we need to be challenged. We are always sorry but we need your forgiveness.
Don’t tell us we have nothing to be depressed about, it makes us feel worse for letting you down. We already know we have so much to be happy about and that only makes us feel worse. Don’t tell us there are plenty of people much worse off than we are, we already know this. Don’t tell us to smile more or just cheer up, we feel like punching you in the face for that one (we won’t) don’t say that others would kill for how you ‘look’ my internal happiness is not based on whether I am a ‘pretty girl’ ffs don’t be so shallow, I have a little more depth about me than that.
Don’t get annoyed if we ask you where you are, it’s not about knowing your every move, it’s a reassurance simply in the knowing. Don’t get annoyed if we don’t answer the phone or text back straight away, we really want to but sometimes it takes all of our energy just to muster up that interaction. Don’t get annoyed if we cancel you on short notice, we have probably been through the absolute mental ringer but came to the end conclusion that we simply couldn’t pull ourselves together to leave the house, we are annoyed enough at ourselves for not being able to go.
There are different levels of anxiety and depression and although we are doing our best to cope with whatever level of this disease we have we are still the same person. We know it does not define us even if there are days where we allow it to do exactly that. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for even though there are days where we most certainly do not feel strong.
We know exercising and eating good food will help us even though there are days where we can barely get dressed. We are aware, we are so aware in fact of all of it, we are aware of how we should feel, how we should act, how we should react and what we should do. There is nobody more aware than what we are, we see it and we feel ALL of it. We are analysts in all areas of our lives, we are always questioning things and our brains are always processing and thinking and coming to conclusions about absolutely everything.
How we ‘should’ react and how we ‘should’ feel is right up there sitting on the top of our heavy heads. It’s the ‘should’ that drags us down even more. We know how we should be and we know that it is difficult to be around us when we are dealing with this disease. We are screaming on the inside WISHING we were normal, we really do want to be more like YOU. We would love nothing more than to feel like you feel but we don’t.
We are so thankful that you are in our lives: We probably don’t say it enough because we can be blinded by trying to deal with ourselves and we may even seem a little selfish at times but we really are thankful and we really do appreciate you, we just can’t say the words sometimes because there are times when we can’t even speak at all. You matter to us, you are part of our safety blanket even if you don’t say anything at all the fact that you are just there matters to us. Never underestimate the help you are giving by letting us just be ourselves without judgement, sometimes your silence is exactly what helps us get through it.
Living with anxiety and depression is hard but we can live with it, we can love, we can work, we can do anything and everything that everyone else is doing. We might ask more questions of others and we are most certainly asking more questions of ourselves but we are here, we are trying and we are coping because this is a very real part of life for quite a lot of people.
There are so many people dealing with this very real disease every single day of their lives and as a nation we need to have a better understanding of this disease and how to support and help those who are going through it. it’s about acknowledging it exists and recognising what you can do to help or support those around you that you know are trying to cope.
If you are the one that is going through it then make sure that on those good days that you give thanks to those who have helped you through the bad ones.
Remember, there are support groups out there that can help you so don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Recognising that you need help is a sign of strength not weakness. You do not have to go it alone, the more we talk the more we learn the more we grow. Embrace who you are, stop hiding and stop pretending. Once you can do that, admit that you need help, even if just to yourself it becomes much easier to lean on others and get the help and support you need.
You never know what other people are going through in their lives no matter what they may portray out there so just be kind, don’t judge, be mindful and be aware, if nothing else that will make YOU a better person.
For help please contact:
Your local GP