Dear Anxiety, at 26 years old, meet Depression.
Anxiety, while you make my head feel busy and overwhelmed, Depression doesn’t like to think at all.
While you can make me get many things on my to-do list done, even when I am exhausted, Depression makes me too exhausted to move.
While you make me high energy, Depression makes me unable to get out of bed.
When you make everything fast paced, Depression makes everything feel like a dark, black hole I can’t escape from.
Anxiety, we’ve been lucky it has just been us two for so long. Eight years or so.
I know how to cope with you when you get out of hand. I know how to breathe. I know how to meditate. I know how to ground myself. I know how to channel you into a positive.
I don’t know what to do with Depression.
I don’t know what to do when I can’t get out of bed, or when I can’t go to work. I don’t know what to do when I cry all the time. I don’t know what to do when I feel hopeless and feel like everything has a grey cloud over it. I don’t know what to do when everything feels like a mountain to climb. I don’t know what to do when I don’t want to talk to anyone – or see anyone – or message anyone. I don’t know what to do when I start hearing from people, “I haven’t heard from you in a while and you haven’t been responding to my texts”. Except me wanting to say, “I’m sorry for being a bad friend, or niece or partner…but I just can’t today”. Because I can’t respond to that text. I can’t return that phone call. I can’t have a conversation today. I just can’t.
And I really don’t know what to do when both of you, Anxiety and Depression, happen at the same time.
At one time I feel overwhelmed but hopeless. I feel exhausted but like i’m spinning. I feel like my head is going to explode and all I can do is cry out of anger and frustration that my head isn’t working the way I want it to.
Dear Depression, i’m scared of you. You are the unknown. I’m scared that my friends won’t want to keep sending texts that go unanswered. I’m scared that if you get worse, I may have to enter world of medication. And i’m scared to go on medication. I’m scared of the process of finding the right medication and the finding right dose. I’m scared that if I go on medication, I won’t be me.
Depression, And you are making me not recognize myself when you take over.
I’m not the kind of person who sits in bed for hours and can’t see hope. I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t see value in myself. I’m not the kind of person who can’t motivate myself to do activities or to-do lists. I’m not the kind of person who lets her trauma become bigger than her. I’ve spent ten years working on becoming a happier, stronger me.
Then you come along.
Depression, I have had anxiety for many years and I have been able to manage it.
Even though I am scared of you – I will manage you too.
Just like Anxiety, maybe I will be able to learn coping mechanisms to deal with you. But, if this is something bigger than naturopathic remedies and coping skills, I know medication will be there. Some of us are more susceptible to mental illness based on our histories and genetics. None of this is my fault. I will manage you in a well rounded way and I will make informed decisions – just like I did with Anxiety. If medication needs to be a part of my journey with you, I will still be me and I will have support to walk beside me through it one step at a time.
I will see my doctor, I will see my naturopath, I will talk to my counsellor.
The friends and family I could not find the energy to text or call back, I have now opened up to about you. They all know about you now and will not let you take me over.
They have created a circle around me built with love, support and acceptance.
And guess what, that circle is bigger than you!
Depression, though i’m angry at you, you’re not all bad. In the short time that we have unfortunately met, you have already taught me things about myself.
You have taught me that while Anxiety likes to do many things at once, sometimes I can only manage one thing at a time. You have taught me to look at the moment – what can I do in that moment? Can I brush my teeth, make a coffee or text someone? Rather than looking at everything I have to do in the day. You have taught me that even though I have a to-do list, it won’t get done when you’re around, and I need to accept the dirty dishes in the sink or my laundry basket being full. Because I just can’t today. You are teaching me to accept that I sometimes need to ask for help. That I can’t always be strong. You are teaching me to reach out and ask people to care about me when I am at my lowest point.
Anxiety, meet Depression.
Maybe one day, we will all be friends.