It is no secret that life hasn’t been easy lately or for awhile. This isn’t about that. This is for all of the people who are still here despite that. To give some background, I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety more than a year ago. Once you have that combination, it never fully “goes away.” The best way I can explain it is by saying they are like long distance friends who you hopefully don’t have to see often. When you do see them, they stay with you.
Usually, they overstay their welcome. It is exhausting, mentally and physically, to keep up with them. They steal things from you. They might keep you confined to your house. They might tell you not to get out of bed. They might keep you awake all night telling you embellished stories that aren’t true. They might make you sleep the day away.
They are enough to take your appetite away, but they might also tell you to eat everything in your house. They make you over-analyze every situation you find yourself in. Anxiety tells you to worry about everything. Depression tells you to care about nothing. They will rip you in half if you let them.
I’m lucky. I bet you never thought you’d hear that after a description of a normal day in my head, but I am. I have people pushing me back together in both directions, when these terrible friends of mine try to play tug-of-war with my soul. If love alone could make this all go away, then I would be healthy again. I’m sad to say it doesn’t, but it does help.
You see, sometimes, my brain lies to me. On the days when I get weak and listen to it, my brain seems to scream the lies. I talk to the ones whom I love and the ones who love me. They calm me down enough for me to tell my brain to shut up.
I was talking to my dad yesterday about how bad I was feeling and how I wasn’t sleeping well. He could hear in my voice how low I felt. We went through a list of things I could do (one that we have memorized by now) to start to reclaim my life again. By the end of the call, my heart felt a little lighter.
This took years for me to figure out. It took years for me to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’ve simply been strong for too long. Even professional weightlifters can’t do a thousands reps without feeling tired.
You might know someone who is going through something similar. Help them. Call them. Message them. Tell them you love them and the world needs them. This is not a “way of thinking” that can be turned on and off. Depression and anxiety does not come from not having gratitude for the things you have.
It doesn’t mean they are selfish. It doesn’t mean they are lazy. It doesn’t mean they can start “thinking happy thoughts” and it will go away. It does mean you need to help them. Everyone fights their own battle that others know nothing about. Battles are won by many people working together, not just one. I am so thankful I don’t fight alone.
“You have incredible people in your life who love you.” I say this to myself during my morning affirmation before I get out of bed. It includes many more sayings about being strong and confident. Most days, those are more difficult to say. The phrase above has never been difficult to say. It comes out of my mouth without hesitation.
To the people who haven’t given up on me, I know you wish you could take it all away. I know you worry. I wish everyone who has these illnesses had people like you. This world would be a better place. Your kindness does not go unnoticed. Your love does not go unfelt. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
This story was published on The Mighty, a platform for people facing health challenges to share their stories and connect.