I want to start off by saying this is my opinion. I am not some expert who knows the cure or has the answers and this is definitely not some cry for help. I don’t need any support to get me through any rough patches. I have all the support I could ask for. I am writing this because I know there has to be more people out there that feel the same way, and I want them to know that they are not alone. They NEED to know they are not alone.
I wrote this because I want my readers to know that anxiety and depression is normal. Every single one of us has self-defeating thoughts every single day. Some people deal with certain experiences very differently. Sometimes these thoughts take up all of our bandwidth and we start dragging. Sometimes we fall deeper into the slump because we can’t even figure out why we feel the way we do. Then we think something is wrong with us. The truth is, most of the time there is absolutely nothing wrong with us at all. The problems we are facing often times aren’t even real. I, myself, have crippling depression every other week it seems like. I have only been writing on this post during those low times. It has been so I can convey exactly how I’m feeling. So you can read the words and feel where they came from. I won’t talk about things I don’t understand, so I decided to only talk about it when I understand it the most. Even still, I won’t ever understand how everyone is dealing with the things going on in their lives. Many times I look at people who are depressed and wonder why. Other times I look at them and understand exactly what is going through their heads. So without further ado, here is my being super depressed:
What is it like to feel depressed? What is this scary thing people are calling anxiety? Well I can tell you that it is real and it is scary. It’s feeling helpless. Feeling useless. Feeling like something is wrong with you because there are people who deal with a lot more and seem to be doing fine, so why do you feel this way? Why can’t you handle more? You want to be successful in your life and know to get there you are going to have to handle a lot more than this! What if you can’t handle more? What if you never become successful because you don’t have it in you? You’ll let your family down… You’ll let your future kids down… You’ll let yourself down…
What’s worse is this anxiety actually destroys the things that keep anxiety away. You become more forgetful, which leads to more problems. You lose sleep, and you start waking up later. Now you are late to work every day and you don’t bring the energy you could before… You start letting people down. Your boss starts coming down on you. Or if you are the boss, you start letting your employees down. Forgetting to give them the day off they’ve been asking for for months. Not fulfilling promises you’ve given. Becoming inconsistent. Now you’ve lost trust that is so important when you are supposed to be a leader.
That inconsistency causes problems in your business, your relationships, your school work, and all your others goals. You are less productive. You don’t even know why. You just aren’t able to produce what you could even a week ago. Again, you ask yourself, “What is wrong with me?”
The things that you used to deal with stress don’t work anymore. They just don’t. You don’t want to talk to anyone… You don’t want to be a burden and have people feeling like something is wrong with you. You think that people have their own problems to deal with and you don’t want to become this complainer and add to another person’s problems. That and you don’t want people to know that you can’t handle the stress. You don’t want them to see your weakness. Especially when you know there are people who are out there handling heavier loads when you are having trouble dealing with what you’ve got.
Then when the things that usually work stop, you turn to things that actually make things worse. You spend money on material goods for the brief spike in “treating yoself”. You turn to alcohol. Even drugs. When these habits start, everything else starts to get worse. Relationships crack and support systems suffer. You become much more self-centered, because all your focus is on holding it together, and you forget about the other people in your life that depended on your support. You become withdrawn. Not opening up to anyone and refusing others that are trying to open up to you.
Then there’s the physical aspects. That lost energy and lack of sleep means you start feeling aches and pains throughout your body. You can’t give your workouts as much effort as usual. They start to leave you feeling defeated rather than like you accomplished something. You stop eating as much, which leads to even less energy. You begin to get sick more often. It’s like you are falling apart. You begin to wonder what’s the point?
You can hear a gunshot going off in your head. Every time things stop going your way, you can hear this *BANG*. Heck, even when things ARE going your way. The sound keeps echoing in your head. Beckoning you. If it’s not that, it’s wind in your ears. You can almost feel the wind blowing across your face as you fall away from all of your troubles. It’s almost comforting to know that you can end all the stress. It’d be so easy. You could leave letters trying to explain why you chose to be free. But you don’t have to explain to anyone. This is when it gets really scary. When you actually start considering the unimaginable as a real option.
But that option is selfish. It doesn’t solve your problems. It just exterminates the solutions. It’s like strapping a vest filled with emotional explosives and running into a crowd of everyone that cares about you, blowing them up and leaving them to pick up the pieces. And they’ve already been through so much… My family lost my father and my brother in the same year. It tore us apart… but it brought us together. We depend so much on each other, now. Then just last year one of my best friends committed suicide, leaving many of us to blame ourselves for not being able to see it coming. Not being able to stop it. But in the end, the way he was feeling wasn’t anyone’s fault. Not his friends. Not his family. Not his stressful capstone project’s. Not mine. Not his. Because the way he was feeling happens to everyone.
But it’s when you decide to take things too far. You put the weight of the world on your own shoulders as if everything is your responsibility. And as if removing yourself from the world will actually make things better somehow. But it’s the people who can actually change the world that feel this way. You chose to take on the weight of the world. You are feeling weak because you are taking on things that are bigger than yourself, and that makes you the coolest kid on the block.
The sheer fact that you are feeling this depression means you have a lot to be grateful for. For some reason, depression likes to make us ignore everything good that is going on in our lives. If our lives were really as bad as we made them out to be during this rough patches, we would be homeless. We wouldn’t be able to eat when we wanted. We wouldn’t have access to clean water. Because, somehow, suicide seems to be a privilege of developed countries. Places where our basic needs are covered.
So let me make something very clear right now, world changer. You have to realize that suicide IS a selfish choice. I’m not going to baby you and let you think even for a moment that it is acceptable. EVERYONE feels depressed. You are not alone. You are not that special. But you are important. The people around you need you. Giving up is the weakest option you could pick. You have other options. You can start talking to people. Other people need to hear that they aren’t the only ones, too. Get rid of the stigma around talking about depression. Tell them how you are feeling. Tell them you are struggling. Don’t fall any deeper. There are people who will listen. There are people who will help. Because there ARE people who care. People that WON’T judge you. We all deal with things differently. It doesn’t matter if someone has “more on their plate”. You aren’t them and they aren’t you.
Put your problems down on paper. Make them tangible. When you see them written down, it does a couple of things. Once they are revealed, they just don’t seem as scary. And when you have a problem written down, you can write down a solution. You can make a game plan and you can win. You might be surprised at the things that are bothering you.
Stop telling yourself you are useless. You are merely FEELING useless, but you can take possession of your problems and your emotions. You can cast away what things that are hurting you. The solution is always more simple than you are making it. Just imagine what it would look like if it was simple. You can make it through this storm.
And then, be prepared for the storm to come again. This storm will never fully disappear. You will always have days where you beat yourself up. But you have to keep your eye on the light. Sometimes those clouds try to block your view and make your world dark, but you have control. You can always make out the light if you try. Even in your darkest times, there is always a light. That light is you. Realize that you make a positive impact on someone every day. Don’t quit on them. Don’t quit on me. I need to know that we can make it, and I need your help. When I wake up and actually feel like everything is going to be okay, I cherish those moments, because they come less often than you might think.
You see, any time you try to take on things that are bigger than yourself, you are going to feel defeated. A lot. You are fighting a beast that has been in the game since the dawn of time and you only have a few years’ experience. You are going to get knocked down. You are going to get beaten down. You will get kicked while you are down. You will earn some scars that you’ll have to carry. But you have to keep going. Because you have responsibilities, and the grave is a really shitty office.
I get that this is an unpopular opinion. Lot’s of people say that anxiety is a mental illness and you don’t have a choice. Alright, I’ll accept that mental illness argument. It’s a fight for your life. But damn it, if I have learned anything about life, it’s that you do not get to pick your circumstances. Most of the time, the situation you are in is going to be completely out of your hands and it’s going to suck. There is nothing you can do about it. But the way you respond IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. YOU can make it better. Or, you can roll over and become the victim. You can say your life doesn’t matter because you are in a rough patch that doesn’t seem to have an end. But fuck that. You can be a badass. You can tell a story one day about how you had to handle the worst situation ever, your life was on the line, and you can say you made it because you never gave up. Because you believed there IS a big bright future for you. You just have to be willing to weather the storm.
When my best friend ended it, I didn’t understand. I still don’t. He was so smart. Funny. He had lots of friends. He meant so much to so many people. I thought that if he felt like he couldn’t live, what the heck am I worth? He was 10 times the person I am.
See the issue here? He passed his problems onto everyone else that cared about him. People that have their own battles to fight, and suddenly, they were blindsided.
Don’t do what he did. You WILL get past these dark times. And you will be all the stronger for it.
Then the next time the tempest recurs, together, we will stand tall and shine brighter than the darkness.
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