Hello, my name is Basic Bitch and I have depression and anxiety.
I was going to say “suffer with anxiety and depression” but I didn’t, for an important reason. Depression and anxiety are two side of the same coin, for me anyway. I have dealt with them both for as long as I can remember, they are a part of me. They are demons that sit on my shoulders. I acknowledge them, yet refuse to let them overcome me. I refuse to suffer with them.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have (and still do) suffer from my old frenemies. It is a daily struggle and it can be fucking exhausting.
On good days I can still feel them sitting on my shoulders. Their legs swinging, tapping on me, gently reminding me that they are there and they can fuck everything up. I realise I sound crazy, I’m not. I’ve been to enough counsellors and psychotherapists to tell me that! But the only way I have ever been able to explain my depression and anxiety is by calling them my demons sitting on my shoulder. So just humour me, please.
On bad days I’m crippled. I wake up feeling so discouraged by life that I actually get annoyed that I didn’t die in my sleep. I can’t look at myself in the mirror. The very sight of myself makes me feel sick to my stomach. The only way to fight this sickness is to binge on food. I binge eat until I feel as physically sick as I do emotionally. I go back to bed. I snap at anyone who does try to talk to me. I start fights. I try to make the people that I love most in the world, hate me like I hate myself. I don’t talk to friends. I’m not worthy of friends. I’m not worthy of the life that I have been given! How dare a white, middle-class born girl feel like this! I was never abused as a child, I didn’t come from a broken home, I was given everything I wanted. I don’t deserve this life. I start thinking about how I add nothing to lives of my family and friends. About how much of a hinderance I am to them and how I just know, in my heart of hearts that they would be so relieved and better off if I wasn’t around.
That is a bad day. Thankfully I don’t have many of them, but they happen. Now imagine feeling like this and someone telling you “just go for a walk- you’ll feel soooooo much better!” They are trying to be helpful, they don’t know that the actual thought of getting dressed or even washed is such a huge feat that you would be exhausted for the whole day. That’s the thing about depression, you think such horrible things all day that your body is physically weary. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. Exhausted.
Anxiety is different. I am a very confident and loud person that can hide my anxiety well. The thought of walking into a pub alone, can scare the shit out of me. Asking a stranger for the time, can scare the shit out of me. Walking alone in public during the day, can scare the shit out of me. Going out at night with all my friends, can scare the shit out of me. Travelling to a new place, can scare the shit out of me. Not knowing exactly where I am going in exact detail, can scare the shit out of me.
When I get scared so much I can get panic attacks. When I am walking to a lecture feeling fine, I can get panic attacks. When I am about to go to sleep I can get panic attacks. Panic attacks can come out of nowhere and they are terrifying. First my heart starts beating at a million miles an hour. I start to breathe faster and shallower, until I can’t catch my breath. Its like I’m drowning in the open air. My chest is crushing with a tightness that I can’t see, but can painfully feel. I am woozy and lightheaded. I almost forget how to walk. It can feel like it won’t ever end. But it does. Eventually.
I take antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. They are not for everyone, but they’re working for me. I finally feel like I have some sort of handle on my life now. Even when I was going to therapy for years, I never felt like this. I have practiced mindfulness, journalling, meditation, vision boards, law of attraction, etc… And they all work. But they work in combination with medication for me and there is no shame in that. My mental health is just as important as my physical health, but there’s no stigma attached to a broken bone.
Now, I am very open with it. My family have seen me at my worst and have supported me in every way. I have amazing friends that I am able to talk about anything with. I know that when I am feeling so low they are there for me with inspirational quotes and encouraging words about what an amazing person I am. They are the MVP’s in my life.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn.
So I am amazing, because my friends are amazing. It is a mantra that I need to repeat over and over again. That we all need to.
This struggle is not easy to deal with, yet it is in a way. Because I have always had it, these demons on my shoulder. They are old friends of mine because I know how to react to them. What isn’t easy, is thinking that I am a worthy person. It isn’t easy to love myself. That is the real struggle.
So no, I don’t suffer with anxiety and depression. I deal with them.