The Horror that is Anxiety and Depression

Reader beware. There’s no sugar coating here

J. M. Cools
Oct 27, 2017 · 5 min read

I’m not here to make anything sound pretty. I’m not here for anything to sound inspirational. I’m not here to make you understand me. No. What I am here to do is to tell you the truth. This is the absolute truth about what it’s like living with anxiety and depression, for me. This is the angry truth, the truth I don’t want to admit. The truth you need to know.

Having anxiety is the most horrific thing I have ever experienced in my life. It has been with me since I was a little girl in elementary school. I was always so stressed and so anxious about everything. I can’t ever really recall a time where I wasn’t worrying about something, thinking of tomorrow, wondering what was going to happen that day, contemplating if I was doing the right thing and so on. For most of my life I didn’t know I had anxiety or depression. I wasn’t officially diagnosed until late July of this year and I was shocked. Some part of me knew but I never really believed I had anxiety or depression. I just thought I was a Nervous Nelly. No real harm in that, right?

Well, ever since being diagnosed, my life has been shaken, beaten up and turned on its side. Never in my entire life have I ever felt this out of control or this much pain. And I hate it and I’m angry. I want more than anything to go back to normal. I wanna go back to just focusing on what was in front of me. But that’s the thing, there was never a time when things were “normal” for me and in some ways, that’s the most heartbreaking part.

I know now that the displays of my depression and anxiety are a result of all the pain and heartache throughout the years. I just have to deal with all of it at once. It feels like a punishment. It feels like I did this to myself. It feels like I was destined to have these horrific tormentors in my blood for the rest of my miserable existence. I don’t have the tools to deal with all this pain. I don’t have the willpower sometimes to deal with it. Can you imagine that? You can’t even stand yourself.

Dear reader, I am angry. I am angry I have this mental cage. I am angry of what brought me to this point. I am so tired. So very tired. I can’t sleep because of my anxiety. No matter the soothing music I listen to, the medication I take, no matter how early or late I go to sleep I can’t stop waking up in the middle of the night with my brain racing so fast it takes literally hours to try to slow it down. By the time I do that, I have to get ready to go to work. It’s an endless and cruel cycle. The thoughts that keep me up at night? Hurry up and go to sleep. Sleep. If you don’t sleep now you won’t make it. Go to sleep. Nathan can sleep just fine. Why can’t you? This and a slew of other ruminations pass through my head. Things that don’t even directly impact me like the mess in Puerto Rico, the people who have died in the Vegas shootings and the California fires. This stuff worries me on a daily basis and whatever other terrible thing they’re talking about on the news.

Do you know what else I think about? How unhappy I am. How unhappy I shouldn’t be. How grateful I should be for what I have, but I am not. And it’s not a choice. None of this is a choice. It’s never something I would choose for myself. The person I hate most in this world, I wouldn’t even put this on them. Despite all that, I have the audacity to think that I did. I blame myself for all of it. I blame myself for being sad, calling myself an ingrate. I tell myself that I just need to look up. If other people can, why can’t I? And I have tried that and it worked for maybe a month but then the depression set in again completely unprovoked.

I have had some revelations of what a lot of my dysfunctions are and what I can do to combat them. That has also helped, but it’s not enough. And, quite frankly, I think I might have too any to fight alone. I feel weak. I feel stupid. I don’t know if I will ever come out of this. Do you want to know why? Because every day that passes, every obstacle that I see in my life right now, every anxious or negative thought, every panic attack I have, slowly chip away my will to live. I feel as though I am dying. Like one day I’m going to be done with living despite all the people I love and the potential I have. It’s a scary thought but one I have to deal with every morning.

While all this is happening inside me, I am trying to keep myself together. I’m open about this topic if people ask me about it but it’s definitely not something I bring up in conversation. The times I have, people have told me, “Oh, man. I have noticed a lot of people have been diagnosed with that” then go on and on about their own problems and how they’re similar to depression. They usually aren’t but I don’t know how to say, “Yeah, it’s not something that’s just going around either. It’s something I have dealt with for a long time.” So I say nothing because if this person doesn’t care enough to spend one freaking second talking about someone other than themselves, they’re not worth the breath.

Lastly, the absolute worst part and the easiest to describe what but not why it happens is my panic attacks. My specific panic attacks come on suddenly, for no apparent reason and can last for days at a time. Whenever I do get one, it triggers my depression. A sick two for one thing. I’ll take you through the stages: 1) It comes seemingly out of nowhere. I will be having a great day then suddenly I am crying uncontrollably. Or I’ll feel a slick black hand of terror rise up in my chest and squeeze my heart, causing such a strong pain in my chest. 2) My mind always races, I’m always crying and I can barely speak. 3) I feel like a drowning rat that’s losing air. I feel trapped in the cages in my head. I feel helpless almost like I’m about to die and no one can help me.

I’m angry. I hate this. I want it to end. So to all the jackasses that post the bull shit about depressed people needing to get over it or to stop making themselves sad can shut the hell up. It is torturous. People have literally ended their lives to escape the pain. Anxiety is not just being nervous. Depression is not just being sad. It is a complicated mess that takes control of everything until you learn how to manage it. Until then, every day feels like a battle. You have to fight for you. You have to fight for the will to go on and it’s not easy. This is my truth. My angry, awful truth.

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J. M. Cools

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Life lessons as they come and other things. Email/hire me author.jmcools@gmail.com