On anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression. I shall try to write about this respectfully and succinctly.

At the bottom of this post are some pages from my journal. These are some entries from earlier this year. I have journaled since I was a child. As an adult, mainly on the bad days. I am usually dramatically articulate when I am sad. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I journal not to immortalize how I feel, but ironically, to make the thoughts disappear. Safer on paper, writing to God, than unleashed onto any poor unsuspecting human who won’t know what’s going to hit them. I almost never revisit what I write again.

Anxiety and depression doesn’t have to be visible. Many times it is not. People can look 100% okay and be 100% coherent and socially functional.

A friend recently confided that there are days she has to consciously decide she’s not going to jump. And this is a person who is going to get married, has a successful career and much to look forward to in life.

While I do not consider myself depressed nor suicidal, there are times the devil does have his shrewd ways of making me believe there’s no point living and that I should just off myself. After all, I started cutting myself and made a suicide pact when I was 14.

But I have come to recognize the cycles of despair that like to make their rounds in my life at uninvited intervals for what they are. Cycles. Seasons. That end. These seasons end. Your life doesn’t have to.

These emotions and accusations may come. But they don’t have to mean that you’ve fallen off the fragile boardwalk of normalcy and back into the murky clinging depths that want to drown you.

When they come for me, I see how the boardwalk of my life has blossomed into something solid, beautiful and indestructible. And these splashes that come from the depths are desperately trying to drag me down again, but they no longer have the power to do so. They’re just trying to make me believe that they’re still as powerful as they once were. But they are not.

This journey looks different for everyone. And I know it’s hard. The voices in your head are impossible to shut out. You may feel like you are numbly cruising through reality without ever being fully present.

But you are not alone. We all have coping mechanisms. I’m just sharing mine. Compartmentalising and understanding that the negative emotions and whispers to end my life aren’t a sign that I am losing my mind. But I can let them pass through rather than set up the guest bedroom for them to take up residence and get comfy again.

And that’s why I always journal to Jesus. Once the verbal diarrhoea is out of the way, it is a very Psalms-like experience; David whinging about his misery, before ending off by submitting it all to the Lord. This is a world where hope is scarce. And my only hope is Him. I cannot will myself out of misery. But I choose the rescue boat of believing that if there is any hope in this dismal world, it is Him. And that is why my mantra has always been — and will possibly always be — that Jesus is enough for me.

Just sharing this to encourage anyone else out there who is convinced that you’re alone and you’re the only one going crazy. That no one is going to understand because your life looks “totally fine” on the outside.

The dark doesn’t have to win. It will get better. Find a counsellor. Find someone to talk to. It’s okay to get help. It’s okay to not be able to hold the facade together. You are not alone.

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