By Kaylee Crawford
1. Battling anxiety and depression requires constant effort.
It can be like trying to tune a radio in the middle of nowhere. You keep turning the dial, but static prevails. You hear glimpses of that song that always makes you smile, but it is too fuzzy to actually enjoy. Everyone tells you to just relax and listen to the music, and you are trying your hardest to do just that, despite what they think. Advice: keep trying; the smile the song brings is definitely worth it.
2. It is better to let it out.
Even if everything in you wants you to suppress your emotions and your panic because of how it may look to others or because you really did not want to have another panic attack this week, please don’t. It’s like when your soda bottle has gotten all shaken up, and you start to unscrew the top, only to hear the pressure building, so you tighten the lid and shove it aside. With anxiety, the pressure never really settles, so just let it come out. Remember that you have the strength and the resources to clean the mess, but if you ignore it, it will only get worse as life keeps shaking it.
3. Depression can be just as terrifying as anxiety.
Even though depression is perceived as all melancholy and apathy, the fear can be there within you because you know how ill you really are. It can be a lot like sleep paralysis. You know you should be moving, running away, screaming, or doing something productive because you are afraid of the things in your mind’s eye, but you are paralyzed, unable to react physically. It’s not just being lazy for a day because you can, it is more like being crushed by something and having no strength to lift it that week.
4. Anxiety and depression tell you the same lies.
Even though their approaches are different, their goals are very similar. Anxiety uses fear and urgency to manipulate you while depression uses heaviness and emptiness to do the same. However, you will often find that the racing, screaming thoughts that make you feel inadequate in the workplace sound an awful lot like the hopeless voice in your head telling you to stay in bed because you are worthless.
5. You have a voice, too.
Sometimes when you have both anxiety and depression, you wish to trade one for the other; you depend on the all too familiar cycle of angst and desolation so much that you forget yourself. You forget that you are not defined by your illnesses and that help is out there. The more you talk to others and talk to yourself (no matter how silly you feel) and the more you channel that spirit and confidence that still live inside you (whether you believe it or not), the less their lies hinder you. You are not the exception to recovery, and even though you are not at fault for any of this, you have some power in how you cope with it.