Invisible diseases affect so many of us. I'm sure in their own way, they are all a nightmare. But I'm only going to talk about a couple that have been with me most of my adult life. Anxiety and depression. They usually, go hand in hand as they stomp relentlessly around my brain. Anxiety hit me at a young age, but I was a young wife and mother so I figure some of it came with the territory. As both children and divorces grew in number so did my anxiety. There was so much to worry about as a single parent and I was never a quitter. Some of you will understand parents that don't quit, and how they raise their children to just get over it and continue. Being strong is a great talent and one I'm glad my mother instilled in me. I believe it has saved my life many times. Especially once depression showed up to help my anxiety levels skyrocket.
But it's so very hard to be strong all the time, isn't? I mean when you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you have tried everything to help yourself out of whatever situations or triggers have put you in a deep dark place. And nothing and no one is able to free your mind from its continual round robin of self-sustaining lectures on failure. Some of your friends and family may try but they never really know what to say. And if you are in a very dark place usually words don't help. Only actions help at that point and unfortunately, action, is the last thing depression allows you to accomplish.
Depression can feel like the warm fuzzy blanket that quiets anxiety and it's hysterical rantings, and well thought out conclusions. But it's not. In the words of Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!" But it's such a mind numbing and defeated trap. One that once you allow yourself to curl up into its waiting arms it will devour you. Slowly and over a long period of time. Even once you feel you are out of the woods and have conquered it, you are always on alert for its deceptive comforts.
I'm one of the lucky ones for depression wasn't a lengthy visitor for me. She arrived in full force, after decades of teasing me and pulling me toward her, three years ago. And lasted exactly one year...with a forty year trigger of abuse, shame, and repressed anger. My anxiety was quickly overshadowed. While depressed I was just done. I'd had enough of everything and had been strong too long. When I wanted to hurt myself and others was when I knew I needed help. Professional help. Again being poor helped me here, for I was on state assistance then as many single, working moms are, and my visits to get help were paid for and my meds were affordable. I'm happy to report that three years later I'm medication free and after changing my location, career, and lifestyle, I'm happy with me again. I love who I have become on the other side of my breakdown. Is depression gone for good? Who knows? I hope so. But like an alcoholic, I fight it every day. I get out of bed almost every day. The only danger days now are weekends alone. But so far, depression has left me alone. Is anxiety finally silent? Well, not completely. But she has learned to whisper. Which sometimes is a much better warning. Let's say I have her under control.
I told you all of that to help you understand that I get it. I know what you're going through, and I beat it. And I really wasn't sure I would. So while I have nothing to offer but an ear and experience, I am paying attention and I do care. On that note: Mr. Practicle, himself a fellow anxiety and depression fan club member, blogged recently about a writer friend of his who is going through this without help of any kind. He and his family are suffering from his paralyzing panic attacks and everything that goes along with it. While I can't afford to help with money, I can help with awareness. I don't know what I might have done to myself or others had I not had professional medical help. Help if you can a fellow writer and human who has been strong so very long.
I wish I could post one of these for all of us.