|There is hope and light and love in this world.|
YES! A happy life is possible and depression and anxiety are nothing to fool around with. Get help and get it now. Why am I writing about this today?
I woke up at my usual time this morning—5 AM. No, no alarms, just my body’s idea of when to get up. *grumble grumble, dang body* So I did what I always do: check out the social media sites on my iPhone. As I’m scrolling through the usual posts and tweets and tumbles, I came across a friend’s post that made me sit up in bed. He wrote that the bottom has dropped out and he is in the throws of a deep depression today.
Tears welled up immediately and I started to cry. This is my usual reaction whenever anyone tells me they are suffering with anxiety and depression, because I truly, deeply, physically empathize. I have been down that rabbit hole and back up several times and it is heart-wrenching, hateful, soul-sucking, and mind-altering. I quite literally felt his pain.
Then it dawned on me that I have been the witness to several friends' and acquaintances' dark moments recently. It’s happening all the time to people we love and we don’t necessarily realize what’s going on with them. I wonder if my online friend’s family and real-life friends know what is going on with him? I wonder if he’s reaching out elsewhere, not just online? I hope so. Oh, I so hope so, because depression may be a personal battle, but it is not to be fought alone.
Depression and anxiety are nothing to mess around with. If you are depressed or have anxiety, are buried under a landslide of negative, worrisome thoughts, and dragging yourself through your days with little hope RUN don’t walk to a friend, doctor, barber, milkman, ANYONE who you can reach out to. Don’t hesitate because your life may be at stake, and I’m not just referring to suicide. Get help now! Follow this link How To Get Help for Depression.
Being depressed and anxious is bad for your health. Period. The research is in on stress and its negative effects on the body and mind, including depression and anxiety. And while stress can lead to depression and anxiety, the opposite is also true: anxiety and depression are stressful. Take a look at How Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Effect Your Health on WebMD for more on the health repercussions.
And then there’s the day in and day out torture. Life feels unmanageable and unbearable when you’re depressed. For those of you who have never experienced it imagine that everything you do takes 100 times the effort and energy. Everything tires you out and nothing seems worth that much effort. Imagine your head is 100 pounds and you can only use your neck to lift it off the pillow.
Imagine all the color has drained away and the world is cold and grey and desolate. The birds have stopped singing and you are racing down an abandoned highway at 100 miles an hour without any breaks. You know something awful, horrifyingly painful and tragic is going to happen but you have absolutely no way to stop: all you can do is try to stay on the road and hope you run out of gas soon.
Imagine no one notices that you’re trapped inside a light-less, suffocating box. You can’t breathe. You can’t hear anything. You can’t see any way out. Imagine you’re losing your mind and you can’t trust your own thoughts. Disturbing, unsettling images and ideas pop randomly into your awareness and you think, “My God, I’m a horrible, horrible person. What if I do something crazy?”
And when you do manage to look around at the people bustling by, going about every day life as if all is good, you think, “I’m the only one. They’re fine. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be normal like everyone else?”
And that’s just my experience. You can read more about my struggles, if you like. I’m sure others who have suffered from depression and anxiety would describe it a little differently, but the essence is the same: fear, self-loathing, darkness, hopelessness. When you toss anxiety into the mix, like some cruel spice, you add another dimension of fright. I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks so severe, I swear I thought I was dying or sometimes my mind was finally, finally, breaking apart.
I’m being painfully honest and open for a very important reason: I want those of you out there suffering to know you are NOT alone. You are NOT the only one and no, everyone else is not traipsing along just fine and honky-dory. More people suffer with this debilitating dis-ease than are reported in the stats. I’d even venture to guess that every one of us has a dark tea time of the soul or two in our life. How could we not? Bad things happen to good people all the time.
Hear this: You are not alone and you are not a leper and you are lovable.
Right now, this very minute, PLEASE PLEASE reach out for help. There is hope. Even though the road ahead may look dark and endless, I promise there is a way for you to be at peace. It will take commitment, hard work, and a willingness to change, but it’s there. It’s possible. I know. I’m walking it now. I changed my life bit by bit until I found my way. I am constantly tweaking the formula and I still have bad days, but I have a team of support and family and friends who love me, strategies and knowledge and power. I'll be sharing more on the tool kit I've developed over the years in my next blog post.
I am in control of how I see the world, now. It is no longer bearing down on me at full speed ready to crush me alive. It is full of color and music and friends and happiness, so when the bad times come, I have that to cling to. I love the light because I have known the darkness intimately.
Don’t walk one more day in the dark alone, my friends. Reach out. I’m here.
Love and light to every single one of you.