I haven’t talked about my anxiety for quite a while. Honestly, since I take medication and feel better most of the time, it is hard to admit that I still suffer from anxiety. I feel like I should be well by now. I mean I admitted I have it and I took medicine. I should be well, right? Well, dealing with anxiety is often not a one and done thing. My brain is missing some of the chemicals it needs to react”normally” to the things people deal with every day. Thankfully, mental health awareness has gotten better so I don’t feel like I’m “broken” just that my brain is different.
So I take my medication and then I feel better. Then my dumbness kicks in and I don’t take my meds. Then I feel like crap and I remember “Oh yeah! I forgot to take my pills”. Rinse and repeat. I should know better, yet here we are. Even when we are educated and know better, it is HARD. Living with a mental illness is not easy and it is an everyday struggle. From outside, it can look so easy and like a “fake” disease but it’s not.
This week has been a tough one. Two high profile people died by suicide. Kate Spade was not someone I really followed so while her suicide affected me, it wasn’t that deep or profound. Then today, I woke up to hear about Anthony Bourdain. I was gutted. Dewey and I watched his travel food shows religiously. They broadened our horizons and challenged us to see more places, try new things and stretch ourselves. He seemed like he had everything from the outside but that was just the veneer. You can never really know what another person is going through, even if you are close friends.
I have never felt the desperation he must have felt. While I have never been there, I can see how it could happen. My brain has turned me against myself often. I find myself worrying and obsessing about things that happened years ago. I have wronged people (haven’t we all) and some things haunt me. I can go into a spiral of anxiety quickly that leaves me breathless and thinking that I should never speak to anyone ever again. It is a scary, scary place when your own brain is whispering terrible things to you.
So take care of yourself and take care of those around you. Learn more about anxiety and depression. Reach out to those around you and check in. It isn’t enough to tell people to reach out to you. Those in the deepest depressions can rarely reach out for help. Their brains are telling them that it won’t help, they aren’t worth it or that people won’t care. WE know that isn’t the case but they can’t see that from the hole that depression digs.
Oh, and remember that depression and anxiety don’t look the same for everyone. If you have a friend who has suddenly become a cranky person who sees the negative in everything, remember that can be a sign of anxiety or depression. It’s not always about sad (or at least that is not always how it presents).
Reach out, take care of yourself and know that none of us are ever alone. And mental illness is a disease. It is not something to be ashamed of or to hide. The more we all talk about it, the more mental health awareness grows.
You are not alone.