The thing I find that I deal with most, inside my own mind that is, on a daily basis is guilt. Feeling guilty is one of the natural affects of struggling with Depression and Anxiety, however that’s just the point. I STRUGGLE with it. Every second my guilt claws onto my brain stem like a grotesque, ink-colored mucus and slowly climbs into my brain to fester there for a while. So many negative emotions tend to take leisurely vacations in my brain now-a-days. The circumstances that ignite this guilt as if it were a reckless explosive device about to splatter my insides all over this screen and room, would probably seem mundane and not worth notice to you. They probably wouldn't even warrant your attention at all. However to me, these circumstances and events reside in my head, poisoning me slowly for months, and a lot of times, years.
I feel guilty for not returning a boy’s affection in high school, I feel guilty for not putting more effort into that one class, I feel guilty for lying to my mom that one time when I was a little girl.
Okay, so maybe you too have instances from the past that you still think about from time to time. But spending so much of my days genuinely obsessing over and replaying the events back in my head over and over is exhaussssttttinngggg. That doesn't even account for the rest of the time when I worry about my weight, how those around me perceive me, the volcanic pimple taking over my face, the stress my mom and dad feel, my brother getting into the college he wishes, my other brother getting enough sleep, me missing out on my little sister’s life, that flight that I have to take in 2 months, the event I have to attend this week, every single individual that I encounter on a daily basis and on and on and on. When someone with Depression or Anxiety mentions to you that their mind never stops….believe them. Every day takes all that I have and getting up the next morning to do the very same thing is disheartening.
Guilt washes over me like an inescapable current in the ocean, the rogue current that will sweep you out to sea forever. I feel guilty for not wanting to go to lunch with my friends, or not keeping in better touch with them, or not talking to them for months. It becomes an infinitely frustrating subject because I can rationalize all of it, but I still can control it. I know that I’m isolating myself because I feel sad but I also can’t stop myself from doing it. Talk about a deadly tornado of guilty emotions everywhere. Thinking about it actually causes a mild panic attack for me, the heaviness of my chest making it hard to breathe being the first sign.
Something inside me makes me want to stay home, to stay in my pajamas all day, to create a cocoon of comforters and blankets and pillows and sleep through this day and the next and the next. The most ironic thing is that sleep doesn't come easily to me at all. I lay awake, staring at the panes of light painted in broad strokes across my ceiling, signifying the new day. My boyfriend would tell you that this isn't true, that he watches me pass out every night and that I sleep well. But it is sporadic, with nonstop thoughts and guilt plaguing me like a sleep depriving infection.
All of this isn't meant to sadden you or incite pity, trust me, that’s last thing I want. It’s actually, in its own sick way, meant to comfort some of you out there. That sounds weird but, I read some of these articles posted on Facebook written by others who suffer with Mental Illnesses and it makes me feel better. Makes me feel understood on a deep, to the core level. Knowing that I’m not the only one with issues. Haha. Anyways, I hope this makes you feel a little better somehow and shows you that even though a person struggles with Depression and Anxiety, they can still appear completely normal and high-functioning on the outside. I hope this encourages you to treat everyone with love and respect because you view a person’s mind. Amidst all of this hate and violence in the world, be the person who extends kindness and compassion even in a crowd who maybe won’t even notice or appreciate it. Be the person who starts a revolution of grace.
And as always, Keep Your Head Up My Loves.
****Ocean Photo take by Kyle Blatchford Photography