Mirror, Mirror: Living With Anxiety, Depression, and Warped Reflections.
IT FEELS LIKE:
- Walking around with sandbags on my shoulders in a steady state of weariness.
- Negative trains of thought that never seem to arrive at a station.
- A constant battle between hope and hopelessness.
- Self-loathing because logic doesn’t align with my internal register.
- Visions of giving up colliding with dreams of getting help.
- Wishing I could disappear and wanting to be seen.
- Knowing there are others who understand and being utterly alone.
- Wanting to quiet the noise in my mind and fearing the silence.
I am trapped in my air pocket with a desperate desire to pop the bubble and force my hand: let the water wash it away or fight to reach the surface.
Imagine a magnifying mirror. You look into the glass to see all things on a grander scale of definition. It is supposed to offer precision for a particular purpose. Yet, this is how I experience the world daily. My eyes capture what’s before me and translate this to the faulty microscope of my mind. The texture of all of my flaws enlarged. Interactions, both casual and professional, scrutinized. Basic to-dos may appear daunting and more significant tasks insurmountable.
Occasionally, the mirror flips to reveal standard reality. In these moments, I recognize the profound impact of my mental health on the paths behind and before me. I imagine how it must feel to mostly experience the world straight on, without distortion.
Over the past week, I sensed another storm approaching. I felt it in my bones like a change in barometric pressure. Each day the weight heavier and the atmosphere thicker until it became difficult to breathe. This morning I woke with a nod to the storm’s arrival and a determination to fight. Still, after dropping my daughter at school, I felt a tightening. Gripped by worthlessness, it shook me and reduced me to tears.
Arriving at the edge of a crater, I was paralyzed by the magnified view:
~Of all that I have done and failed to do.
~Of all my physical and mental inadequacies.
~Of all the people that I have disappointed.
~Of all the moments when I wasn’t strong enough to voice my opinion.
~Of all the years of settling instead of seeking.
~Of all the ways that my body has failed me.
~Of all the times that my weakness has won.
~Of all the ways that I have been burdensome.
~Of all the opportunities that I have stolen from myself and my family.
~Of all that is amazing in my world that I can’t seem to appreciate.
Then, they called to me, the words forming in my mind. I needed to write. Thankfully, I’ve found a few tools that act as buoys in rough waters. Running is often one of those buoys. Today, writing was the only tool in my kit that would back me away from the crater’s edge.
Putting truth to page, I manage to resume some control. It is not perfect. I continue to ride out this storm. It won’t be the last, and that is positive. It means I resolve to stay and work through it, one day, hour, or minute at a time.