(Important Note: I am not any kind of doctor. I’m just sharing what I have learned from my own experiences.)
From time to time I suffer from clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder. It’s absolutely miserable. My misery is increased by the fact that many people don’t really get what’s going on with those disorders. It’s increased even further by the fact that I don’t even get what’s really going on with those disorders. Having diseases in your mind makes it very hard to figure out what’s happening and what might be a constructive solution.
To explain it, I like to say that anxiety and depression are kind of like autoimmune diseases. In autoimmune diseases, your immune system, which is supposed to protect your body, starts to attack it. You are backstabbed by your own body--it’s rank betrayal.
Mental illness is a sort of similar thing. Your mind, which should be looking out for your best interests, starts attacking you. Instead of pointing out actual threats, it makes you feel threatened all the time. Instead of giving you an accurate picture of reality, it makes everything look black, black, black. Instead of telling you to do nice things for yourself, like eat food or move around occasionally, it tells you that your interests would be best served by staying in bed all day, or maybe even by not being alive anymore. It LIES to you.
Fighting your own brain all of the time is exhausting, and sometimes it’s just not possible, because it is your own brain and the main weapon you have to fight it is...your brain. It’s like you are a country trying to spy on another country, but all of your spies are known double agents. Nothing is straightforward or easy. Even the simplest tasks become extraordinarily complicated.
It’s really hard to understand what’s happening to you when all of a sudden you are trying to manage all of these double agents. It’s hard to explain what’s going on to other people. Everything is just so hard.
Thankfully, at the moment, I am not depressed or anxious. It’s probably something I will struggle with in the future, but right now I am doing really well. My brain is cooperating with me. It’s nice.
I’m going to take advantage of my brain’s cooperation, and for the next few weeks I’m going to write about my experiences with anxiety and depression. The last time I was depressed and anxious, I benefited from reading other people’s stories on the internet. It helped me to know that I wasn’t alone in this. Maybe my story will help somebody else. And maybe the next time I’m depressed, having all of this written down will help me to recognize when my brain is pulling out old lies and misinformation. Maybe. We can hope.
Next week I will talk about what I do when reading the Bible makes me anxious.