One of the hardest things for me about struggling with depression and anxiety is that it lies to me about the fact that I struggle with depression and anxiety.
As I’ve mentioned before, it likes to tell me on days when everything is hard that I’m really just lazy and stupid, and I just need to grow up and get my crap together like everyone else. There’s no room for grace at all.
It makes me wrestle with self-doubt and sadness about my past. I think of all the opportunities that I didn’t take and the time that’s been lost because of bad days, and it’s hard. I think if only I had just pushed myself a little bit more, maybe I could have just snapped out of it and been fine.
I know that this isn’t how I should think about it at all. My counselor wisely told me that I should think of all the things that I’ve been able to do in spite of my depression and anxiety, and I agree with him.
But it’s hard.
Sometimes I wish I had a more definitive physical disease, like diabetes or something, that couldn’t be called into question. I wouldn’t have to wonder if I really have problems or if I just need a kick in the pants, because the facts would be laid out there for everyone to see.
I know my anxiety and depression should be enough for me and everyone else to see now: I’m on antidepressants, I’m in counseling, my mind is often a much darker place than most people’s. But sometimes it’s not enough. Partially this is because anxiety and depression are still too often misunderstood, and well-meaning people say things that make you doubt yourself. But mostly it’s because anxiety and depression mess up your mental game just when you need your mental game most to deal with it.
Mostly it’s just exhausting. Dealing with my depression and anxiety would be far easier if I didn’t also have to dig out the layers of false guilt and shame associated with it. This is why I’m especially grateful for the people in my life, especially my husband Dave, who can tell me the truth when I can’t see it.
And here is the truth: I’m not lazy and stupid. I have anxiety and depression, and I’m learning to deal with it the best I can.