Hello you lovely lot you ❤
As you may or may not know, this week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and so I thought I would share with you my experience of what it’s like to live with anxiety & depression on a day-to-day basis and hopefully shed some light on how it affects daily life and maybe, just maybe, help some of you to share your experiences with a loved one and get the support you truly deserve.
Everybody’s mental health, just like physical health, is completely different. Some struggle with more or less than others and that is okay, what we need to remember is that it isn’t a competition. What we need to do is remove the stigma and barriers around mental health, talk about it more openly like people do with their physical help and learn how to love and support everyone in any way we can. I still find on a daily basis people being quite narrow minded and in some ways naive to mental health and how debilitating it can actually be, I would love to be in a world where you could be honest with people about how you’re feeling without feeling like you’re being ‘dramatic’ or ‘making things up’. It’s honestly so flippin’ hard and SO exhausting to deal with mental health on a day-to-day basis, so opening up to someone and being shut down as if you’re over-reacting is SUCH kick in the teeth. All I want is to be open & honest with you guys about what it’s like, mentally and physically, and maybe it’ll help some of you know how to help someone in your life who is going through a tough time, even if that person is yourself ❤
~ Depression ~
Depression is honestly exhausting. It is SO draining. To the outside world looking in, you look tired, you look sad, you look.. empty in a way. And on the inside, that’s how it feels. You have nothing left to give. You haven’t even got the energy to talk to other humans, or interact with your pet, or turn the TV off. Your whole body is numb, yet you feel everything at the same time. You can’t focus properly apart from focusing on the never ending dark feelings that absorb every ounce of light you had within you. Your head feels fuzzy, like your brain is wrapped in cotton wool. You feel so down that you want to cry, or scream, or run away, or try and smile, but you have no energy for anything apart from to sit and stare at your phone, or the wall, or the floor.
It’s isolating. All you want is to tell someone how you feel, to ask for a hug, or a cup of tea, or for them to say they still love you. But you can’t bring yourself to ask for any of those things in case they’re rejected. You isolate yourself from partners, friends, colleagues, family members.. all because it is easier than admitting you’re struggling, and you would never want to burden any of them, so you stay silent. You stay hidden. You stay away so that your rain cloud doesn’t affect them as well, as you wouldn’t wish this feeling on anybody.
It’s confusing. You can have so much good going on in your life, yet you still feel like you can feel nothing.. why? I have no idea. Which adds into the frustration and endless questioning of your own brain.
Why does this happen? Why am I sad? Why am I empty? Why can’t I shake this?
It’s hard work. It really is. I would never sit here and say it’s a walk in the park, because it’s not, it’s horrible. It’s destructive. It’s debilitating. It’s ongoing and its exhausting. You have to live day-by-day, as anyone does, but it can creep in and ruin anything enjoyable and nice you have in your life. It engulfs it and removes every last ounce of happy you have. I hate it, so damn much, if I could click my fingers and it be gone I would do it in a second. Unfortunately, I live with it. But I try not to let it ruin my days. I try my hardest to fight it, to find happiness in every day, to stay focused, to remember 5 things I am thankful and happy for when I am feeling down. I fight it everyday, I wear a mask every single day to hide my struggles, which in turn is exhausting, but I refuse to let it win. It won’t take everything away or absorb my life & dreams. I won’t let it.
~ Anxiety ~
Anxiety is honestly like having a demon that follows you around breaking everything around you. It is exhausting, it’s bloody annoying and I honestly wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It can honestly rear it’s ugly head at anytime of day or night. Sometimes I know exactly what is causing it and other times I am ridiculously on edge and anxious for seemingly no real reason that I can think of. It can ruin a lot of fun things you would like to do, such as spending time with friends or going to parties, as crowds and unfamiliar places make my anxiety skyrocket into dangerous territories. It can make the simplest of tasks, like going to the corner shop, an ordeal. You overthink every single thing that could happen, you overthink every worst case scenario, you convince yourself if you don’t leave by a specific time then something tragic will happen, you overthink about how you look and what you’re wearing as you don’t want people to stare at you, you worry about insignificant things like ‘But.. what if I drop something? What if I walk into someone? What if I trip over..?’ and so on until you convince yourself you can’t possibly go and stay inside instead.
Anxiety for me has many physical symptoms as well as ones that aren’t as easily noticeable. I start to sweat, I start to breathe more quickly, my heart pounds, my legs and arms feel more jelly-like and I get ridiculously bad dry mouth so struggle to talk to strangers a lot of the time. Anxiety is exhausting, your brain is fried a lot of the time as it has been working on over-drive for days, you are physically tired as you have worked yourself up so much on a day-to-day basis and you honestly feel so mentally drained that the thought of getting up the next day and repeating everything again is honestly the hardest thing to come to terms with.
If I was to try an describe what anxiety feels like to someone who doesn’t suffer from it I would say it is like running a marathon fifty times over a day in your head. Your mind is constantly racing, you can’t focus on tasks for too long without getting distracted, you fidget, you sweat, you breathe more weirdly than normal, you overthink every single thing that people do and say as well as how they look at you and respond to you. You overthink how you’re perceived, how you look, how you talk. Honestly, it’s horrible. I hate it so much and so wish I could click my fingers and it be gone. I want to be able to do go to the shop without overthinking, working myself up and convincing myself not to go fifty times over. I want to be able to travel without freaking myself out and being so anxious on the run up to it. I want to be able to go to a club and enjoy myself without having a panic attack and oh my WORD I would love to be able to go for a walk by myself without constantly trying to convince myself that strangers are judging me or thinking I’m weird because I’m alone or because I am just walking for fun rather than with a purpose to get somewhere. I am working on my anxiety on a daily basis, some days are a lot better than other days, but I won’t let it stop me from having fun, or from living my life. Not anymore, anyway!
I am hoping through a post such as this people can maybe see how hard it actually is to live with any form of mental health issue, depression isn’t as simple as ‘being sad’ and telling people to ‘cheer up’ who have depression really is not helping. Anxiety is more than ‘worrying’ about things so telling people to ‘chill out’ or ‘relax’ really isn’t helping. All you need to do as a friend, family member, partner or work colleague is to be there for the people around you and be supportive no matter what. If someone wants to open up to you, they will, and if they don’t, they won’t, just be a friend, be a support network that people who are suffering from any mental health issue craves more than anything. They need you to love and support them through their darkest days, so do just that, and don’t think that shutting down how they’re feeling will be helpful, as it really isn’t. That’s like going up to someone with asthma and telling them to breathe better and they’re being silly. You wouldn’t do that, would you? So why shut any other form of illness down to the person who is suffering from it?
Be kind, be helpful, be there and always spread love to people around you.
Lots of love and talk soon,