Stop worrying. Chill out. What’s the matter with you?
I have dealt with depression and anxiety for around two years now, and people still ask me these questions. How am I supposed to tell them that I can’t stop worrying, that I don’t know how to chill out and that everything is the matter with me? That I cannot turn off the endless stream of thoughts, that it sometimes it feels as if my own brain is attacking me.
The doctors describe me as a patient with significant anxiety…but really, I feel like I’m just going a little crazy. It feels like people look at anxiety as a modern thing, something that’s new and can’t be easily understood. Some people describe it as putting a label on ‘being sensitive’, that ‘everything has a have a diagnosis these days’.
I often feel like people in my life can be caring…but only for a short time and only if it doesn’t interfere with their own lives.
There are times I haven’t left my bed for 3 or 4 days. My thoughts have turned against me. My mind battles to stay alive. I hear an overwhelming voice telling me my friends hate me, that they’re talking about me, laughing at me or plotting against me.
At first it feels like my friends care, check in and worry about me. But soon it feels like I’m a burden and I hear things from them that aren’t helpful.
I have used dissociation as a way to cope when I feel I can’t, due to previous trauma and abuse as a child. I first did this as a way of protecting my mind. To me, this feels like I’m in a bubble and I can’t quite touch and connect with the real world. Everything feels a little bit hazy; I can look into someone’s eyes and yet feel like I’m looking far into the distance.
I’ve lived with anxiety and depression along with an eating disorder pretty much as long as I can remember, but understand that that doesn't define me: I am ME.
I have never really felt stigmatised because of this, and I’m very much a 'take me as I am' person, at least on the outside. Recently though, I had my first blatant experience of stigmatisation, and I’m so angry and shocked I feel I need to speak out about it...