I will never be grateful enough for my anxiety and depression.
That’s what I remind myself.
My anxiety and depression function well. Top of the class—if there was a grading scale for such things, which there isn’t and there positively should never be. It’s mental illness, not a spelling bee or a discus event. Luckily, I do therapy and Celexa because I have zero skills for phonics or field competition.
I have high-functioning anxiety and depression. So I’ve been told and which probably appears in a medical note somewhere. Except in the notes of the therapist who told me I wasn’t depressed because I showered every day. Before he recommend that I work out more. After we’d talked about running. But he meant lifting. Bro. Then showed me his bicep and told me to feel it.
Didn’t go back to talk to that particular mental health professional. The ugly white patriarchy is snarlinglingly pervasive, friends.
The gratitude should come from the gift that I am able to shower every day. I can go to work and take care of my son. That could change tomorrow. That is not the life so many others with mental illness survive. They lose hair because it goes unwashed. Which might seem incidental when they lose jobs and partners and children and their lives.
I make it through. I’m not pretty doing it. But I’m lucky enough to manage. Do I cry at work? Sure. I’m somehow able to do it in bathrooms and storerooms and can bounce back quickly and no one is the wiser. Except when I get caught and then I have to explain. That’s a fun day.
Certainly, I won’t assume to define anyone else’s depression or anxiety. For me, the depression is feeling alone, unseen and worthless. Anxiety is feeling that everyone is watching and judging and that the worst of every second is imminent. And then feeling worthless. Yes. It is as fun as it sounds.
Work families are like home families. You spend enough time with people, even if you love them, personality quirks coalesce and then separate. Aggressively.
My anxiety and depression do not tolerate teasing. It’s silly. Of course it is. “Do not tolerate.” I sound like a boring behavioral guide posted in a low-end dog training course handout.
By “do not tolerate”, I mean I freak out. By the outdated and moderately offensive phrase “freak out”, I mean I cry and spiral into my dark place. Because someone teased me. Teasing that I know was meant in simple, silly, sisterly way.
And the panic hits like a punch in the gut from a jealous, perceived-overlooked sibling.
I’m right, my mind screams. I TOLD YOU SO!!!! Every awful, negative, hurtful, self-deprecating, harmful, reductive, critical, crushing thought I carry in my head, every hour of every day, is real. That easy, breezy giggle meant to break up a tense and challenging work afternoon breaks me.
Ridiculous and unreasonable. What adult behaves like this? What about the grade school trope where we tell kids to laugh along with teasing? Laugh along and don’t take yourself so seriously. Laugh first, laugh loudest and they can’t hurt you.
Anxiety and depression don’t understand that. They don’t really adhere to dinner table or playground rules of “they tease you because they like you.” At least that’s how my brain bubbles react.
They freak the fuck out.
A joke about talking too fast or looking like a lost sheep and I’m in so much physical and emotional pain that I get light-headed.
Personality like that, and it’s a curiosity why I avoid all social gatherings and friendships, huh? You should see me on New Year’s Eve. Hint: you’d have to be under my cover to find me and also I’ll be sleeping.
That’s okay. I’ve come to accept that. I’m not the butterfly. I’m the moth. Flying alone, bumping perpetually into the light that I love but can’t quite access.
I’m okay. I continue to strive to be grateful for my particular strand of anxiety and depression that keep we upright and moving forward, when I’m not flat on my back or sliding down my wall on my way there.
But there’s carpet to catch me. Of course, I’ll end the day with a rash when the pile is too rough.
Because I’m so sensitive.