So you suffer from anxiety and depression.
Know this. Write this down. Say it to yourself over and over again:
I am not alone.
I know that is hard to believe.
Trust me. It is very hard to believe.
But it is true.
True like rain. Like Carrots. Like smooth stones.
You are not alone.
You do weird shit like put seven ice cubes in your spouse’s water glass. Because seven is a good number. A lucky number. The right number. The only number. And if God forbid you should ever put six ice cubes in her glass all sorts of unlucky bad bad stuff could happen for which you would never forgive yourself. And a small part of your brain knows how silly this is. How crazy. And it wants you to put six ice cubes in her glass to show the crippling forces of anxiety that they have no power over you. But then you just can’t. And you add one more ice cube and move on. You move on because dwelling with the absurdity of what you just did would only take you another step or two down the spiral, the light and life-sucking spiral where you feel powerless and alone.
But you are not alone.
You do weird shit like order the glasses in the cabinet by size and type and purpose. Well, that’s not too bad is it? You find yourself re-arranging the glasses when someone else moves them around because it isn’t right. Isn’t helpful for those who quickly need to find the correct glass. That’s not that abnormal is it? And you re-arrange the glasses on the rack in the dishwasher because there really is only one best way for them to be arranged on that rack and if someone else isn’t going to arrange them that one best way then maybe that’s your life’s calling. And so you re-arrange. And you feel powerless to leave the glasses in some random way because doing so makes you anxious and not just bothered-anxious, but your life can’t move on to the next thing without fixing this problem-anxious. And you know that you are anxious and you can’t do anything about it. Not one damn thing.
You are not alone.
You do normal shit like checking to make sure the doors are locked at night. I mean there was an armed robbery at the 7-11 around the corner in which shots were fired and woke everyone up and the getaway car raced right past your house and you called 9-1-1 and made a report so you better believe that you are going to check the doors. And check them again. And again. And now did you really check that door. Now you’re not sure. Better check it again. And again. And again. Maybe as many as seven times.
And this is just the tip of the OCD-ish anxiety-depression iceberg that ruled my life until some therapy and the correct psychotropic pharmaceuticals taken at the correct dose kicked in. How did I know they were working?
I stopped counting ice cubes. (And other stuff and in other ways, too.)
Some folks hate the idea of being on medication. They think it will make them a zombie. That it is a sign of weakness. That they will be judged for it. That they will never get off of it. That there will be side effects. That they won’t work.
And, yes, at least one (possibly more) of those things will be true for you.
There is always a cost.
But whatever is true for you know this: you are not alone. Others have wrestled with those concerns. Others have counted the cost. Others have been afraid. Others have had to make difficult choices. There is someone out there right now putting six ice cubes in a glass who is willing to suffer a small weight gain for that ability. Or nightmares. Or is up late even now writing for a BLOG. Or stuff that they still aren’t comfortable putting in print. There is always a cost.
Every “Why me?” is in reality a “Why us?” because not only are you not alone, but there is an awful lot of people, to varying degrees, right where you are: Holding those round pills and oval pills and tear-dropped shaped pills, mostly of very boring colors, and in the case of generics, really lousy aftertaste, and telling themselves “Will this one make things right?” or “Will any of these ever start working or what if they stop working?” or “Should I cue up some more Pink Floyd?”
Anxiety and depression suck specifically because of the great lie that they try to sell us: That you are alone in an indifferent world where the best you can hope for, well, is nothing. Because no one will ever understand and you will never get better.
Well, we do. And you can. Hang in there, please.