Anxiety is a beast in my chest constantly pushing upwards until there’s no room behind my ribs for the my own lungs to expand and I don’t know how to take a deep breath but I try to do more, be more, take on more, and more, until it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and I’m scrubbing baseboards just because my brain won’t shut off long enough for me to fall asleep and laying in bed staring at the ceiling literally feels like suffocating.

Depression is a specter on my back. It makes everything I do consume so much more energy. It slips wispy fingers into the back of my head and fills my mind with fog and dust. I can’t remember what I needed to do. I can’t even recall if I wrote it down. Everything in front of me seems so far away. Someone turned down the saturation in my world. I know I love my kids and my husband, but I feel like there’s a space between us all of a sudden and I don’t know how to cross it. I don’t even know if I have the energy to get up in the morning.

Anxiety is a constant battle for me, but depression is an occasional skirmish that always erupts into a war. The weight of both of them never seems like much in the beginning. I tell myself I’ll be okay, I’ll feel better after I’ve had a chance to clean this or organize that. But the cleaning and the organizing and everything else just doesn’t happen, and all too soon I’m at a point where I feel helpless and lost. And for me, feeling helpless is one of the worst feelings in the world.

A lot of people are talking about mental illness these days, and that’s fantastic, but for many it’s still hard. There’s so much shame that is dragged along with depression and anxiety. The shame of not being able to care for yourself. The shame of being weak. Lesser. Incapable. I shouldn’t be ashamed of my battle with anxiety and depression. I’ve never looked at another and thought, “If she tried harder her body wouldn’t make kidney stones.” But one of the reasons shame is so pervasive with mental disorders is that even though you know it, you don’t feel it.

Writing helps me to work through my feelings. I’m going to work harder to try to blog more often. November is NaBloPoMo and while that’s probably not the most attainable goal I’ll still push myself to do it. Because depression or no, anxiety demands to be fed.

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