So, I had super mixed feelings writing this post. Part of me felt like doing a hair flip. And the other part of me felt like I wanted to crawl in a hole and cry.
Let me preface this by saying that I do not work at a school, or for the government, or for any institution where this could cause me to get fired…I think.
So, I am a very open person (hence, the public blog I write about my Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder) and this applies to work as well. I help a lot of our employees (who technically are my students) who suffer from anxiety by providing them with anxiety fidgets and other coping skills to help them combat their issues throughout their employment, and honestly in life in general.
A student who is preparing for their licensing exam approached me this week about coping skills. They said, “How do you combat all of the adversity you face? What do you do to help keep your anxiety at bay? I’ve seen you keep your cool in times that I could not.” I was awestruck, and it took me a hot minute, but I conjured up the best response i could. I simply stated, “Time. Just time. I’ve been dealing with this for as long as I can remember and have been diagnosed for over a decade. I figured out how to handle my shit over time and by making A LOT of mistakes.” There is no recipe that works for everyone when it comes to anxiety and/or depression. I gave him all of the tips and tricks that I could think of. All of the little things that help calm me down. The deep breathing, the positive mantras, the essential oils, the rescue remedy, everything. I don’t know if any of it will help him, but he doesn’t have 12 years before his exam to learn how to wrangle this beast, so I armed him with the quickest and most effective solutions I could think of.
But that’s the part that NO ONE remembers. Last week, I wrote about wearing a mask ALL THE TIME and the one time I take my mask off, it’s like I’m a leper who should be burned at the stake. Each year that I get further away from my cutting, my medication issues, my weight issues, everything, the stronger I get, but the more forgetful everyone around me gets. They forget the struggles, they forget the issues, they forget all of the stuff I hide on a daily basis. It’s almost like people think that I’m fixed. I’m cured. I no longer have depression and anxiety.
Now, I’m not a complete selfish idiot. I know it’s human nature to forget what’s not right in front of us, but for me, my depression and anxiety are NEVER not right in front of me. They NEVER go away. My symptoms, my struggles, my issues, my insecurities; they’re all right there. And they always will be. I truly don’t expect people to think about my issues all the time, ’cause damn would that make for a super depressed world. I just wish people knew that this doesn’t just go away. That for most of us, this will NEVER go away.
So, no. I’m NOT a survivor. I’m a W A R R I O R.