I have anxiety and depression. It’s nothing new; I’ve been dealing with it most of my life. The official diagnosis is “Generalize Anxiety Disorder”. In short anything/everything can set off a cycle of worry and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. As I grow older and see that the stigma behind mental disorders is changing; I’m realizing that more and more people are also struggling with their own chemical imbalances. Depression is a weird thing. It can manifest as the person who sleeps all day; the person who sits by the window and watches the rain; the person who would do anything to stop the pain, to stop the sadness. I am none of these people. My depression comes from my anxiety. It comes from this all-encompassing fear of missing out. I am not depressed; I’m anxious. I am not depressed; I’m worried. I am not depressed; I’m afraid of missing out.
I will never be suicidal. I am the person who wants to be hooked up to machines until a cure is found. I am so afraid of dying that I’m afraid one day I won’t even leave the house. I’m told as you get older your personality quirks get stronger. First, it’s being afraid to run alone. Then it’s being afraid to drive on the interstate and so on. When everyday things become triggers, it’s too late.
I am so afraid of missing out on life that I’m worried I’ll never actually live. I won’t even let myself stay mad at anyone in case something happened to them while we were in a fight. I worry about something happening to Sterling all the time. I kiss him when I leave for work even if I’m late in case it’s the last time. I worry that he’ll be a child climbing into bed saying “I miss Daddy.” And I’ll have to hold it together while I say I miss him too. I worry that I will never get a lifetime with my family. I think the biggest worry is that I will get a lifetime with my family and in that lifetime I will show Sterling a thousand ways a person shouldn’t be. I don’t want to be the reason he weakens in the face of his own demons. The reason he doesn’t actively search for coping mechanisms. The reason he thinks it’s fine to be so stressed and anxious all the time that the absence of those things feels uncomfortable.
Recently I finally got to the point where I myself didn’t want to live like that anymore. I didn’t want to think of something bad happening to me and the people I love all the time. I tried to get help; tried to get medicine even though I didn’t want it. Well, the doctors didn’t want me to have it either. They suggested talk therapy but that requires a level of honesty and commitment I’m not sure I’m ready to give.
It’s funny because some of the most positive, inspiring people I know have started therapy over the last year. I’m starting to think that if we’re all searching for what makes us happy, then happiness isn’t the norm. We all want to be “normal” but maybe it’s the pursuit of happiness, not the happiness itself that makes us that way. Maybe the fact that we’re all asking these questions means we’re all afraid of missing out. I think the people that don’t ask the hard questions about their existence seem to be proud of their shortcomings. Proud of the fact that they are living on the surface. I think being delusional must be nice. I would love to not wonder why or what if.
I think a lot of times as people we feel isolated in our struggles because it can seem like everyone around you is doing better, or more when in reality we are all just out here living our lives. I think the ones that seem happy without any help are just better at pretending.