Trying to keep things at bay

“It’s okay…” my fiancé whisper softly into my ear. “It’s okay you’ll be okay. You are strong, I know you are. I know you’re fighting every day.” He continues as his hug tightens and all I can do is cry.

“This isn’t you. These aren’t your thoughts. You don’t want to do these things. I don’t know what goes through your mind during this, I don’t understand it. But I know it’s not you.”

These are the words I hear low, gently into my ear as he rubs my back and lets me hug him as tightly as I can. And all I can feel is a mix of calm and love clashing strongly against the waves of guilt and shame.

This is the scene that follows after my fiancé learns I’ve succumbed to the weakest part of me and brought harm onto myself.

We do not live together yet. Something we are hoping helps me in the future once I’ve changed my current environment. We’ve been together for ten years now, and this coming September we are getting married. He is everything to me and I can’t imagine how much these things must hurt him. He believes in me more than I believe in myself, and for now this is enough.

I suffer from severe anxiety and mild depression. Or at least this is what I was told two years ago by a psychotherapist. I went to him about four times before I decided I didn’t like him. Since then I have been trying on my own. I am stubborn but I’m also fearful for my future. Afraid to get worse. Due to numerous events in my life, I am currently working my way up one step at a time.

But what is anxiety? Honestly, I don’t even know. Everyday I’m trying to figure it out. Everyone who deals with this has different issues, problems and fears. One thing that might stand out for them doesn’t stand out for someone else. It’s subjective to the person going through it. I can’t say what works for me would work for someone else. I don’t speak for them, nor would I dare. I can’t tell you what it is or isn’t but I can tell you what it is for me.

It’s a contradiction. The biggest kind there is.

It makes you feel large amounts of happiness over small things, and then absolute sadness over something else just as small. It makes you stop breathing and cry while at work, forcing you to go to the washroom and hide in a stall until you can breathe again.

It makes you feel like everything is so amazing and so impossible at once. It terrifies you. It destroys you. It makes everyday tasks like waking up the worst feeling in the world. It’s endless thoughts about nothing and everything all at once. Things that will never happen and things that happened over ten years ago, gnawing at you as you try to sleep, eat or watch TV.

Like a tunnel with only half the lights working; it’s a darkness that never ends and only lightens every so often.

For me it’s having a great day, only to have one sentence shatter it completely. It makes you twitchy, heartless and cold. Yet warm, loving and so emotionally in tuned.

To me it’s a blessing and curse.

Once I finally realised I had a problem it made me more reserved, angrier and sadder. Shamed and disgraced and broken. At the same time I had also succumbed to what I consider my greatest weakness and that was to harm myself. It took me months before I could finally admit this to my fiancé. He is the first person I told. And the person who guides me every step of the way.

With this I was able to open up to a few people (none of which are my family) and this showed me that there are people who care deeply for me. Who worry with me about my health, if I’m eating (another issue I have) if I’m happy, if I am able to keep writing and painting and reading (things I had been unable to continue for the longest time). But they don’t pity me. They check in here and there, and that alone means the world to me.

It’s my curse because I know it doesn’t go away. It needs to be controlled and distracted. It needs to be fought against every day. Though I have gotten better, I am still at my worst on some days. Just this past November I ended up harming myself again. And though it had been almost a year since the last time, to me, that space of time is an improvement.

This is just a fraction of what I can explain in words. And it’s always changing for better and for worse. It’s a 24/7 job, trying to keep these things at bay.

For me distractions work greatly, whether it’s getting up and doing something else, to calling my fiancé and telling him to talk about anything, or breathing deeply and drawing a countdown from 20 in my mind on an imaginary chalkboard.

I can’t tell you what this all really means because even I don’t know. But I’ve come to learn that you are not alone. Just taking one step at a time, no matter how small it is, is really helpful.

-Anonymous