Living with depression and anxiety can be… unpredictable. One day you feel the ground underneath you as flat and stable. Your daily tasks, while not always pleasant, are at least manageable. You end the day with a feeling of accomplishment and a modicum sense of control over your life and how you spend your time.

And then… a switch is flipped.

You wake up and the ground has shifted while you were sleeping. Now every step is uphill. Now mirrors are twisted angry things. Now the world outside your front door has taken on the quality of a horror movie. Suspenseful music plays in your head and parts of your brain cry out, “Don’t go in there! What are you thinking?” You try to get a grip on something but everything slides through your fingers with the insubstantial nature of a dream. Your skin feels pulled back to reveal the soft tissue underneath. The very air around you scrapes across your exposed muscle and the feeling is so painful you want to scream. Your heart feels weighed down, thick and heavy. As if it is pumping muck and sorrow instead of blood. In these moments even the mundane feels insurmountable. The urge to curl up around your broken heart and sink back into bed can be overpowering.

These bouts come on like storms. Perhaps if I knew how to predict the weather better I would be more prepared. For now I try and schedule my life with breaks, so that I can collect myself, or crumble if I need to. I have learned how to manage stress better. I try not to trigger an episode by expecting to be able to do more than I can handle. One of the most important ways of dealing with my anxiety and depression I have learned is to accept that these episodes will happen and that is a part of my life. There is no magic pill, or diet, or schedule, or therapy, or person, or house, or job, or combination of all these things, which will completely alleviate my symptoms. I can learn tricks to ease through them and avoid triggers, but in the end, these terrifying episodes are a part of me. They make up the person I am and they mold my actions from day to day.

But they are not the only part of me and they do not control me. I have goals. I have dreams to pursue. I have ambitions. I have children that I adore and I would do anything for. I have determination. Yes, it would be so much easier to slip into a coma or barricade myself into a small apartment and never leave (the inspiration for my short story Atticus) or to check out of this life altogether and hope the next round I get better cards. But, I don’t want to do that. I want to try and make the best life I can with the time I am given and the cards I have now. I want to say, this is something I live with. Instead of saying, this is something that has taken my life. I want other people who live with similar invisible restraints, to have happiness and achieve the things they want as well. I want to have some sort of control and not allow my life to be ruled or unbearable.

For the past three days I have had anxiety attacks. I didn’t workout yesterday, again. I was able to take care of most of the things, but not all of the things.

I hope today will be better. I honestly don’t know yet if it will. I have just woken up; I am not even out of bed yet. I felt the urge to say something about this and so I grabbed my laptop and started punching keys. I will let you know tomorrow, how I did today.

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