It’s really hard for people who don’t suffer from depression or anxiety to understand people who do. Josh has been with me for nearly 14 years and he still gets perplexed by my irrational thoughts. And let’s just be real, even I don’t understand my own thoughts sometimes.
I don’t want to say I can’t control it. I can. It’s just really, really, hard.
I am always coming up with analogies that might help Josh understand me better. Because there’s a lot he doesn’t get. But I can be pretty off the wall sometimes. Like the time I told Josh I was having a lot of flaky boogers. And he was like “what are you talking about??” And I said “you know, the kind that look like fish food!”
So when I try to explain what it’s like on one of my bad days I think of The Neverending Story. When Atreyu is trying to cross the Swamp of Sadness with his horse Artax. The horse just can’t make it. The swamps slowly drag him down into their depths. No matter how much Atreyu yells and pulls and cries, Artax just keeps sinking.
That’s exactly what depression and anxiety are like for me. Before, I was clueless about what was happening. I just thought my life was suckier than everyone else’s and I would always succumb to the Swamp. It was awful.
But after years of hard work, I can recognize my triggers. I know when the swamp is trying to drag me down. And I’m usually able to resist. But there are times when I let myself get consumed.
At that point, nothing anyone says can change my mind. Josh has learned that he can’t “fix” me when I’m in my moods. If he tries to point out why my thoughts are irrational it just pisses me off. If he tries to remind me that ‘this too shall pass’ I want to punch him.
I have read several other blogs of people who write posts for ‘people who love someone with anxiety’ or whatever. And they usually have good advice. But I think it’s just different for everyone. Since most of my problems stem from insecurity, I just need to be loved when I’m having a swamp day.
Just say nice (sincere) things to me. Don’t try to fix me because you can’t and I don’t expect you to.
My rational mind knows that I’m being ridiculous. But once I’m covered in the swamp, it’s hard to get back out. I need a hug, a prayer, and sleep. And by the next morning, it’s a brand new day.
Gonna turn my enemies into friends
What’s broken gets stronger when it mends
When we all come together, this song will play
We’ll sing, it’s a beautiful day
It’s gonna be my beautiful day
-from Beautiful Day by Joshua Radin