You know that anxiety and depression are different animals, don’t you? You say YES but do you really believe it?
Anxiety is that awful thing that caused you to stop living your life! It made you opt out of life and curl up in your bed for weeks on end. It gave you panic attacks when you went to shopping centres and other public places, like your clothesline or mailbox. It made you forget where you parked your car. It made you scared to go anywhere or talk to anyone, even though you are a social and out going person. It made the outdoors seem too big for you and it took your breath away and at times made you feel like you were going to die! It caused self doubt and fear like you had never before experienced.
Do you remember those feelings? Those anxious feelings that stopped you from living? I’m asking you this because you don’t really feel those feelings anymore. Your anxiety has gone! You are no longer ruled by that fear. You suffered for a few years but no more! You won!
Depression, on the other hand, is different. It causes you to be sad a lot of the time ….. most of the time, actually. But it doesn’t seem to stop you from being with people. In fact, when you are with people, you feel okay – good even. Unfortunately, Mandy, sometimes when you get home, you feel lonely and sad – as if nothing good is happening in your life! You know there are good things happening but it feels like a wet blanket is covering you, smothering you. Looking for the good things is a struggle and it wears you down. You feel tired all the time but your mind won’t let you rest.
Depression is something that you are familiar with, Mandy, because it has been your companion off and on for about 40 years. But remember ….. it is NOT your anxiety! Your depression is an illness that has been able to be helped by medication, for many years. The anxiety you suffered was caused by a medication you were taking for a comparatively short time. Remember – NOT the same!
Mandy, you really do need to remember this difference, because tomorrow when you begin a brand new course of medication for your manageable depression ….. it does NOT mean that you have failed! After almost a year of being med free, your anxiety has gone but you have discovered that you still have that depressive illness you always had. Nothing new in that! It’s a familiar acquaintance that you know can be managed with medication. Remember, what can help one illness doesn’t necessarily cure all illnesses.
You haven’t failed! You have won because you no longer have anxiety disorder any more. You were allergic to a certain drug and it caused unbelievable anxiety. You are not going to be taking that medication for your depression. You will be taking a different medication, the correct medication for your depression and that will help you to win over depression! Winning over depression will look different to winning over anxiety. It might look like managing it with meds and feeling happy and in control of your life again. You might have to take those meds for a short time or a long time or a forever time. Either way, being able to live your life is winning!
So, dear Mandy, keep remembering that anxiety and depression are two different beasts and you can beat them both – using different ways. Remember that you are a winner. A winner with a life to live.