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The Friend That Doesn’t Go Away: Dealing With Depression

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For years I fought it, I tried so hard, yet I had lost numerous times, more than I count actually. But then, I began to become friends with it, became friends with her. Well, we are more than an acquaintance but less than friends, so we are somewhere in the middle when it comes to our unhealthy relationship. Who is this friend, you ask, her name is Depression.

Depression has been with me since I can remember, she was first introduced to my mind at the age of 10 years old when I was constantly being bullied by classmates and feeling like a tiny little microorganism under a microscope that didn’t matter to the rest of the world. She was basically my monster, at least at that time she was a monster to me.

As I got older, she stuck around and somehow maneuvered herself into the position as an acquaintance. And we began a turmoil of a relationship that I would never want to put on my worst enemy (don’t have any enemies, but you see my point) through the gut-wrenching relationship I had gone through with my depression. And at times it was extremely bad that I found myself on the other end of things, and it was not pretty. I can honestly that I feel sorry for my mom, for my therapist, and for the friends who witnessed the scars and the aftermath of the crap I had done; but I am truly grateful that they were there for everything that I was enduring.

Although most of my life, depression was that monster that hid in my mind and tied me to my bed most mornings, made me scared and anxious to go to school the next day, or to even speak to another person; somehow, I had managed to become friends with the monster in my head. And to be honest, it was a scary thing to commit to, but I knew that I wanted to be friends with her instead of having her as an enemy. Trust me it was the right thing to do.

Coming to the conclusion of being friends with depression, it is still a rather awkward situation. Why? Because she is not like most people’s depression. She doesn’t come in episodes, she is actually there every day, every moment of every day. Some days she is heightened, other days she just chills out in the back of my mind making paper mache masks for some masquerade ball that she will never attend due to my social anxiety keeping her company. Nevertheless, she is there. And as I write this post, she is more heightened this time, and all I can think of doing is just lay in bed with Sherlock on Netflix, drowning out my horrid thoughts until she decides to calm down once more.  And that is perfectly fine because I know that my depression is trying to cope with certain things, trying to compartmentalize every aspect of my mind and the scene around me.

Having a friend like depression there with me every day of my life is something that I feel like would never have happened if I hadn’t gotten the help I needed with a therapist and having the support from family and friends, but I am glad to have my friend, depression, there with me, because she has brought so many creative poems, stories, and songs, even if she didn’t mean to bring any harm.

**If you are dealing with depression, or know anyone who is dealing with depression, please see a therapist, or call the national suicide hotline: 1.800.273.8255

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The Safe Haven: Where Social Anxiety Cannot Reach Us

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Away from the civilized society, away from the sounds of the bustling city streets, and cars honking continuously, away from the mass crowds of human souls; this is where those like us with anxiety retreat. We retreat into our own habitat, into our homes, locked away, or out into nature where no one can reach us, and where all of our anxieties have disappeared for the time being. It is something that we have been known to do.

It is hard to determine what actually causes anxiety because for each person it is different. It can be caused by traumatic childhood memories, or it could be just a part of their personality. Mine is more along the lines of being part of my personality, and also part of what I had gone through while growing up in a town that looked down on me. And to this day, my anxiety can get pretty rough, but there are days where I can handle it very well, then there are days where I cannot handle it.

For those who do not live with social anxiety (which is what I have), here is an example of a situation in my everyday life: I am at a function (book reading, work, or even a get-together with co-workers, etc.) and on the outside, I seem happy and cheery, however, my voice slightly shakes just as my hands, and my mind is racing a thousand miles an hour, trying to look for an exit. Sometimes those around me, who know about this, will check on me and will say something to calm my anxiety or just make me laugh. And I am grateful for when they do that. However, there are times where I cannot handle it and there are times where even someone with good intentions will be unable to calm me down. Another example: At work, the phones are constantly ringing, and I talk to a lot of people throughout the day. While on the outside I seem okay, and somewhat normal, on the inside my heart is racing, and the thought of answering the phone makes my chest tighten.

On the days where I or anyone else out there that also lives with anxiety gets to the point of being unable to handle our anxiety, we retreat. In the first paragraph, I had described that we retreat to our homes or into nature, and that is very much true. Like everything else in life, everyone is different, and how and where we retreat will be completely different. One person will retreat into nature and just go camping for a few days, another will just stay inside on a weekend and not talk to anyone.

I have done both of these, however, for the most part, I end up staying at home, where I can stay in bed or chill out in a different part of the house with a puzzle, a book, movie, or music. I will wear my pajamas, dance like a fool, or just focus on a puzzle for hours, enjoying the silence, enjoying the fact that my anxiety has been put to sleep, at least until I venture outside and be surrounded by a lot of people. Throughout the years I have learned to manage my anxiety, and sometimes it does get the best of me, however, I have learned to embrace the chaotic part of my mind that makes me want to turn on my heels and run for the hills, thus making my life with social anxiety somewhat easier.

Do you have social anxiety? Do you have a different type of anxiety? If so, how do you cope with it? How do you retreat?