The Other One…

The Other One…

In October 2017, after many years of dancing in the dark, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

A formal acknowledgment of what I’d known for a long time, I suffer from depression. The Big D and me, rocking along, singing our miserable song.

Do you see what I did there?

I jumped on the depression bandwagon and the two of us set off into the sunset to begin our journey of medication, therapy and all sorts of other crazy nonsense.

We’d probably have left anxiety on the side of the road if he hadn’t stowed away somewhere in mental illness economy class.

He was happy to let D and myself ride business. It’s often been like that on the journey the three of us have been on.

I wrote a post once called, ‘Anxiety, Depression and Me’. If I’m honest, although a lot of the issues I referenced were, at least in part, anxiety related, I was only really writing about D. No wonder anxiety is rabbit punching away at me now, I obviously annoyed him back then. He will not be ignored anymore.

Depression has the profile, the charisma and the scary consequences, so it’s the one I fought hardest, the one I wrote about over and over and over and over again. It’s the one I now work hard to control everyday (most days, some days..) so it doesn’t control me.

Of course the reality, as it is for many people, is that depression and anxiety are like Laurel and Hardy, Dempsey and Makepeace or Plug and Hole. They come as a pair, they fuel each other and they compete with each other for your attention.

I’m sure for some people, for loads of people, they know their anxiety rules ok. For me, it’s only now that D is taking a break, that I realise how much anxiety likes to sneak around in the background and fuck me right up whenever he gets the chance.

Of course I help him more than I should. Drinking too much gives him a platform to perform, so does excessive sneezing, not enough sneezing and being around people. Especially people who are sneezing.

Like D, I don’t think anxiety comes as a one size fits all. For me, it comes as a foundation where I’m pretty much anxious at my very core most of the time. This is generally manageable and I’ve developed cunning strategies; e.g. hiding away from the world, drinking and sneezing.

At its worst, I struggle to breath, my eyesight becomes blurry and general feelings of nervousness become those of fear and paranoia. I also grind my teeth until my jaw hurts and I get so tired it physically hurts.

It makes me a selfish waste of space, an irritable piece of work and an irrational so and so.

I become unable to stop myself throwing hand-grenades at my own life. To date, although some have fizzled, most of these have failed to explode fully. It’s only a matter of time.

On the flip side I think it’s also helped me be more empathetic towards others, increase my own self awareness and make me better looking.

The last one is obviously a joke although I was proud to be the centrefold in a recent addition of ‘Basket Case Monthly’ proving, beyond doubt, that beauty is in the eye of the deluded.

Do you know that sometimes, even on the bad days, I still manage to get up, do stuff that people need me to achieve and fool the world!

I did that today. In your face world!

Despite the flaws, some I can blame on illness, some I really can’t, I’m also pretty amazing. Obviously I’m the only one that knows it and I’ll never be able to really believe it because that’s how I’m wired. This makes me anxious.

Here are some other things that make me anxious (just so you know):

1. Making lists about things that make me anxious.

2. The run up to working away from home.

3. The run up to coming home again.

4. Run ups.

5. The idea of ever having to get a proper job again (this is bordering on an irrational fear).

6. Crowds, i.e. more than one person (inclusive of myself).

7. Not being enough for you.

8. Not being enough for me.

9. The inevitability of it all.

10. Moustaches.

Weirdly, the song ‘Anxious’, by the Housemartins, actually calms me down, although thoughts about what happened to their original drummer can have the opposite effect if I’m not very careful.

Anxious, The Housemartins.

If you’re an anxiety sufferer then I know that whatever you achieved today, big or small, then it probably wasn’t easy. In fact, it was probably extremely difficult. This post is for you because you definitely are amazing. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, tell you anything different.

43 thoughts on “The Other One…

  1. That you’re here, writing, opening to us…reflects a character—a persona—within, with strength.

  2. I’ve been looking forward to you writing your next post because I love the way you write…but let me not just blow smoke.

    What you write is heart wrenching. I love it cause it’s so good but then I also don’t want you to feel like this….if you see what I mean. I’ve had depression. It’s not ‘feeling down’, it’s a curtain comes DOWN. Unexpectedly for me and then it’s ‘oh shit’.

    It’s something that gets treated with inadequate resources, my cbt councillor asked me if I wanted to go on a fun night out with her and her mates??? ‘Would that be a start?’ She asked…!

    I tried medication the first time, cause mine comes on periodically. Side effect = anxiety. Well I got that side effect and I was bedbound, heart racing, sweating, panicking, dying on the spot. Straight off the antis I came… but what else is there???

    Now what am I going to do..?

    But, You travel… you go away… you come back… all of this pushes you outside your limits. But you still do it. That’s incredible. THAT is strength. You are formidable. Give yourself a hand. Give yourself a break. Be rational…or try…cause you are great. You ‘DO’. You don’t use this to ‘NOT DO’. You try and you conquer…and I’m just so glad that very rarely do I have to entertain anxiety which on the one experience I have actually had nearly killed me.

    Where can I get that magazine from?

    Chin chin.

    1. You do provide exquisite feedback. Of course I know much of what you write is true. The trick is remembering it when my mind/body starts playing tricks.

      I don’t take medication anymore either. The upside of that is that I have some control over my life so long as I do the right things. The downside is that when I don’t do the things I’m supposed to the edge cones quickly into view.

      I’d say everything I have is manageable, it’s just harder than many people realise to do that. Some days more than others as you will know.

      On the upside, I haven’t felt the real force of depression for sometime now and my anxiety is never as bad as you’ve described yours.

      Chin chin right back at you.

      1. We can do this…it’s hard… but we have to and we can’t stop trying. And we won’t. Kick depression and anxiety up the bum. Keep writing. Write, write and write, right? You’re a talent.

  3. Phill, I love your writing style…so true to yourself and reveals the quick wit, deep thinker, and sensitive soul that obviously resides inside. I too have been there, and it is not a pretty fun place to be and I lived there for years and there’s no one thing anyone can tell anyone to pull themselves out of it, but please know that you are special and unique and needed by the world. I know the world and circumstances and life will tell you otherwise, but THEY ARE ALL LIES! You DO MATTER! Your Life IS SPECIAL! Thank you for baring your soul and keep it up, because if nothing else, believe it or not, whether people comment or not, you are helping people hopefully feel not alone. I do hope you smile for longer than an hour and forget the world and their opinions. Cause opinions are like buttholes….everyones got one! Except of course, mine, you should listen to mine telling me you are special and you do matter…why? Cause those are FACTS! 🙂

  4. Anxiety is such a wonderful condition, keeping me in fight or flight a good percentage of the day. I worry about everything. I hate crowds, I hate stress, I hate me, I hate you…. and second guess everything. Now the days where anxiety turns into panic attacks and I can’t breathe, swallow, think, move, I get pins and needles in my arms, and my heart beats a million miles a minute… well that us just added foolery. Makes life interesting I suppose. The daily grind is just that. I do a mini dance every time I get through the day without causing more chaos. Love the way you write.

    1. Thanks and hope you get through many more days without causing chaos, apart from maybe the occasional good kind of chaos.

  5. Everyone has left such deep, meaningful comments – which this post totally deserves, but I’m not sure I’ll measure up! This is beautifully written and so honest and heartfelt. I can totally relate. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thanks – this more than measures up. Thinking it might not probably confirms that you definitely can relate so your feedback mean all the more.

  6. I love how your personality is so apparent in your recount of anxiety and depression, particularly your humour. I know all too well the feelings you have described so cleverly. Keep on keeping on

    1. Of course you didn’t offend. I’m glad you read it and it made you laugh. Thanks.

  7. It’s unfortunate that these days talking openly about depression and anxiety is still seen as a stigma. Many people don’t even reach the doctor to get diagnosed, which is sad. I have my own battles with miss D, but fortunately I don’t have anxiety too. Can’t even imagine how it is to have both in the same time…

  8. Seven and eight are things I struggle with as well among other things. Kind of sucks being told you have anxiety and depression but it is nice knowing what is wrong so you can work on things to help balance it out.

  9. Raw, honest and such a great view into someone going through some challenging things. Thanks for making yourself transparent. You’re helping people without you really even knowing it.

  10. Anxiety and depression are real and can be really painful. Your post is really elaborate in discussing all the details. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Depression and suicide run in my family. But I have been medication free and living my best life for years now. It’s all about controlling my thoughts. I try to only think about what brings me joy.❤ Plus my dogs help! 🐾😇

  12. Like you I also get anxiety attacks. Mine gets triggered by deadlines and crowds.

  13. And a brilliant article with that topic! You are on the way to healing. The life before depression and you, are more than that feeling of anxiety. Choose that. Sending hugs! X

  14. I had taken anxiety meds and it was helpful. It was temporary. Hope you get better with time.

  15. I would not want to be depressed because I do not know how I would handle it. Then again, we do not know how strong we are until confronted with challenges and uncertainties.

  16. If I have too much to do , I get anxious and overwhelmed. Hugs to you.
    So moustaches really make you anxiious? That’s the first I have heard.

  17. Hey, after a long time I’m on your site. Good to see a new post. Yes, I also have anxiety. Pretty bad actually. I do agree with the points here and mostly the last thing you said, ‘let anyone else say you otherwise’, but sometimes it is way hard..!

  18. It takes great courage to be completely open about your depression and anxiety. And I can so relate to everything that you mentioned here. I have suffered from both for a couple of years in the past and also been on medication. It’s not a fun ride at all…

    Thanks for sharing something so personal with us. You are indeed amazing.

  19. This is so real, I have so many friends that have the same issues and I will share your post. Very real and truthful blog.

  20. Hey,

    Thanks for sharing such informative content. Things are well defined and the way of defining is really awesome. Most of the things were unknown for me.

    Thanks for sharing such informative guide.
    Aashirvad Kumar

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  22. Mental illness is no joke I’ve been through that before it kills you slowly but also we need to learn on how can we appreciate ourselves and give worth because we are worth it. Love your topic very realistic.

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