Living with Anxiety and Depression 

Today you are strong enough to push yourself out of bed, shower, and make it to work.

I’ve come to notice that half the time people think anxiety and depression is made up, and that you’re faking these feelings for “attention”, or that you’re just being “dramatic”. They would never know that people like me have gone years hiding it, and putting on a fake smile as to not draw attention to how they really feel. Most people could never understand that some days leaving the house is the hardest part, and that living with anxiety doesn’t mean you’re afraid of everything or everyone. Sometimes it means you’re invited to parties or shows, but you hate going places alone, and you hate crowds of people, so you never show. Then eventually the invitations stop coming. It means, you only eat from places that offer online ordering options, because you hate speaking on the phone. So you never try the new restaurants around town. And sometimes it means, you spend all night watching Netflix at home alone. So you never meet that man or woman you can potentially fall in love with.

It’s Friday again, but most of my weekends are spent in my room, or on the couch. My parents don’t say it, but I know they’re ready for me to leave and be on my own. They wish I had a nice boyfriend to spend time with, who will eventually propose…but I hardly ever leave the house unless it’s for work or small errands. I don’t have friends to go on trips with, and my birthdays are more often than not spent alone. I don’t meet new people, and I’m trapped in my own thoughts so it makes it hard to trust or be vulnerable…I’m always pretending to be ok, but no one really sees me.

I like my space, but sometimes it gets lonely. I’m working on getting out more, but when I do, I feel so exhausted. No amount of sleep seems to help make me feel alive, so when I say I’d rather stay in, people laugh and just assume I’m the “old lady friend” who hates staying out late. They don’t understand it’s exhausting convincing myself I’m actually wanted, and that they aren’t just pretending to be my friend. They don’t understand how skeptical I am of people, and that I’m socially awkward.

I wear my heart on my sleeve, so people take advantage of my kindness, and eventually they move along to someone else they can use. So I keep my distance, and remain guarded. People that meet me say I’m great, and funny, and cool, but eventually they stop reaching out and we drift apart and don’t speak. So I go back into my shell feeling like people hate me, and I end up wishing for just one best friend who will stick around. But they never come. Even now, I’m up at 4:36AM because my mind is racing anxiously…This is what’s it’s like living with anxiety and depression.

– Chelsea Ciará