A Letter of Regret From Your Anxious and Depressed Friend

It’s like she took the words straight from my heart.

talkingthisandthat

Dear Friend,

I was not always this way.

I did not always hide away from the general public for months or weeks at a time. Once I was quite confident. I occasionally felt happy. I had a full time job and I could face customers with no concern. I would chat to people over the phone, make an effort to see friends, be interested in daily life. I could cope with negativity. Overcome it, even. I wouldn’t let anything bring me down because I had something inside me that made me keep going out there, into the world, facing it all.

But sometimes, Friend, things happen. Sometimes just one thing. Sometimes many things. The courage to face these things is strong at first, at least stronger than now. But depending on luck, or coincidence, or fate, or opportunity, eventually the voice of that courage for some people is quieter. Weaker…

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the semicolon project

This blog post is not about AS, but it is about depression, anxiety, and suicide. I want to share this with you, because mental illness is such a big part of the silent, chronic disease world that we live in. We are not alone.

hpwritesblogs

FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

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Chronic Illness Changes You

IMG_2822I’ve always been a caregiver — that’s just who I am. Mothering has been ingrained in me since the days that I used to help care for my brothers, changing their dirty diapers and babysitting. Now I am the one that is being taken care of, and I hate it.

I hate being dependent. I hate being a drain on society and my family. Unable to work or support myself, I have just filed for disability. I’ve worked since I was fifteen, trying to be independent – to be able to buy and pay for things I needed or wanted all by myself. I feel like a failure because I have become dependent. Because I am 30 years old, broke both financially and physically, and being supported by my parents.

Suicide is now something that I contemplate regularly, and it’s not from the pain of the disease or the depression that comes with it, but from the feeling of being a failure. I feel like my life is a waste of my family’s resources. I contribute nothing and take everything. Now, don’t freak out. I won’t actually do it, because I know that it would kill my parents. But, I feel that this is something that many people with chronic illnesses go through and can relate to.

We hate being dependent and needy. We just want to be productive members of our families and of society again like we once were. There is a deep shame that comes with being young and disabled, especially in this day and age when we can see all of our acquaintances conquering the world when we open our social media pages.

Chronic diseases dash all of the hopes and dreams that we once had for ourselves as we watch our bodies crumble and destroy itself from the inside out, and we are no longer able to care for ourselves – as we lose our identity as a caregiver to those in need and instead become the one in need of care.