Anxiety and depression suck. I live my life with my stomach in knots, with a hollow feeling deep in my chest. Part of what I have been dealing with for the past ten years, and probably longer, has been crushing anxiety. I scratch my head a bit at how this has arisen. I managed to make my way through university, graduating with distinction from university (achieved not through native intelligence, but through a lot of work), and doing quite well in grad school. I have been a diligent public servant earning performance reviews that ranged from good to great - always volunteering to work on the most challenging files. I was a little high-strung and moody maybe, but very much functioning.
Now, though, if I have to do the dishes and shovel snow on the same day I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. I feel like I am constantly, and not very successfully, treading water, only managing to get my head above water for a brief gasp of air before getting hit again and again by wave after wave. This drains me physically and emotionally leaving little for anything else.
With my wife sick and a young daughter who I want to have a normal and happy childhood, not one that is dominated by her mother's and father's illnesses, I feel like I'm letting my family down, which in turn makes me feel worse.
This all sounds fairly self-pitying, and I suppose it is. I don't often speak of all this because I don't like to be perceived as a whiner, but I want people who are suffering from the same type of thing to know they are not alone, to hang in there. I want others to know that people suffering from depression and anxiety may seem self-indulgent and lazy, but these afflictions are as debilitating as any physical ailment. Indeed, humanity is blessed with the ability of abstract thought. We take for granted our ability to control our thoughts, but depression and anxiety work to distort our views of ourselves and of the world. For those reasons, depression and anxiety seem the greatest betrayals of ourselves and we seem powerless to change that.
Sometimes I despair that I will never feel happy again, but I deeply hope that I will and that's what keeps me going. I also know I have little choice. My family needs me and that, maybe more than naything, keeps me putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how hard that may be to do.