Depression is the constant feeling of sadness, misery, and self-doubt. It’s when you feel hopeless, and when you feel like no one cares. You feel like there’s nothing going for you, and you want to be isolated from everyone and everything. You tend to push people away, because you’re scared that they might hurt you. Depression affects how you feel, how you behave, and can lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems. It can affect your friendships, and relationships. Sometimes you feel empty, and sometimes you feel lost, and sometimes you don’t feel anything at all… Just numb, and lifeless.
Depression is one thing, and anxiety is another. Anxiety is caused by over thinking, and worrying. You feel scared all of the time, and paranoid. You feel tense, and overwhelmed. Sometimes you might have trouble breathing and your pulse may speed up. All you might think about is people close to you dying, because you worry too much. You worry about every little thing. You may feel that people are talking about you, following you and that people are out to get you. It can make you shake, and it can cause for you to have fits in your sleep, and so you feel like it’s taking control over you. You may not be able to sleep or focus.The dark thoughts might come creeping in 100 times stronger at night. It could keep you awake at night, because you might have constant nightmares that you don’t want to see again. You may feel the whole world is against you, and this paranoid overwhelming feeling doesn’t stop there.Anxiety and depression affects different people in different ways depending on why and how it was caused, but that’s how it affected me.
Here is a powerful poem by my friend liberty explaining how anxiety has affected her.
The essence of me doesn’t matter
‘There’s nothing beautiful about it. It’s not romantic laying awake at night staring at the ceiling, not noticing raindrops falling through the creased gutters in your eyes. Trembling hands and sweaty palms aren’t an overreaction, when the ground shakes beneath you because in that moment nothing will stay still for it.
Sitting here as the tear radiates towards my hands shaking while you hold me tight. I tried to fight. One more night. No. Not any more. It doesn’t just rule me you know. It rules you.
You are the light but not at the end of the tunnel because there’s nothing dark about you. Every time you turn on the TV, a bleep overrides the sitcom you’ve been watching for months now because of constant interruption. Interruption doesn’t mean your mum in the mornings or an annoying advert on YouTube, it means me. It means restless days, sleepless nights. Loud screams, I’m not keen on making you deem me to just shut the hell up.
And I love you, but anxiety doesn’t. It loves nobody but it loves you too muc and BANG BANG BANG at the back of my head, chest caves in, diamonds shatter my heart as the waves come crashing through. My breathing like those white horses rushing onto the sand.’
My favourite part of this poem is when it really draws you in halfway through, when she says “I love you but anxiety doesn’t, it loves nobody but it loves you too much and BANG BANG BANG, on the back of my head.”
It really is like that, anxiety completely rules you, and controls your thoughts, it really is a loud noise in the back of your head, and anxiety does love you a little too much.
I will upload the video of her reading this poem soon.
CLICK HERE for a part of part of my bands song ‘6 past 9’. This song was about a nightmare I had after being rushed to hospital after the worst anxiety attack that I had experienced a few months ago. It must be weird for someone reading this blog post who hasn’t been through anxiety. I remember when I couldn’t understand a friend who had it, and was scared to go outside by themselves. All i can say is that it’s one of them things that you’d have to go through to fully understand. Hopefully, it will be more clear within my songs to feel and understand the tension within the psychedelic, trip rock vibe, and the fear within the lyrics. I know that some people feel a bit uneasy when i sing, because my haunting ideas shine through my lyrics, performance and vocals. I feel that music is the only way i can fully describe an event or a situation using all my senses in the lyrics, and creating an atmosphere to match the story.
In my diary I write poems and songs nearly everyday that elaborates on how I feel. I do this every day, because mental illness affects you every day. Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days, just like my eye condition where some days I can see more, and everything seems so clear. Then there’s other days where I’m tired and stressed, so my vision gets worse, as my eyes feel lazy and drained. I know for a fact that since my anxiety started at the start of this year, my vision got worse as well. Sometimes I don’t even want to open my eyes because they are so tired and strained, and some days I even forget that I can’t see very well. My worst fear is losing my vision, and this ties in with my anxiety, because with ‘Rod cone dystrophy’ you don’t know if your vision will gradually get worse in a few years time, in 10 years time, in 30 years time, or tomorrow.
Do you remember in my last blog where I stated what the professor had said to me?
What he said to me years ago has completely shaped my life. Those powerful seven words made me the person I am today. Think of someone’s nasty words that have been said to you or a traumatic event that you went through.
Did it shape your life in a different way? Did it cause for you to be the person you are today?
Now think of what you do to overcome the bad things that have been said, or the bad things that have happened in your life. What’s your coping mechanism?
For me, my biggest healer is my music.
When I pick up my guitar, or when I write, all my worries suddenly disappear. When on stage I pretend no one is there, and it’s the best feeling. When I express troubles through my art I feel like I’m in a different world, and suddenly I feel like people are listening, I feel like I can talk to people through music to get my message across, because music is the most powerful thing in my eyes.
The first step to healing yourself, is accepting the illness that you have. It’s hard at first, especially if you haven’t been through it before. It’s hard when you think you can fight with it yourself. But it’s even harder when it just doesn’t go. You feel like the anxiety and depression isn’t going to fade, and all your emotions seem to over exaggerate.
From my experience, I’ve learned that I couldn’t have done it by myself, and without the amount of help I’ve gotten from family, friends, DSA, counselling, student support, doctors and tutors. I wouldn’t have gotten back to my normal self. I’m not saying it’s completely gone, but I feel a lot better in myself knowing that there are people who are willing to help.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. Some weaknesses may turn into strengths, and vice versa. People around you may hold strengths that you don’t have. Learn from them. We will always have weaknesses but this doesn’t make us weak at all. It gives us drive and motivation to turn them into strengths. Remember you are never losing, you are experiencing.. And remember your never losing, you are always learning.
I always say that I’m glad that bad things have happened in my life. I always say that I’m glad I’ve had anxiety and depression, and that I’m glad that I suffer from ‘Rod Cone Dystrophy’. Do you want to know why I’m glad that bad things happen, and why I’m grateful for my problems and illness’?
It’s because I know that everything happens for a reason, and I tend to turn the bad things to good things, and I do this a lot with my music.
My rare condition motivates me and inspires me to be creative. Some of my lyrics are unusual because I can see things in a different ways to others, because of my eye condition. I used to be ashamed of not being able to see because I didn’t know anyone who had a condition like mine, but I soon realised that I have it for a reason, not only does it inspire me to write, but it inspires me to help people, like I am doing through this blog. I can’t wait to give speeches at local schools to raise awareness for invisible illnesses and social dysfunctions.
How will you turn your bad experiences into good?
Is mental illness bad after all?
Why don’t you destroy that voice in your head and prove it wrong? Prove your anxiety that you’re strong through your talents, and don’t let it bring you down because the only thing that’s weak is the anxiety, not you.
Let your illness inspire you.