Life is a work in progress: thoughts on fear, depression and anxiety

I’ve been depressed on and off most of my life. I’ve had moments of pure happiness and moments of pure darkness. I’ve felt like giving up and giving in so many times over and I’ve wished for it as well. Almost constantly in fact.

I’ve been trying to change. I’d say back to the person I was before but that’s not exactly possible. Once you break something, even if you glue it back together it is never like it was before. At least not exactly.

I want to take a moment and talk about fear. Fear is a bitch. It can make you do something so stupidly out of character and it can take over your life. Anxiety is fear’s best friend. Anxiety is a bitch that slaps you in the face and then says they’re sorry and then runs and hides for a bit.

I’ve realized that for so long I was fearless. So long I wanted too many things and dreams for myself. I had ambitions and ways of making them come true. I had goals and a path for myself. I was young and unjaded by the world I knew. I got to see a lot of the world around me and I got to see every country I thought of visiting in a few years span. I now have a laundry list of places I’d like to go but that’s a story for another time.

Now I am afraid of dreaming because of the disappointment. Now I am afraid of letting myself want anything so bad because of failure or disappointment of something else not going my way. Nothing in life that I really truly wanted has happened, other than traveling. And traveling is the only time I’ve ever truly been happy. But these days depression seems to be hanging ever so delicately in the balance that it becomes another obstacle in my way.

I’ve never felt like I’ve failed until now either. I’ve done and lived things I didn’t want, but they never felt like I really failed. Lately I’ve been dealing with this fear and anxiety – pretty badly in fact. I had left my job to go to graduate school, I felt a lot more alive and hopeful because I was going after something I thought I wanted. Another path. Yes, things could go wrong, but I wasn’t thinking about that. I wasn’t afraid of that. I was high on life, happy no, but hopeful that things were turning around. Then anxiety hit me and my old life collided with my new life. Anxiety crept in and it got worse as I was trying to get through school.

I started trying to do things that freaked me out more because, I wasn’t about to give in to being afraid. I didn’t know what it meant to fail or live in fear or have to handle anxiety. But soon enough we became friends. They started to take over. I changed a lot after that. I still am. I still try to deal in any way that works for the time being, but it makes me reel. And reeling only ever makes things worse. Living this way brought me to a huge realization that I had just a few weeks ago. I was giving into the fear and the anxiety. I was letting it take over. And maybe it had been a long time coming but it was definitely not an easy thing to deal with. This time in my life made me realize that I’m sick of acting fearless when I’m really pissing my pants. But if I don’t act that way I’ll crumble. And I know no one else will be able to pull me out of the dark.

So what do I do? Fake it till I make it? Will I, can I outlive the anxiety? I know fear comes and goes and it will always be present, but it won’t always take over. The take over is the balance or lack thereof. You see, I like the unknown. I like not knowing exactly where life will take me, but the uncertain I have a bit of an issue with. The how I’m going to get there part. Because lately… anything I do gets messed up. Anything I try blows up in my face. Obviously I’m not trying the right things, but I can’t always be choosy. I’ve been trying to be pickier about things when it comes to jobs and building a future for myself but it always comes back to, “I need to pay this bill so just take something.” That gets me nowhere and usually sets me back further than before. I can’t and usually don’t get what I want when it comes to most things lately. And now that I’m at risk of becoming a Rolling Stones song, sometimes getting what you need shouldn’t be that damn difficult.

Everyone at some point deals with fear, anxiety and depression. It seems now more than ever these are becoming life problems for everyone. Ever have an anxiety attack – yeah they’re not fun. Ever feel like you’re about to swan dive off a cliff into the dark waters below – fear. Knowing if there is enough water there to catch you is part of the uncertain, but not knowing if the water has piranhas or sharp rocks at the bottom is unknown.

We all have our moments in life of needing some help with things, but sometimes we all need a reminder that darkness is only accompanied by more darkness. Sometimes you have to bring in the light to make a change. I’m not a positive person and I’ve never been one, but I will always be a dreamer and a bit of a romantic. But I’m also a realist. I have been the cynic. I have been the pessimist. We grow and change as people through our lives. Some more than others. And the dark is a very real place. The abyss that is so easily set free into the corners of my mind is always a second away from a take over. Some people handle it better than others. And they don’t have to be at the mercy of the three headed beast. And others can’t seem to run far enough or fast enough to escape. But either way, sometimes you have to give in. And only once you stop fighting will you see the light. Only you can master your fate or conquer your destiny. But figuring out what you want and even attempting to get it isn’t ever as easy as you thought.

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