I’ve been criticized in the past for using my anxiety and depression as a crutch, as a get out of jail free card if you will. At first, I was annoyed. After all it wasn’t my choice to have mental illnesses. And there are things that are challenging for me because of them, even with the medication and even after all the years of therapy.
Yet recently, with the help of said therapy, I’ve started to understand this criticism. As many people, myself included, have often pointed out, no two mental illnesses are the same. Even if you struggle with anxiety and depression like I do, your experience, your treatments, and your struggles will all be unique to you.
So when I’m criticized for using it as a crutch, it is because my simply saying ‘anxiety’ or ‘depression’ isn’t saying much. It isn’t saying how it is unique to me, how it impacts me. Apparently word choice matters and not elaborating on what those illnesses mean to me prevents others from understanding me and it also prevents me from connecting with others.
It can be scary to dig into what anxiety and depression mean to me. Even though I try to do that here, it is different when there isn’t the buffer of a computer screen in front of me, but instead when I have to find the right words in the moment and in person.
It, like everything else associated with this fight, will take time, and hopefully those in my life will be patient as I find the words to describe the struggles I face and the demons I fight everyday. All I can do is try. And after many stumbles and wrong words, maybe someday I’ll find the right ones.
And maybe you will too if you are experiencing the same struggle.