Depression and anxiety go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong—but in a less fun and more volatile kind of way. I guess it’s more like buying a second item you don’t really want at a BOGO sale because you just can’t buy a second item at a BOGO sale.
I was 13 years old when I checked out of the doctor’s office with my buy one get one free diagnosis. The depression had hollowed me out and the anxiety took the opportunity to fill up all the empty spaces with panic and worry.
Living with Depression and Anxiety
In the 20 years since then, I’ve gone into remission and relapsed many times over. While the anxiety has been a constant, the severity of it ebbs and flows with the seasons of depression. Along the way, my diagnosis has been upgraded, downgraded and changed. But there is one thing that has been consistent about my depression that I think is important for people to understand: It never came when I expected it.
It never came when, from the outside, it might have appeared reasonable for me to fall apart. No, when life became thick with hardships that were difficult to navigate, it never showed up and I remained steady in the storm.
When did it come? It came when life should have been happy or, at the very least, blissfully average. When everything was going right and there was no reason to be sad—that’s when the darkness encircled me and I retreated into its grasp, letting the familiarity of it convince me that its where I belonged.
Beyond the Surface
It doesn’t matter if someone has everything going for them. It doesn’t matter that, whenever you see them, they appear to be fine. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t make sense. The chemicals go where they want when they want, and when they scatter—when they tip the scales in the wrong direction—it is messy, isolating and dark. And trying to find justification for it is most unhelpful because it just happens.
Depression and anxiety are part of me. I’ve learned to cope and to get the help that I need when I need it. We aren’t exactly friends but we go together. Forever. Shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom.
Codi Darnell lives in Metro Vancouver with her husband and three kids. Her writing has appeared on CBC, Filter Free Parents and Vancouver Mom. Find her blog at www.helpcodiheal.com and follow @codi.darnell on Instagram.
This article was included in a Mental Health series, the collaboration was intended to keep the conversation going and to encourage readers to look beyond the smiles when it comes to maternal mental health.
You can view the other articles here:
Mom’s Mental Health- OCD, by Amy Libby
Maternal Mental Health- ADHD & Anxiety, by Christine Coughlin