I do this thing. Outwardly, I’m fine. I’m the same fun-loving, laughing, everything-is-great Nick that most people know. They don’t know. And that’s fine. I don’t let them see what’s going on under the surface. Hiding from nearly everyone. They ask how I’m doing, I say I’m great.
What else am I supposed to say? That inside a part of me feels dead? That I feel like I’m failing in most areas of my life? That the stress and anxiety of providing for my family is tearing me apart? That I feel like I’m a fraud as both a husband and a father? That always worrying about other people’s problems has left me neglecting myself and my own needs? That my creativity has been sapped and my will to create is gone just like *that*? That I’m filled with anger and hurt from things I try to forget from years gone by? That trying to give the life that my wife deserves and my kids deserve feels impossible because I don’t have any love for myself?
Is that what someone wants to hear when they ask “how are you doing, Nick?” Who has the time for that? So I say “great, I’m great. Things are great.” And I move along with my day–pushing my feelings and worries and stresses and anxiety and what feels like depression (but what do I know about depression, I’ve never had it, I’m not that guy) and failures down. Down as far as I can push them. I’ll deal with you another day, I say. And I keep pushing. I keep smiling. I keep putting on the face to the outside world. That mask, I guess you can call it.
I want to reach inside. Grab hold of those feelings and rip them out. Tie them in a nice little bow, drop them in a steel can and light them on fire–to watch them burn, see them disappear for good in a cloud of smoke. As the last embers simmer to nothing and the cloud of smoke dissipates, the weight of those stresses, anxieties, depression, hurt, anger, failure lift away. That is my want. Easier said than done, right?
Instead, I need to get to work. To find the root problems. To dig in, come to realizations I probably don’t want to come to. That I’m gonna want to fight and reject. I have to find the causes to find the solutions to my hurts. I can’t be me until I find ME.
Feeling similar? Let’s keep the conversation going on my Facebook page.
4 thoughts on “On Depression, Anxiety, and Internal Battles”
I’m right there with you, Nick. I’ve lived most of my life full of anxiety and depression. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Hang in there!!! And, if you find a way to burn it, please share your trick with me!!!
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It’s certainly not fun! If I find a way to burn it, I’ll be shouting that from the rooftops!
You’re definitely not alone in this department although I’m sure feels that way when you get stuck in those spiral thoughts. I think sometimes we answer with, “Great!” because we want to feel that way and we’re looking to distract ourselves from the darker places inside. I feel like these feelings keep us from our greatest successes which is more than frustrating, it’s infuriating, and yet so difficult to conquer. Keep breathing and enjoying the things that do make you smile. Mad props for writing about it and starting the work of digging into yourself!!
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Thanks Beth! You’re not alone has been a message I’ve gotten from a lot of people in the last few days, and it’s true. And I know. It’s nice to have people to talk to who get it. It shows how many people really, truly care.