Living with anxiety and depression can be incredibly taxing on the mind and body. You probably already knew that as you also, like me, deal with one or both on a daily basis. For those of you lucky enough to be reading this and have no idea what that feels like, let me illustrate it for you.
Imagine life with anxiety and depression is like sitting on a fence in the middle of a hill. Everyone else is at the top of the hill enjoying life and all it has to offer. But you fell down the hill sometime during your life, and now sit on this fence instead. The fence is uncomfortable and even painful to sit on, but you’ve been here for so long that you’ve grown used to the pain. Yet, you often want to get off, because life on this fence is unbearable. Especially while looking up at all the people on the top of the hill enjoying life so much. After some thought, you realize that there are only 2 options to get off this fence, either up the hill or down it.
Down the Hill
Let’s start with the bad news. You look at the bottom of the hill and realize the easier of the two options would be to roll your way down the hill. You think about it all the time, how much would it hurt? The answer is a lot, as the slope is not steady, and is very jagged. You’ll most likely break all the bones in your body on the way down, suffer numerous cuts, and land at the bottom, unable to move and slowly and painfully bleeding out until you ultimately die. It certainly would not be the best way to go, but it sure beats sitting on this fence for your whole life. Or so you think because you have your friends and family scrambling on the top of the hill to find a rope, ladder, anything to pull you back up. They would never be able to reach you if you fell to the bottom, no one can. However, where you are now, you can just barely not reach this rope that is just dangling right there in front of you. So you stay on this fence just a while longer.
Up the Hill
Life looks so wonderful at the top of the hill. You might even remember what it was like to be there. Your friends and family are all worried sick about you sitting on this fence, trying their best to find any way to pull you up. The rope they dangle right in front of you, just short that you can’t reach it is all they can offer without having been on the fence themselves. You look at the bottom and face that you’re just not ready to fall and that you don’t want to be on this fence anymore, so the only way is up. It will be grueling and probably just as painful as the way down. You’ll have to use every ounce of your strength to climb this slope while making sure you don’t slip back down to the fence. It might take months, years or even your whole life, but you’re determined to get off this fence and back to the top of the hill.
Either up or down, both are options at this point, because you just can’t take this fence any longer. Depression has made it a cold rainy day, making sitting on this fence incredibly painful. Depression turns the top of the hill into an unachievable dream. Depression has made the shouts of joy coming from the top sound like laughter that you’re stuck on this fence. Depression has made it so this fence is more comfortable than either up or down. You think it can’t get any worse, but Anxiety has made the wind gust incredibly strong, shaking the fence every chance it gets. It’s made it so there is a lightning rod attached to the fence in this terrible weather, torching you every so often. There are so many things that just want to knock you off the fence, down the valley below. Yet you just cling to this fence for dear life, unable to go either direction.
The thing is, unbeknownst to you, you are not alone on this fence, there are millions just like you, clutching to this fence every day. How much easier would it be if we all just held onto each other, or made a human chain up the hill. Just know that if you’re suffering on that fence, there are always people here to help you from falling to the bottom of the hill.