The Thing(s) I Never Talk About

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I don’t remember being anxious as a kid. I didn’t know what depression was. All I knew about drug addicts was you didn’t want to grow up to be one. I knew more about alcoholics than I would have liked to at a very young age as alcoholism runs rapid through my family.

As a teen, I think I was often depressed and didn’t know it. Refused to believe it would probably be more accurate. I also believe it is an affliction that runs deep through both sides of my family and is never talked about. On one side, I have tragic proof of it as we’ve lost family members to suicide.

I’m more open about my issues with anger in the past. They’re easier to talk about. Anger is more socially accepted than depression, anxiety, addiction and suicide. Bringing it up doesn’t make your average person uncomfortable. As humans, we all know what anger feels like, there’s no shame in it or stigma to it.

But with all those other issues, we shove them in a closet and never speak on them. As if that’s any sort of tangible solution to the problem. Hoping they’ll magically fix themselves if we pretend they don’t exist. Especially as males, we view them as weaknesses we can’t disclose. I’m as guilty as the next guy.

There is days that just have a blankness to them. Where everything seems tinted in gray and I have no motivation to carry out even the simplest of tasks. It’s difficult to bring myself to do anything or even be around anyone. I find joy in nothing. It’s like I feel nothing at all, except a smothering blanket of subtle sadness about nothing over me. I don’t know what the diagnosis for that is or if one even exists.

That’s part of the problem, the feelings are difficult to even describe and a large part of me feels like even if I’m able to put them into words, nobody would be able to relate. As if I’m unique and nobody would understand or has dealt with the same exact thing. All I know is there is days where it is absolutely emotionally crippling. I’m not the person who stays in bed all day, I simply wouldn’t allow myself to do so, as much as I may feel like doing exactly that when it’s at it’s worse. I’d like to be clear in the fact I’m not criticizing anyone whose depression hes left them in such a state, I’m simply stating my story.

There is nobody in my life who I’ve tried to conceal the fact I’ve struggled with drugs or alcohol from. In fact with little due diligence you could find out about it here on the internet. However, I’m not as open as many other recovering alcoholics or addicts and I don’t know why that is. I know it sounds ironic considering I’ve literally published posts about such but when I say open about it, I mean in my day to day personal life. And there’s certainly people I’d rather not discuss it at all with.

To be clear, both Narcotics and Alcoholics anonymous gave me a life and a God back. There’s a chance I might not be here to write this without those rooms and the people in them and I’m forever grateful.

Anxiety is something that has seemingly gotten progressively worse for me as I’ve gotten older. Socially, more so than anything. I was so outgoing as a teen. I liked meeting new people and being out and about. I don’t ever recall being nervous doing so. In fact, I remember being more of an extrovert, if anything. I remember points where I liked being the center of attention. I used humor to fight through a lot of repressed feelings but I also genuinely enjoyed making people laugh.

The older I get, the more introverted I become. Perhaps that’s natural. But part of it is because of the increased social anxiety as time has gone on. I say all of this and I feel like I’m soliciting for sympathy, as if they’re all fictional afflictions I’m using as a crutch. I assure you, I wish that was the case.

I’ve seen what anxiety medicine does to people. I’ve watched Xanax turn people into human slobbering zombies. For me personally, it’s a non option. The closest thing I’ve been able to find to a solution is getting up and moving. Jogging with headphones on at a steady and healthy pace has been a saving grace for me. It’s much more difficult for depression to hit a moving target.

For all of the afflictions and conditions I’ve mentioned above, just having someone to talk to who’s actually willing to listen and can relate on some level is one of the best things you can do. At times, it’s the only thing you can do. Sometimes hearing your irrational thoughts out loud is the only thing that’ll help you realize they’re irrational.

Also, we as a society tend to view alcohol as something to bring you up when you’re feeling down and that may be true in the short term. But many people fail to realize alcohol is a depressant and it’s not doing you any favors in the long term. Especially for anyone with symptoms of depression.

As bad as it all can be to deal with some days, I know there are people who have it far worse than me. My not even diagnosed depression and anxiety is a drop in the bucket compared to what many people suffer from. I just wanted to speak openly about something I find it extremely difficult to. I know no solutions come through suffering in silence.

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