WARNING: explicit language, descriptions of anxiety attacks, and mention of suicidal thoguhts
Someone one day will go back and notice that this post happened almost two weeks two late and that it appeared on what is most definitely not a Wednesday, and it’s shit like that that we’re going to talk about today.
I like to be stupid (and think that it’s clever) and nicknamed this part of my life Performance Anxiety. It’s the conflict between high-performing anxiety and deep depression that forces me into a sort of cyclical stand-still. In essence, I really want to do the thing, but my body just won’t let me. But before I try to explain that, I’ll talk to you a little bit about how my anxiety and depression work separately.
My anxiety is one of my biggest motivating forces, and without it, I kind of forget how to be the person that I think I am. I’m fucking terrified of failure. I know that that’s a really basic fear that a lot of people have, but it’s kept me up for days at a time. It’s made me sick to my stomach right before big tests. It’s thrown me into terrible anxiety attacks in the middle of in-class essays so that I have to drive myself home from school right after so that I don’t pass out in class because anxiety attacks legitimately take so much out of me that it can cause me to pass out. Because of this, I’m incredibly organized and thorough and dedicated to school. The higher my anxiety is, the better I am at everything except for taking care of my poor, exhausted body.
My depression, on the opposite end of the spectrum, mostly manifests itself as self-loathing, isolation and loneliness, and exhaustion. I don’t experience feelings of worthlessness so much as feelings of absolute rage and hatred toward myself. When my depression gets bad, I yearn for the me who knew how to wake up at a decent time and the me that could write six papers in one night. I feel as though I’ve lost myself and can’t get myself back. Most importantly, fatigue is a huge problem with my depression. I sort of shuffle around all day and night wanting desperately to sleep but utterly unable to.
Both of those descriptions are pretty basic understandings of my own mental health issues, but let me put into terms easier to understand if you’ve never had mental health issues. My anxiety is like experiencing the high of taking a shit ton of Vyvanse and the crash all at once. My depression is like being a self-aware zombie.
Together, they make my life incredibly hard. When I’m experiencing both in tandem, I am incapable of doing everything I usually do to excel in school/speech/my job/etc. I don’t have the energy or the motivation or the know-how because my depression sucks all the life out of me. But I still feel panicked. I feel like I’m not good enough. I feel like I’m ruining my life and disappointing everyone that I love. It’s really hard to come to terms with.
Most importantly, it makes me bad at consistency. It makes me a bad student, blogger, employee (I still write), and Youtuber. This makes me really sad because I take a lot of pride in being really good at most of those things. And I love doing them. But I find myself more often than not apologizing for being late or missing things or turning in poor quality work. It hurts me to have to do it. But it’s become a really necessary part of my life.
Recently, I’ve taken a really big step in my life towards getting better and not over-doing things, and hopefully it’ll give me a lot more time to work on my mental health and also work on the things that are really important to me like my dreams, my job, and my passions. But until then, I’m just trucking on through the Performance Anxiety and looking to the horizon for the end of it.
Thanks for reading if you made it all the way through this. Let me know if you’ve had a similar experience and what you did or are doing to get through it!