I saw a quote the other day about depression and anxiety, it goes like this:
“Depression is when you really don’t care about anything.
Anxiety is when you care too much about anything.
And having both is just like hell.”
An image quickly developed in my head and I made a sketch out of it. It is a little like having two animals controlling your mind and affecting every aspects of your life and your body.
This animal slows you down, and certainly drags its feet on everything. If possible, it would just not move an inch. All it wants to do is to do nothing at all. It does not care if the world is falling apart, as a matter of fact, it secretly wishes that the world does fall apart and ends right there. Everything seems gloomy and going in slow motion. Day in, day out, week after week, month after month, year after year.. It does not care if time slips away because nothing really matters.
The Road Runner
This animal rages on the road, it needs to know everything in advance and fast. It worries about anything and everything only because not knowing is a scary thought. It also wants to control everything so that it is ready for any surprises. Talking about surprises, to avoid any, it would have thought of everything – early projection, and over-analysing. Due to the large amount of information it has to process, it is constantly racing against time.
The Unlikely Pals
Despite the extreme differences, the tortoise and the road runner sometimes pair up to co-exist. It is the oddest kind of friendship, as though their main objective is to sabotage (or motivate) each other to the darkest corner of hell.
Imagine driving a vehicle with the tortoise controlling the left side and the road runner the right. The right side of the car would be racing at 120km/hr while the left side of the car road-hogs at 20km/hr. There is hardly a midway. As the driver, it is plain frustration and exhaustion just trying to soothe the two animals.
Real Life Situation
In reality, it is a constant struggle. The morning comes, and we really do not want to get out of the bed, because the tortoise just wants to sleep in and not deal with anything else; it has most of the control of our physical body. With the lazy eyes still closed, the road runner urges us to get a thousand and one things done in an hour; it seizes control on most of the mind functions. To get up or to sleep in?
Finally, we give in to the nagging road runner and drag our heavy body out of the bed. Making every simple decision is painstakingly challenging. It goes like this, check schedule, tortoise says later, road runner says now and listing another 10 items to deal with right away. It is a tug-of-war every time, and each time it is just pure stress.
We really want to just take a break and lean towards the tortoise, but there seems to be a time pressure exerted by the road runner. The longer it takes to finish one task means more tasks need to be completed in shrinking time frames. The more we try to take on, the more exhausted and add weight to the tortoise’s back.
Whichever animal we lean on makes us feel enormously guilty and lousy about ourselves.
Simple is the New Complicated
In the state of depression, even basic tasks are too much when anxiety comes and plays guest or worse still, decides to stay for good. Simple things like to eat or not to eat becomes very complicated. To eat now or later? If eating now, there would be 2 more meals later, perhaps postpone to later to combine meals. To cook or not to cook? If cooking, there would be washing, drying and keeping dishes away, if not cooking, it means going out to get ready food. To eat or not to eat? Too much hassle, perhaps not eating is a better solution. One simple decision takes so much energy; the resistance to make any other decision grows rapidly.
Talking Can be Hard
Up to a point, talking becomes difficult. Thoughts must be processed in order to talk, shh.. if we are not careful, we may wake the road runner! Talking becomes too much work, so we choose to be quiet. This is not the best option, because it is just depression and anxiety marinating in each other, and more than often, the thought process becomes distorted and false thinking starts to take form.
Leading Cause of Disability Worldwide
According to WHO, there have been about 350 million people of all ages suffering from depression globally. “Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.”.
That’s a staggering number, I think. Depression can happen to anyone, and it is not a lifestyle choice that a person chooses to adopt. It is debilitating and paralysing. It is not a sign of weakness, but the vulnerability as an emotional human. So, please pay attention to people and help raise awareness to mental health issues.