I think it’s time we had a little chat, don’t you? You seem quiet at the moment. I don’t trust you enough to think that you’ve taken to hibernation, but a girl can hope.
You’ve been lurking, in some way, for such a long, long time. I’m slowly starting to understand, from the presence of your friend, anxiety, that she’s had her fair share to do with the way you’ve behaved. My ignorance of what anxiety meant allowed you to grow, and slowly take up a firm residence in my brain. I feel foolish, now, for not realising how the two of you sat together and conspired against me for all this time.
Seeing as you’re taking a little down time, I’m going to have my say. You never really let me do that before. You were so LOUD. I understand, now, that my low self-esteem, the crippling doubt, fear, and inability to believe in myself or let myself do anything that anxiety created was a rife playground for you. You saw your chance, and you took it. You took a chance in a way that I would never let myself, so congratulations for that, I suppose. Thanks to your dominance, I never even realised that your friend anxiety was a problem. That was some crafty teamwork; she fed you my fear, and you turned it into a miserable, soulless party all of your own.
You’ve taken me to some pretty dark places, the hospital included. You’ve had me screaming on the inside, but too exhausted and apathetic on the outside to do anything about it. It was your idea, presumably, to start self-harming at a young age. It was you who kept me on weekly prescriptions of my medication, should you decide that an overdose was a better option than facing the realities of my life. You did quite a bit of that, and then you roped anxiety in to tell me that I wasn’t really ill, I was just making it up and choosing to act this way.
You completely dominated my life, and I watched, helpless, from a tiny glass room inside my head as you grew bigger, as your diagnosis went from ‘moderate’ to ‘severe’ through to ‘chronic’. You grew in confidence and stature whilst I cowered with my back to you, occasionally turning around to ask you to please shut up for a bit. Sometimes, you did. I suppose causing that much havoc is pretty tiring. You ruined me.
The one thing I have over you, depression, is being able to see where you are now. You’ve quietened down in a sulk as anxiety stretches her limbs, shakes down her hair, and takes root in the spot from which you once piloted. You know, I think she was always really in control. You were like a parasite. You latched on to my weaknesses, sucked their blood, fed from them. You grew tendrils that snaked around every part of my brain. You darkened my world view, turned it inwards, so all I could see or care about was what you were doing to me.
You took away the little sprouts of identity or personality that anxiety had let me grow. You tuned everything down to grey fuzz. You made me hate myself. Sometimes I couldn’t even stand to look at the words I was writing on a page. Your voice disgusted me. You sneered every time I looked in a mirror. Any time I tried to enjoy myself, you’d smoothly slither up and ask, ‘Are you sure?’. It was as though you took things from my brain; things I enjoyed or was good at, rational thought, motivation, and fed on them. You chewed them up and spat them out into a corner I couldn’t reach. Sometimes, you made me feel as though I was an alien; out of place, unfeeling, exhausted, confused.
I don’t know what it is that’s causing you to recede. As I said, I don’t trust you. You’re sneaky, and you’re a user. If it wasn’t for anxiety, would you even have been here? She opened the door to you, like a bad knock-knock joke. She opened the door, but you kicked it off its hinges anyway. Perhaps you have grown tired. Maybe you’ve started to realise you were never supposed to be here in the first place, that anxiety lent you her puppet, but soon, she would want it back.
There’s no point in me bidding you farewell. Even if you don’t come back, the damage you inflicted is lasting. You spurred on my negativity to a point where I couldn’t see anything positive, any reason to do anything. That doesn’t just go away. You may have curled up and settled down, but your tentacles left scars on the surface of my brain, as well as the faded white lines scattered across my arms.
I know you’re still there, and you still like to make your voice heard. You glibly reassure me that no, I can’t do anything, and no, I’ll never be able to. Your voice is a satisfied purr. You know you’ve left your mark.
What you might not know is that I know it too. I know where you’ve been and what you’ve done. It did me so much damage, but I watched you the whole time. I couldn’t ever get out of my own head, so I know your moves. I always knew what you were doing, but I never knew how to stop you. I still don’t, actually. I’m sure you’re gleeful hearing that. You probably can’t wait to swoop in and pick up where you left off. I’ll know, though. I’ll hear you coming. Maybe I won’t be able to stop you, maybe I won’t be able to ignore you. You can come back and settle down, if you like. You can keep trying.
You can keep trying, dearest foe, but as long as you are, I will be too. As much as you’re both part and apart of me I will treat you as such. I will accept your presence within me, but I won’t accept that you are me. You are not. You can have a look, if you like. I’m still here. You didn’t win. Perhaps it isn’t about winning, because if you didn’t win, I’m not convinced that I did either. It’s a stalemate. Maybe you simply just didn’t know what else to do with me. You used up all your tricks, so you’ve shuffled off to think of some more.
Know this, though. As you’re thinking up some more tricks, so am I. As anxiety takes her throne, I’m taking her arse to therapy, and you’re coming too. Perhaps that’s why you’ve quietened down. You think if you’re quiet enough, I’ll forget about you. Nice try. You’re coming with me.
It’s your turn to be taken on a journey you don’t want to go on.
You can hide and you can protest, but you should have thought of that before you took up residence in my brain. I mean, you’ve been watching the entire time. You must have noticed how I didn’t give up, how I kept asking and hounding for someone to help me. Maybe you thought I’d get frustrated and give up. Maybe you were so busy thinking up your next scheme that you didn’t notice me. You got complacent.
That’s the trouble with parasites. Often, they can’t survive without their host, so it looks like you’re stuck here. Now it’s your turn to feel uncomfortable. Unwelcome.
Enjoy the ride, my friend. You aren’t getting off this wagon any time soon. You dragged me down into the pits of hell, and I’m dragging you right back up to where you don’t want to be. That therapist’s chair is going to scar, damage, burn you just like you did to me. I guess you didn’t realise this was a two way street. That’s a pity, but your mistake is my gain.