always the same – 92-96% right-brained. The right side of the brain is the control center for
creativity, imagination, intuition, art, feelings, visualization, daydreaming, etc. When I make
observations, typically they stem from captivating visuals that spark some sort of feeling. I
vividly remember beams of sunlight breaking through autumn leaves, scattering bright rays of
light on the ground. I remember it because of the warmth that I feel on my face. The image is
cemented in my mind as goosebumps make the hair on my arms stand on end. I remember it
because I think that what I see would make a dynamic painting. When I finally make it home I
begin to paint.
It is through this colorful filter that the world around me is viewed. That is what the
chemical makeup in my brain dictates, so that is how my surroundings are perceived. But, what
if someone feels no warmth on their face, despite the fact that it’s there? Some people drive to
work or stay at home with their kids in a world that is seemingly devoid of warmth and color.
Some people can’t hear the contagious laughter around them as they sit, all alone, in a room
full of loving family and friends. This is how anxiety and depression have affected my life. My
struggle isn’t a personal struggle, but it is for my mother, who has struggled and fought against
it for 8 years.
mentally, emotionally debilitating monster that is anxiety. I have listened as she has fought to crawl out of the suffocating dark of depression while the people around her continue to smile, interact, and enjoy the color of life. Despite a degree in Psychology and multiple classes specifically devoted to counseling, I can’t completely understand what she is going through, but I know that it is real. It is impossible for me to fully relate to my mother or anyone who fights
anxiety and depression every day, but I know that it is there, looking them in the eyes wherever they go.
There are a few things that I know that help me to understand. A combination of formal education and experience with my mother have brought me to these conclusions. (Keep in mind that these conclusions are based on my own experience. Each situation is different, so observations and solutions will be different for different situations. The key is to get up and never stop trying.)
The fight is real. It is physical. It is mental. It is emotional. Just as patients for any
disease may feel drained after overcoming or fighting a sickness, individuals with depression
and anxiety feel drained after days, months, and years of fighting. It is NOT just in your head.
Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Sure, there are mental preparation activities and
exercises that can help, but anxiety and depression are not imagined struggles. The perception
that you are the only one struggling does not make it any less real. Please do not let the feeling
that your struggle is not real bring you down. It is real. Fight it.
You have to allow for help. Maybe people cannot relate to or do not fully understand
what you are going through. That does not mean that people cannot help. Friends and family
are going to want to help you and that means they may invite you to activities. You may not
feel like participating. Do not do anything that is going to make you feel worse. Absolutely do
things that may make you feel better. This may require you to put yourself out there a little bit,
and that’s okay. Just be sure that your positive health and well-being are your priority when
deciding whether or not you want to participate in activities. Try things out so that you can find
something the works. This does not mean that you are going to find something that works
every time. Be patient and fight.
You are not alone. Whether you find solace in the company of others who can fully
relate to your struggle or in the company of supportive friends and family who do not share
your struggle, this conclusion remains the same. You are not alone. I know that you feel that
you are alone, but, I cannot emphasize enough that you are not. People care. People are
there. People want to help and support you.
Whatever your struggle may be, whether it be anxiety, depression, or both, please do
not stop fighting. Your fight is as real as the fight against any other disease or ailment. For
some of you depression may be in the rear-view mirror, but the fight to stay ahead continues.
Some of you are staring this hulking monster dead in the eyes. Keep staring. Never back down.
You can do this. Fight.
A note about the Author
John and I have just recently become friends and I have been impressed by the way he perceives the world and his talent in expressing himself in writing. I must admit, when I told him that if he felt so inclined I would love him to write something for the site, I had my doubts if it would be something that patrons of the site could connect to. But when I read it, I felt his personal life experience and could really tell he knew what he was talking about and that he felt true sympathy for those he was addressing. I am proud to call him my friend and I hope he will favor us in the future with more inspiring words.
John lives in Logan Utah with his wife and two daughters.