Navigating the Shadows: My Life with Depression and Anxiety

Hi there, my name is Jackie, a 50-year-old man who has suffered from depression for over four decades. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been living in an almost constant state of severe separation anxiety and depression. My depression journey began as a child, following a traumatic event that left a deep scar on my soul. I write in this blog weekly to share my experiences and to hopefully provide a better understanding of this disorder.

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The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.

- Psalm 34:17-18 (HCSB)

What are Depression and Anxiety?

Depression is a mental health disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in everyday activities. It is a heavy burden that weighs on the mind and the body, affecting how we think, feel, and behave. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a constant state of worry, fear, or unease, and it can manifest in various forms such as panic attacks, social anxiety, or phobias. These two mental health conditions often go hand in hand, making it difficult for people like me to live a “normal” life.

My Depression Symptoms

The symptoms of depression can be both emotional and physical, and they vary greatly from one person to another. My depression symptoms include the following:

  • Feeling sad or empty several times per week
  • Lack of interest in things others might find enjoyable
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Having thoughts of death or suicide

There are also physical symptoms, which for me include the following:

  • Feeling tired most days
  • Frequent changes in appetite
  • Difficult sleeping

My Anxiety Symptoms

Primarily, my anxiety stems from the traumatic event I experienced as a child. Because of this one moment of time, I have a constant fear of my wife leaving me. As for my anxiety symptoms, these include a constant worry of separation, irritability, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating.

Though not as prevalent, I also experience some physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath.

Impact on my Life

The impact of these conditions on my daily life can sometimes be debilitating. It’s not just about feeling sad or worried; both depression and anxiety have significantly affected almost every aspect of my life. Additionally, my self-esteem remains typically low. Furthermore, my work life has suffered as well. There have been days when I couldn’t even muster the energy to get out of bed, let alone go to work.

And to make matters worse, the stigma surrounding mental health continues to make it difficult for people like me to seek help. There’s a common misconception that those who suffer from depression and anxiety are weak or just need to “snap out of it,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, depression is a serious, life-altering condition that requires medical intervention and support from loved ones.

Wrapping Up

Over the next several weeks, I am planning to break down these barriers of misunderstanding and provide an honest, firsthand perspective on what it’s like to live with depression and anxiety. In this blog series, I hope to share my own experiences and insights, as well as discuss various treatments and coping strategies that have helped me along the way. It’s my prayer that as I continue to be open and honest about my depression, perhaps I can help others feel less alone in the battle against their invisible demons.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series, where I will share more about my personal journey and the turning points that led me to seek help. Remember, there’s no shame in admitting that you’re struggling. In fact, it’s the first step towards healing and regaining control of your life. Let’s fight this battle together.

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If you made it this far, please consider commenting below, subscribing, and also sharing on your social media sites. Most importantly, I ask for your prayers. I write this weekly blog as an outlet in my fight against depression. However, my hope is that something I write here may help others who may be struggling. If you would like to help with my battle against depression, check out my online Etsy store. Most proceeds are donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by dialing 988. You may also text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.

Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Used by Permission HCSB ©1999,2000,2002,2003,2009 Holman Bible Publishers. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

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