Those of us with anxiety and depression often find it hard to explain to others what it feels like. Separate, they can be described as your heart beating out of your chest, and being slowly suffocated by a pillow, respectively. But experiencing both creates a whole other nightmare-ish world.
Those who have never experienced either depression or anxiety may not completely understand where sufferers are coming from when attempting to describe how they feel. Worse is the stigma attached to sufferers.
A survey from the National Mental Health Association found that 43 percent of Americans believe depression is because of a "weak will" or "deficit in one's character." Similarly, people also view anxiety as a sign of weakness, even though anxiety is the most common type of mental illness.
That's why cartoonist Nick Seluk, creator of the comic strip called The Awkward Yeti, came up with a way to show what it's like living with these crippling disorders, especially for people who can’t entirely empathize. He literally brings to life depression and anxiety, using personified versions of each disorder.
"I have depression and anxiety disorders."
Depression and anxiety may not be present all the time, but they're always lurking.
"And even with the medication... I have to force myself out of bed."
These disorders can be so debilitating that simple tasks are agonizing.
"And I can't rally the energy or motivation to do anything."
You literally get the life sucked out of you.
"And my mom will say things like..."
The worst part is that people, even those close to you, don't understand how severe the symptoms are.
"Depression and anxiety are teammates, and I'm the opposing team."
Depression and anxiety are a team, and will always outweigh you.
"Their one and only goal is to drag me down."
Unfortunately, they usually succeed.
"They make me paranoid, they make me feel useless."
And it doesn't always work when you try to shut off those voices in your head.
"And they steal all my energy and motivation."
And when they steal those things from you, it's like your world is bleak.
"However, sometimes they go on vacation."
When the symptoms of depression and anxiety go away, it's like someone opening the curtains to let the sun shine into a dark room.
"I never know how long the vacation will last..."
And sometimes, when they symptoms go away, worrying that they'll come back makes things even worse.
"And I get..."
But without symptoms, it also becomes possible to conquer the world with your newfound and reclaimed energy and motivation.
"I get stuff done while they're away."
It's almost like you're living a double life.
"I never know when they'll come back..."
In those few hours or days, or sometimes weeks or months, it's important to pull yourself out of the rut.
"I never know."
No, they never truly go away.
"I do know that I have to be prepared to go back into battle..."
Arm yourself with self-realization and an attitude to never give up.
Because they *will* return from vacation.
It's a vicious cycle.