Saturday, July 30, 2011

An Analogy

Hi, my name is Miss Priss and I have Myopia- aka Nearsightedness- and Astigmatism (chorus: Hi Miss Priss).  This means that I depend daily on contacts or glasses to correct my vision.  Of course I can, and occasionally do, go periods of time without using glasses or contacts.  This usually entails stumbling around, squinting and holding things really close to my face.  Technically, I could live without glasses or contacts but my life would be very difficult and potentially dangerous if I did.  Things that I take for granted would be more difficult to accomplish- watching TV, telling my children apart, or seeing what housework needs to be done (perhaps there's a case for ditching my contacts after all).   And some things would be so extremely dangerous that to attempt them would be ignorant and ridiculous.  The time, effort and energy to live daily life would be so extreme that to live without my glasses and contacts when they are so readily available and so beneficial to my quality of life is asinine. 

I also have General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Depression.  Everyone with these conditions experiences them differently.  Let me explain how they affect me.  For me GAD makes me feel like everything is magnified.  I literally feel like Alice from Alice in Wonderland when she takes the shrinking pill and becomes completely overwhelmed by the enormity of everything in Wonderland.  I can usually function but it's difficult and consumes me emotionally and physically.  Of course there are times that are better than others but generally speaking everyday tasks become very taxing and physically draining.  This feeds into the depression and without conscious effort these take over my life.  Throw any unexpected or difficult life experience into the mix and even conscious effort is not enough.  And so for me I have decided that medication, daily exercise, as well as mental and social exercise are my arsenal to keep these conditions in check.  Notice I didn't say cure.  Let me let you in on a secret:  Life is Hard.  Taking a pill doesn't cure me.  But like when I put in my contacts daily medication allows me to see life in a clearer perspective.  I still feel happiness, disappointment, frustration, elation, loneliness and all the other ranges of emotion.  I just don't feel them so overwhelmingly.  And as with my contacts for me it makes sense to use these (especially medication) when it makes such a positive impact on my quality of life and are so beneficial to me and my family.

So why do I share this?  First because it will give you perspective from where I'm coming from.  When I talk about anxiety I'm not talking about feeling a little nervous.  I'm talking about paralyzing anxiousness that is completely overwhelming.  Or stress about situations that overtakes my thoughts and life.  Obviously with my arsenal of coping mechanism it's not that extreme but situations that those without GAD may be able to handle without any- or very little thought- are more consuming to me.  Secondly, because it's part of who I am.  It doesn't define me any more than astigmatism or myopia does.  But it is part of what makes me, me.  It colors my perspective but isn't the only color on my pallet.  So judge me or don't but I've made peace with who I am and I'm okay with me; contacts, lexapro and all.

**On a serious note if you are concerned that you may need medication or are dealing with overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, sadness, aggression, or any other signs of depression please contact your doctor immediately.  There's help out there with and without medication but the first step is asking for help.  **

No comments: