What does depression (and anxiety) look like?

Most commercials for antidepressants show people in despair, lying on a couch crying or dressed in baggy clothing with unkempt hair.

Is that what depression looks like? Yes. Sometimes.

But often, depression can look like a person who has their shit together. A career woman who gets things done. A soccer mom with perfect hair and perfect kids. A lawyer. A doctor. A musician. An artist. A movie star. A writer. Me.

Anxiety medication ads often depict a person having a panic attack, complete with hyperventilating, rapid heartbeat and sweating.

So that’s what anxiety looks like, right? Sure. Sometimes.

It also can look like standoffishness. Indifference. Disengagement. Irritability. Forgetfulness. Me.

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A scary topic: suicide

Netflix just released a series, “Thirteen Reasons Why” based on a book of the same name by Jay Asher. The book was published in 2007 but is still extremely relevant ten years later. It deals with the aftermath of a scary subject: suicide. I read the book, then binge-watched the series over the weekend. I think it should be required reading/viewing for high school students. I am still recovering emotionally after experiencing the raw emotions contained in the novel and internet series.

The message: You never know what someone else is going through, even if they try to tell you. You can never truly be in someone else’s shoes. You never know what words or actions can mean to another person. What seems insignificant to one person might be earth-shattering, world-ending, or soul-crushing to another. This is never truer than when that someone is a teenager. Teenage brains are not fully formed. Their hormones play into that as well. They can’t always see past the “right now” and think about things getting better in the future. Right now, suicide is still the second-leading cause of death for teenagers.

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Under Pressure

“Under Pressure” Pencil. 2000. (I covered up a section to avoid identifying a person.)

Being a mother is stressful. So is being a wife. And being a woman in general. I try so hard to be good at my many jobs and wear many hats, but most of the time I feel like I’m juggling and the joke’s on me because I can’t juggle. I put a lot of pressure on myself.

I’ve wanted to be married and be a mom for as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, I dreamed of falling in love, getting married, and having children right away. I couldn’t imagine not having children soon after getting married because I didn’t think I would be able to maintain enough conversation with a guy who would choose to be with me. I was so clueless. It sounds silly now because my favorite person to talk to is my husband, and only about half of our conversations are about our children. Continue reading “Under Pressure”