Imagine you’re a computer. And like any computer you have a CPU, your brain. Your emotions and personality act as applications/software within your computer body, respectively. Depending on your personality type, you may be more sensitive to social implications and emotional stimulation.
If you’re a computer, personality type acts as the operating system. (I won’t go into the full theory of MBTI, but for now I’ll talk lightly of it.)
Now imagine there’s an app running on this computer. It’s an app that comes standard and is one of the more powerful, energy draining applications on your “hard drive”.
This app is powerful. When running at full capacity, it’s a burden on your CPU. It distorts your thinking. It kills your appetite. You may shake involuntarily. Your pulse is blasting on all cylinders and your breathing is off balance. Your internal fans kick on to cool down your processor.
Your CPU, your brain, is working overtime to handle this powerful app.
This is anxiety.
Anxiety is like an app that is constantly running even if softly in the background. Sometimes it kicks on and all your other functions and operations slow down.
Sometimes nothing can provoke it and you don’t really know why you feel a certain amount of angst. You can’t really pinpoint exactly whats wrong and don’t know why you feel your CPU start heating up. But then you realize certain people, certain environments, certain circumstances trigger it.
Some people have an acute awareness and sensitivity to environments that can initiate the “Anxiety App”.
Not everyone experiences these types of attacks in the same way and on the same level. Some people experience them more frequently than others, some don’t.
The flare ups may not always be extreme and it can vary. But it never really turns off. It never really “goes away”.
It’s always “running” in the background even if only at 2% on a good day.
That’s just Depressing
Then there’s depression, the fickle bastard.
Remember what I said about personality type and how it plays a pivotal role in how you operate?
Well it’s true.
If you’re a computer, your personality type is the operating system. And depression can be seen as one of the software components.
Just like Safari comes standard on any Apple device as the default internet browser, being prone to depression can be a default software application for your personality type operating system.
This isn’t to say that you’re by default a bearer of doom and gloom. But it is to say that it’s not up to you how things make you feel.
People will argue this. They most likely won’t understand. And of course the infamous “happiness is a choice” philosophy will come into play at some point.
But that’s bullshit. I don’t care what they say. I’m living this.
Depression can affect people differently. Sometimes its being physically tired. Sometimes it’s feeling hopeless. Sometimes it’s being shrouded in darkness in which no one can really get you out.
And sometimes it’s all of the above at the same time.
Depression is a lens in how we see the world and it goes well beyond an emotional feeling. It can absolutely paralyze you. It’s the type of software that can freeze up your entire system and you’re forced to restart it, whatever that looks like.
Happiness is not a choice.
I’m not sorry. Happiness is not a choice. People will also argue this.
“Happiness” is subjective at best.
Because happiness is subjective, there is no clear cut definition on what happiness is or even what it looks like. There tends to be social agreement on what society would deem as “being happy” including social activities, events, and even a state of mind.
But try telling someone who’s been dealing with it their entire life that “happiness is a choice” and if they don’t rip your eyeballs out consider yourself lucky.
The most we can do is try to keep a positive outlook on things, even if it seems bleak and irrelevant. It’s how you survive the next day.
When I’m in a particularly dark season of life, my go-to motto is “win the day”. Because to rise from the darkness is a fight. It’s an all out battle.
A glimmer of hope can be a knock-down, drag-out fight. And this is what people don’t understand. But if we focus on winning the day we give ourselves a chance for tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow will be the best we’ve ever experienced.
The bottom line is this: Depression isn’t a choice. It isn’t a fallacy. It’s not anyone’s fault and it’s not an excuse. It’s an existence. One that I and many others face on a daily basis.
There isn’t a cure. There are only coping mechanisms. Medication can help with anxiety but even it isn’t a cure.
But there is hope. There’s always hope. Sometimes hope can be a candle in the dark. Other times hope can be like looking at your phone screen after waking up in the middle of the night.
But there is hope. And hope is really all we have.
Go, humans! Go!