I realised my depression and anxiety in full last week.
I saw my friend walking her dog. She’d just got it, she was walking it. Easy as you like, no worries just la di da round the park. She’d stop and talk to everyone that spoke to the dog, that had a dog, that looked at them. She had a big smile on her face and she was happy as anything – her son was in the park too, playing with the dog, off with his mates, all sorts.
That’s the difference between us. I envy people that can just get up and take the dog for a walk. I want to walk the dog, so here I go. Dog walked. La di da.
I can’t do this. Depression says no, don’t be so stupid, you will not walk the dog today. Here have a big black dog on your back to keep you down. Don’t be getting thoughts of normality. Anxiety says no, you can’t walk the dog, remember what happened last time? What about all the other dogs? What if the dog barks? What if he gets in a fight? What if he gets eaten? What if, what if, what if. Anxiety says Oh, you’re stupid. You don’t need to worry so much about the what ifs. They’re not as important as the haven’ts and the else’s. You know you haven’t written a list in your head of all the things you need to do before you even contemplate leaving the house. You haven’t tidied up, you haven’t located the dogs lead or collar or the actual dog, you haven’t sorted out the children. You’ll need to get the children into coats else they’ll catch cold. You’ll need to put the lead and collar on the dog else he’ll run away, but what if he catches cold too? Put that on the to do list. Doggy coat. Depression says oh no not more on the to-do list. Anxiety says Don’t even think about getting dressed and squeezing your fat ass into appropriate ‘outside’ clothes, making sure you don’t look like a hobo that’s stolen a dog, a ratty fat bag lady that looks like she only owns pyjamas and yes, that horde trawling along with her, yes they are hers, yes, she’s the proprietor, yes they do look great, so what happened to her? Anxiety says Oh wait they don’t match at all do they, their outfits are atrocious, those kids must have dressed themselves blindfolded in the dark. Oh look they’re arguing, that kid is so naughty look at him/her! Are they different or something, oh wait that ones off and going doolally, what’s bag lady doing? She’s just laughing, shouldn’t she be doing more to break it up/sort it out/remove the children from each other’s vicinity? Why’s the dog barking? Uh oh here comes another dog and whoopsie it’s all kicked off; the dogs run away, the children have scattered, everyone’s shouting and the bag lady is stood there crying. Depression says The bag lady is crying. In the park. In public.
That’s my epiphany. I realised this the other day. It struck me. It is why I don’t walk my dog. He’s only little, the garden is big. I can’t walk him some days. Most days if I’m honest. Depression and anxiety win that round more often than not.
But at the end of the day I’m still breathing. I might not sleep well, or sleep like the dead, or attack Pond, or I might have nightmares. But still I wake up every morning, and every morning I’m still alive. So they’re my wins. I win those rounds.
I might not walk the dog today but I’ll let him in the garden. And we’ll breathe.