"Just" Depression. "Merely" Anxious? Patience is a Virtue.

December 8, 2010 Kate White

...and similar ideas with which I struggle.

Sometimes, I struggle. I feel so far away. From everything, especially mental health.

Getting up, getting ready to face the world, wondering just how close the edge is, today. It all takes patience.

When you're dealing with anxiety and depression, when thoughts will barely stay in your head, let alone make sense, when the fog sets in...It takes patience. Inhuman, incalculable patience.

Fighting the good fight sometimes means losing your way

Finding balance is essential -when even the best medications take 6-8 weeks to kick in. Sure, they could knock you out in the meantime but they rarely do. You have to go on living.

Coping with each moment as it comes

It feels like I've used up so much time and energy waiting to exhale. It can be a long, long wait - before you can let go, even a little bit. Before you can stop watching yourself for the signs that you're slipping, falling back into old habits.

With the PTSD and depression, well, there's the hypervigilance. Itself a symptom, and paired with it the way I watch myself. Wondering if the intrusive thoughts will back off.

I'm told I'll always have to watch myself, and I suspect they're right; when it takes so many strategies just to get through the day.

The aim is to take them on board, internalize them, use them - even when your thoughts are about as coherent as a curdled custard tart.

I ask a lot of questions, days I'm not too tired to think.

Is it OK not to be OK?

Yes, yes, yes!

When I'm overwhelmed, letting myself 'off the hook' - It's a good thing.

If I added up the hours I've spent waiting in offices, waiting for appointments, wading through bureaucracy and boredom, my own deep trenches of silence and fear -

You can't measure things like that. Surely not in hours, months, or years. They don't cut it.

Time doesn't work the same way, when you're ill. Now is then and back again in the space of a breath. Sometimes just waiting to wake up can take a century: my scream gets stuck in a paper cup, never makes it to the prom.

Pumpkin or no pumpkin, we're not talking Cinderella here.

Meanwhile. Meanwhile, all the questions I ask myself: They're big questions. I don't doubt that all of us dealing with mental illness ask them. Poke at them with tentative feet, like a hedgehog in the middle of the road. Neither wanting to scare them and have them crawl off too soon, nor have them attack when unprepared.

We wait. Gathering our strength (patiently, in theory), finding just the right armor for the task, and hoping it fits.

Am I Joan of Arc today? Will they burn me at the stake, or is this just the set of Water World -an epic disaster set to fall apart as soon as I release it?

All I know is that sometimes it has to be OK not to be OK: Freedom, yeah. Less panic, too.

APA Reference
White, K. (2010, December 8). "Just" Depression. "Merely" Anxious? Patience is a Virtue., HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Kate White

December, 9 2010 at 12:01 pm

Agreed. Being ok with not being ok is important because there are days when no matter what you try, life still sucks in a whole bunch of ways. xo

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