What It Feels Like To Live In My Brain

Girl with head down holding umbrella over a single flower from the rain illustration by Mellyssa A. Diggs
Illustration drawn by Mellyssa A. Diggs

I have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) & Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). That means that my brain, which evolution has trained so well to scan for threats in order to prepare for them and save my life, is doing its job way too well and is constantly on alert.

When I tell you, my brain is consistently on alert — it’s constantly working. Everywhere I look, I see potential threats. My fight-or-flight response is always revved up, which means that my senses are always acutely heightened. This is an essential feature of the fight-or-flight mechanism, as it means we’re more easily able to respond to our environment in a dangerous situation. With anxiety, you can’t just “calm down”. Telling me or someone else that is rather pointless. It’s the feeling of “oh god, what’s going to happen next?”.

However, in day-to-day life, my depression symptoms kick in. It’s the opposite. This means that my brain can blow literally ANYTHING out of proportion or blank out for a few seconds. I stop caring. You don’t see the point. It’s an ominous black hole. It alters the reality to make everything seem worthless.

Imagine being overstimulated by all the thoughts in your head? Then you think, Oh my God, I need to do X because of Y and then think, what’s the point. That’s what it’s like and it’s exhausting.

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