I posted a poem some years back about the twin serpentine sisters of depression and anxiety. When I first started therapy I referenced it when I realized that I really have been wrestling with both anxiety and depression. The anxiety was obvious. The depression was much more hidden beneath the gray layers of my brain.
Since beginning therapy, my anxiety has lessened greatly, almost to the point that my therapist says that I am nearly graduated from therapy and I am recovered.
But, I realized a few days ago, only one of those sisters has been slain. Anxiety.
My anxiety came from the deep rooted feeling that I was “doing something wrong”. That at any moment my mother would catch me and either beat or berate me into towing the line. I am freer than I have ever been from debilitating anxiety, even in the midst of a pandemic, and a racial revolution.
But, that other sister, depression, is still coiling in the corners and influencing my actions and thoughts. Her food is the message implanted in me since infancy, “you aren’t good enough”.
I am a writer. And, one of the hardest parts of being a writer is the criticism. Recently, my independent script that is in pre-production, was highly criticized by a professional publisher. It hurt. Hurt like hell, and it triggered the inexhaustible feeding well of my depression, “You just aren’t good enough”.
I began to realize how much of that “food for thought” had actually infected all parts of my life. My ability to over commit to projects and tasks is because I am always trying to prove I am good enough. When, I don’t accomplish the mountain of tasks, then I prove to myself that I am not good enough. When my children struggle, it is because I am not good enough. When I fail to answer an email, it’s because I am not good enough. Then the questions came. Have I instilled the same nugget of insanity in my children? Did I only become a writer to be told I wasn’t good enough in some sort of sick self fulfillment? And so and so on.
One sister is slain. I have one more to go. But, the single thread of hope I hold on to, that my therapist and EMDR therapy have given me, is that both anxiety and depression are curable.
I can and will defeat the remaining sister.