Imagine that you wake up one day and are in a city you’ve never been in before. People everywhere are speaking a strange language. You don’t know anyone. You don’t have a map. Even the smells are new and different.
You have no point of reference. You don’t know if you’re in the middle of the city, or where the city is in its country, or even what country you’re in, or where in the world that country is! You’re scared, completely disoriented, and have no idea how to help yourself.
Normally, you are very aware of yourself. At home, you know where the room you’re in is in your house, where your house is in your neighborhood, where your neighborhood is in your city, where your city is in your state, etc.
But not now. You’re completely lost, and you don’t know what to do.
This is what it can feel like when you have anxiety or depression. You find yourself in a mental place you’ve never been before. Everything is weird and different. You’re not sure how you got there, and you have no idea where you are or how to help yourself get back to a place you know.
You don’t have the vocabulary to describe what it is you’re feeling, because you’ve never felt this way before. You are afraid to ask people for help.
From the outside, you look the same. Normal you, just like always. But inside, your thoughts and feelings are a crazy mess that you don’t understand. You have no point of reference for how you feel now.
This is one reason why it’s so important to talk about how we are with people that we trust. Many people have gone through what you’re feeling now, and they can help you understand. They can give you words to describe what you’re feeling. They can help you know that it’s ok to feel these crazy, sad, worrying things, and that it won’t always be this way.
You might be in a place you’ve never been in before, but there are so many people who have been there. People who speak your old language, and who also understand the new one that’s confusing for you. Trust the people who have the experiences and maps to help you get through this new place you’re in.
It might take some time, but you will come to understand this new place, and you’ll be able to speak the language, and navigate around. And with some help, you’ll be able to make a map that gets you from this strange new place back to a place that you know.
We all need to talk about how we are. When we share what we feel and know, other people will hear it and then understand what it is that’s made them feel so lost. They will know that they’re ok, and that they aren’t alone. We are all in this together!