Three Voices

Here’s what my depression tells me:
All the times you felt okay, you were delusional. I’m clarity. I’m the truth. You’re not okay. You’re bad. The world is bad. It will never get better. You will never get better. It’s all a waste of time. Shouldn’t you just go to sleep and never wake up again?

Here’s what my anxiety tells me:
It’s all fucked up. You’re fucked up. The other shoe that dropped? It’s the first of a hundred shoes, a fucking millipede of shoes, and they’re all hanging over your head. Whenever you feel like you can handle it and it’s going to be okay? That’s confusion. I’m clarity. I’m reality. I’m telling you the hard truths, and the hard truth is that it will never be okay and it will only get worse and worse and worse. What’s even the point of going on?

Here’s what the dharma tells me:
Everything changes. All the time, at a rate you can’t even keep up with. What you feel today you will not feel tomorrow, or maybe even later today. You are not the feelings that arise within you, and you have the power to examine those feelings for their truth, and you have the power to discard what is not true. You do not have to take it personally. “Okay” is not defined by things outside of you. “Better” is not defined by things outside of you. You have the ability to define those things for yourself. You cannot control the world, but you can control how you react to the world.