There have been many times previous to my ultimate falling out that I thought I was in Her company. I thought the hurt in my heart, the pain in my chest, the recklessness in my veins was because of Her. I thought She was the familiar silence that sat with me night after night without sleep. Though that wasn’t Her. That was sadness at its best. I know it wasn’t Her because I was still able to feel something.
She is a completely different form of existence. I gave Her a face to help accommodate my battle against Her. This story is raw and real and difficult to understand. You see, She takes the sunshine away from us, giving us grief in return. Some walks we must take alone in life and recovering from depression is one of them. We have to learn how to give ourselves thick skin and for the sake of our life, we must find the silver lining. We can talk, spill, rant and exhaust ourselves trying to get someone to save us. We can only save ourselves.
I know these words best because I have lived them.
I try to remember where everything went wrong. When things started to twist, turn and spiral out of control. Ironically, I believe it was a sunny day in the fall. My favorite kind of day.
She knocked quietly on my door, packed bags to her left and right, as if ready to stay well past Her welcome. She threw me a sincere smile to gain my trust, how could I not allow Her in? She asked so quietly “are you okay?” a small grin came across Her face. I stood there, not really sure of my answer anymore. She looked at me like I was a long, lost friend. “Tell me everything…” She set her bags down and took me into her arms. Never planning to release me.
I should have known to never share my weakness with a stranger. That became Her ammunition to keep me close to Her. Every time I was ready to take control of the problems I laid on Her, she would insist a day spent in bed would help me defuse the fights inside me. She was right. Eventually I stopped feeling. Completely. I had mistaken Her as a friend, the price to pay was my life.
As humans, sometimes we are drawn to suffering. Personally, it’s what I feel most sharply. It’s what I channel into for my art. My writings. I wasn’t afraid to turn it on and off for my practices.
I wasn’t afraid of my past until She convinced me I wasn’t okay. There was internal damage, she said. My childhood horrors arrived to haunt me now. I know She sent them my way. Blank stares at the ceiling became my standard pass time. I wasn’t hurting. I wasn’t anything. I would not consider myself a real person after She laid her hand on my shoulder that day. Her firm grip assuring me I would never be left alone again.
She created playlists on my iTunes of all the sad songs in my library and would play them on repeat. She brought up all the people who had hurt me and convinced me I would find resolution within the pain.
She had convinced me to reconnect with an ex that I knew was no good for me, reiterating that maybe I would be happy with him like I used to be. So I spent all my time writing about him, writing to him, hoping that this is why this all happened. I wrote for pages and pages until my soul felt like it was breaking.
She sat next to me filing her nails and singing along to the songs. I was right where She wanted me. I understand now that She cannot exist without my cooperation. All I did was cooperate.
Just when I would emotionally and mentally hit rock bottom, She would kiss me on my cheek, get up and leave me all alone in my cold, silent bedroom. Often slamming the door shut behind Her. That’s when the thoughts about swallowing the pills in my medicine cabinet would surface.
I had love in my home. I had a handsome face sitting with me day in and day out pleading with me to get dressed, come outside for fresh air. I had his hands wrapped around my so tightly as if he was playing tug-of-war with Her. He knew what was happening because I wasn’t participating in our life together any longer.
I wasn’t the girl he met a few summers back any longer. I was hiding behind curtains in the middle of the afternoon trying to sleep to escape. I couldn’t realize how wrong things were because I was still writing. I always believed my soul was aligned properly if I was still writing. Only I wasn’t writing what I knew I could, I was writing what She whispered in my ear at night.
The truth hurts, you know.
It makes us think about things a million times over, making us question our ability to do what’s best for us. That’s just the first step of being handed the cold, hard truth.
Eventually we begin to look at it without sad eyes. We grow tired of being sick and tired and our soul demands that we persevere or we will drown. We grow that thick skin and we get mad at it. If we feel like anger will not help us, we are very wrong. For feeling anger beats feeling nothing at all.
That was my spark. The only light at the end of the tunnel. I found myself needing myself. Something took over.
Call it God, call it Soul, call it whatever you want, something began dancing to a different tune. It grabbed my hand to lead me out of bed and opened my curtains.
The sunlight hurt my eyes. I wasn’t ready to see what I had become. I wasn’t really ready for any type of healing, but when it was a fight for my life so I had to decide if I was worth it or not. Piece by piece, I started correcting the thoughts I had about myself. I started trying to see what others saw. I tried to give myself as many kind affirmations as many times a day as I could.
She never truly left. I just stole the show.
I am trying to be so careful with my resilient self as I heal. Even when I get angry because I can feel Her eyes on me waiting for me to go home and fall apart. I had to start telling myself “I am choosing to be strong.”
Since that awful day She arrived over a year ago, I still retain my patience. My kindness. My perfectly imperfect heart. I found that everything I needed to fight Her was within Me the entire time. So I laugh it off more than ever. I have chosen to hand myself over to Grace instead because She handles my issues better than I can alone.
There is a price to pay for being self aware. I constantly work at myself as if I am trying to crack a code. I bother to write about mental disease because it has become a huge part of who I am in my early twenties. It challenges me and forces me to tread softly. I know that it is important for people to know their struggle so they can have faith in their recovery too.
And even when She wants to tap on my shoulder and remind me of why I will eventually sink, I politely remind Her that, again, I will Prevail.
Author: Kara Hawes
Apprentice Editor: Yaisa Nio / Editor: Catherine Monkman