No one to tell
“So tell me, where should I go? To the left where nothing's right? Or to the right, where there is nothing left?”
Story by Anonymous.
There is a secret; one that nobody is properly prepared to talk about; one so shocking it may bring down society as we know it. Am I talking about a scandal, or some sort of political corruption? Am I talking about some secret society that quietly rules over us? While I would infinitely prefer to talk about any one of these things, I am in fact talking about the truth that, literally, nobody is talking about. I am talking about the fact that people with mental illness walk among us. Many of us. And I am one of them.
Anxiety. Fear. Panic. Three words that rule my world. Everyday, every night.
Useless. Hopeless. Gutless. More words that control me. If you're told something enough, you will start to believe it. Meaningless. Aimless Pointless.Thoughts become facts. Fears become fantasy. An internal war is lost. Faithless. Faceless. Fearless. Consumed by desire for darkness and a longing to be painless. I am constantly at war with myself and my head. My head that takes me to the darkest of crevices, where I find myself unable to breathe.
All of my systems are nervous. My insides don’t match my outsides. Battling with my brain - it’s never ending. Afraid of my own mind, but completely unable to escape from it. Sleepless nights, constantly analysing everything. This vicious cycle, its relentless. Like an abusive relationship. Everyday tasks are so difficult. Sitting still. Moving. Socialising. Always on edge, looking behind my shoulder.
I’ve never really talked about my mental health openly with friends; maybe I’m embarrassed by it or what people will think of me. It often becomes awkward and some people even stop talking to me altogether. I become awkward. I feel socially awkward all the time.
Conversations with strangers are hell. Some don’t get it. That’s ok. There’s a lot of illnesses I don’t understand either. Some get annoyed: ‘How can you be sad, what do you have to be sad about, you have a great life?’ How do you even articulate it? It's never easy telling someone about your mental health. It's never easy trying to explain the heavy feeling in your chest, the lack of motivation you have, the heavy head and whirlwind of sad thoughts constantly sitting in the back of your head.
The way I like to describe anxiety is that it is much like falling down the stairs. When you miss a step and your stomach drops for a second. That’s how anxiety feels: the only difference is it is constant, always there, tapping away at each part of me. It is sweaty palms, shaky fingertips and chronic headaches. It is the inability to breathe properly and stay calm. It is thinking "I shouldn't have said that" and "they are laughing at me".
I notice everything. And by everything, I literally mean everything. I notice when someone stops talking to me the way they used to. I notice they way someone starts talking to me differently. I notice the little things people do and I notice the little things they used to do. I notice when things change, and when it’s no longer the same. I notice every single detail. And I take everything personally. I just never say anything. Sometimes it’s like I'm a person who wants to do a lot of things, but I’m stuck in the body of someone who just wants to sleep.
We as people are social beings; we require and need human contact as part of our survival. I have suffered with severe depression and anxiety for seven years and often when you are in the most need for help, love and support, you isolate yourself from the world and avoid human contact. I’ve been on many medications, tried rehabs and tried many types of therapy, but nothing seems to fill the empty void inside of me. You can push the ones you love away, either by not speaking to them at all, or by taking your emotions out on them. Drugs became my haven. My release from the anguish, they allowed me to breathe to freely. Sometimes you’ll have good days, maybe even a couple. And then it hits you. Everything, all at once. It hurts to talk, to breathe, to be.
Existing is so difficult at times, but no one wants to hear about that. No one wants to know about the days you spend curled up in bed, in a corner, wishing you could be anywhere but here. We all have our ways of coping with it. As I mentioned, mine is drugs. Self medication. This is an act of survival. My way of staying alive when I’m in too much pain to feel anything at all. I need to block it out. And life stops being life, its becomes about just getting through the day. I do hope that one day life will be more than that for me. I do hope one day I don't feel crippled, drowning in my anxieties and fears. I need drugs to get through every day. To ‘function’ the way society would have us define it. Holding down a job, having somewhere to live. These things I can do to some extent, but some days are torture. I have a job, somewhere to live. But I still need the drugs. I just like the way they make me feel. They calm me. They make everything a little quieter. A little bit easier.
Sadness can be legitimately problematic. If your sadness comes from seemingly no place or even an obvious place but keeps you from participating in life or enjoying anything and refuses to abate no matter how long you go on letting it express itself, you of course can't keep living like that. But culturally, we aren't allowed to be sad even for a little while. Even when it's perfectly sensible. Even when, sometimes, we need it. But when that loneliness hits, it’s so ironic. You don’t realise how alone you are until you’re lying awake in the middle of the night thinking about things you should never think about, and you can’t tell anybody because you have no one to tell.