‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
I just sat on the closed lid of a toilet for an hour trying to remember how to breathe, wondering if this is what it is like to be dying, hoping that the girl one stall over won’t recognize the fraying laces of my sneakers as mine.
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
I just spent 17 hours sleeping because sometimes suicide is not an option but oblivion is so I closed my eyes. And when I woke up it was dark out, but I had no missed calls because nobody misses the girl who doesn’t make plans she’ll have to cancel, who books time off of work to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling, dreaming of an alternate universe in which she is not sad.
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
I just left class, got in my car, and drove in circles until dark, my hands shaking, gas tank draining, parents wondering why I’m not home for dinner. But maybe I don’t want to go home because their are skeletons in my closet mom, and their bones rattle at night calling me from sleep and into another nightmare that I can’t remember but know that my throat burns with the silence of screams and the suffocating warmth of my tears.
‘Yeah, I’m fine. But I’m not at the same time.’
Phantom hands just wrap around my throat when I realize the depth of the loneliness I feel no, not for someone or something, but for silence. On my knees praying ‘please, grant me a measure of sanity, raise me from this grave that existence has become, open these eyes, they are blind, and I’m begging you, please silence my mind.’ Don’t you see that nothing happened, it’s not you, it’s me.
Nothing happened, and doesn’t need to, because depression never leaves.
Where do you live, or rather, where does your mind live? Do you spend the precious moments of your presence reliving the past, or are you focused on the future, on what could be rather than what is? Are you angry, or disappointed, are you impatient, or anxious; what are you feeling?
Close your eyes for a moment.
Notice where your thoughts first wander.
Wherever they go, don’t stop them from going. Give your mind the freedom to think its own thoughts, subconsciously. In the meantime, with your eyes still closed, feel your heart beating in your chest. Don’t find your pulse, remain completely still, allow your conscious mind to find your heart. Let it hover there, as your body rises and falls with every breath it takes.
Notice how, for a moment, you had forgotten about your subconscious self and its frantic dissection of past and future events or occurrences. Notice how, for a moment, you were completely present.
That feeling of being grounded in the energy your being radiates is peace. You are at peace. You are at peace amongst the chaos your mind creates, so breathe in.
Breathe out, and breathe in again.
Find solace in simply being.
Once upon a time I believed that depression was a crime. A crime against my family, a crime against normalcy, a crime against society, a crime against myself. I refused to accept the fact that I was born with neurotransmitters that don’t transmit properly, like my DNA was something over which I had authority, and too little dopamine in my brain to be what I though I was supposed to be: happy. I refused to accept the fact that depression and anxiety are not me.
Running away from my emotions did not make them disappear. Running away only made the emptiness that once swallowed me a million times more difficult to bear.
So I stopped running.
I stopped running.
I take sertraline like diabetics take insulin because the beast that used to live inside of me no longer lives my life for me.
I am not depressed, I have depression. There is a difference.
You are not your mental illness.