When you have depression and/or anxiety or any mental illness, you don't control your thoughts. Your thoughts control you. I wish more people could understand that.
I was feeling like I was finally moving forward, like recovery and happiness was just out of reach. I was exercising, going to school and most importantly I was leaving the house after so long of being bound by the four walls I call my bedroom. Turns out I was grasping at the air, there was nothing in front of me except a mountain that is impossible to climb. I call that mountain depression.
I often read that depression is like drowning, except you can see everyone around you breathing; I disagree. To me depression is like having every thought you've ever had turn to bricks, then the people around you place these bricks on your chest paralysing you to the ground. The pain is there at first but eventually you become numb, the pain becomes normal. When you think you can manage to live this way, someone then slowly pours cement over every inch of your body; no matter how much you keep screaming "I'm alive! I'm alive" they don't stop. You have short space of time before the cement turns to concrete but all those bricks on your chest and the sinking feeling all around your body; you have no energy to fight so you lay silently hoping someone helps. Once the cement is concrete there is no turning back, trying to escape this is like hitting a building with a feather then expecting the building to crumble.
I am a fool to think that I could possible escape now when I have been in my concrete slab for three years, with every attempt to break away from the hardened cement has never worked so why would it work now? I am going to learn to live within my concrete slab or I will die trying.
(This is a piece of writing I wrote when I was 14, it is my attempt at trying to explain what my experience with anxiety is like. This is unedited and completely from my 14 year old mind, this is piece of writing is now 3 years old but it still relates to how I feel. I hope you like it.)
Early morning sun hits like any other day and glares bounce on powder white curtains hitting the empty space. The dull white walls that trap me inside collide with rusted white doors that is my wardrobe and the bed scattered with jet black sheets unmade for days. The tattered carpet ruff beneath my feet but i still find comfort. A sparkling glass desk holds papers and books open on written pages. Pops of colour in the far edges, blue and green completes my contemporary space, my needed safe zone.
They cross my mind forcing me to double take my actions, moving they leave as fast as they have arrived and all appears normal. Food, water and books, necessities needed to survive the challenges lying ahead as storm clouds form around my head. They come back to keep me safe as pressure builds in my chest intensifying with every forced movement, looming over waiting for the moment to strike.
Eating their needed breakfast they drain my energy like a water tank in a drought. I am empty. As I slowly walk to the dreaded outside, my body is going into overload, tiny pins attempt to escape my inclosed chest. Pressure heightens my head which feels it’s about to implode, I long for them to stop. No longer in control I am on the ground, no longer believing i can win as i am down, twisted knots keeping me there. In every direction that they pull at me, I try to leave. This is not the way i want to go.
Suddenly it is calm, aware it is not over, only that I am in the eye of the storm. The sunlight glares upon my pale battered legs and air is heavy, pulling myself out the dreaded red door, I'm met with a pound to my head. I know they will return to torment me till they win. They destroy all i control, they knock me hard, I no longer want to leave but remain frozen still in the safe zone of my room. My thoughts have won.
And if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad.
– Stephen Cbosky, (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower)
I am constantly told that I have been through more than most people in my short 17 years of being alive, which apparently gives me the right to be sad. I don’t believe that, I never will. People all around us have done things and have had things happen to them that nobody else knows about. We are all alive for different purposes in life, we all have different goals; that means no two paths in life are the same. Whether your life is plagued by mental illness, abuse, death or all of the above, we all go through equal amounts of hell in very different ways. We can not compare our life to the person sitting next to us, their whole life circumstances would be different to yours. My point is, you are who you are for a reason, your struggles throughout life do not need to be compared to others in order for you to feel as though you are allowed to be sad. You have every right to feel whatever you feel; no one can tell you otherwise.
I’ve been offline for a week because I didn’t have the energy to post. It’s the school holidays now, which means I start back at square one next term because that’s what always happens; it ruins my mood. I’m going to start posting again this week to give myself more of a routine, something to motivate me. I don’t want to post shit pieces of writing or poems because that isn’t who I am, I don’t force my writing, my writing is effortless and free. I’m starting again tomorrow so hopefully you enjoy.
Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.
– Joubert Botha