The Year I Survived Hell
I’m sometimes asked about last year and I rarely know how to respond.
How could I possibly describe hell in a few words?
How could I possibly look at someone in the eye and say what I’ve been through?
But I guess its important to try to describe it just in case someone else is living the same, because maybe knowing that other people have also been there and have survived can make them feel less alone or less desperate, and it is only fair to share it to honor the journey of the courageous, tremendously valuable and fascinating humans that survive mental health issues every day.
So here I go, describing the year I spent “surviving” and not living, the year I spent battling against a severe episode of Anxiety and Depression.
That year… I saw no light at the end of a tunnel that seemed both too long and scary.
I felt pain in places I didn’t even know existed.
My small body felt too heavy to carry.
At times, I felt that my brain had so much pressure inside it could explode.
I would faint everyday, several times, for long enough to forget where I was going.
I would have panic attacks for no reason at all that would leave me exhausted for hours.
I would hide from everyone to let all my tears out, holding my damaged body tight, hoping to fix myself with my remaining strength.
I felt like I needed to shout for days due to my desperation, but I would only have strength to gasp for air.
My bed became a place I didn’t want to leave.
I prayed for the pain to stop.
I prayed for my legs to stop aching.
Prayed for my head to feel lighter.
I stood away from knives and stood away from guns.
Stood away from anything that seemed like an easier escape.
I didn’t recognize how a smile looked like in my face.
I forgot how to laugh.
I would feel too tired and too awake at the same time.
I cried so much my eyes became used to being achy and red and confused and wet and sensitive and tired at the same time.
My face was washed away by the tears more often than what I like to remember.
I would escape to my room and cry for hours so that nobody could see me.
I would just lay on bed, unable to move, fighting against my own thoughts.
I didn’t feel hungry or thirsty, but rather just lifeless.
I would read people’s messages, being absolutely unable to respond.
I missed people, but did not find any strength to reach out.
I felt extremely lonely, but felt too exhausted to even talk.
My dog would come and drink all my tears away, then stay by my side just looking at me like an angel that came from heaven.
I felt like I could not find the strength to keep breathing.
But I did.
I went on.
When nothing seemed to bring me hope.
When nothing seemed to work out.
When I was at my darkest.
And I want you to know that you can do it too.
There are very few things more beautiful than surviving your own disaster.
Very few things more beautiful than falling in love with being imperfectly human again.
We are wonderful creatures that can be dead inside and still decide to give ourselves a new fair chance to live again.
I promise that your future self will teach you how to smile again.
I promise that you can love and fight for life again like the warrior that you already are inside even though you think that you just can’t do anything right now.
You deserve a new chance to simply live the life that you deserve.
You just have to be patient and give yourself all the time you need to heal.
I’m already proud of you for surviving.
You are doing it just right.
You just have to keep breathing…