For a while I did not know what I should be writing about. Well okay, that is not true. It’s more that there were only two things I could write about: My fear and my broken heart. For a while, I was only able to really feel fear and pain. It’s hard to write about those emotions – especially if writing about them feels like giving them even more power. But I’ve reached a point now where it stopped being a choice and became a necessity.
I used to write about things like I was an outsider looking in. Like there was a distance between those things I wrote about – even if it were my own feelings – and me. Maybe that’s why I never felt really good about the stuff I wrote about. Because it felt like someone else’s stuff. Writing about this is different – or maybe I’m different now. When I write about the pain that almost crippled me a year ago and still continues to hurt me on so many levels, there is no distance. There is no outside perspective. And that’s probably why it is so scary to write about it.
Do not listen
A year ago, all I could consciously feel was pain. Pain on top of pain. It was so severe that at I was barely able to function. The catalyst for it was the fact that a guy broke my heart – in a very cruel and painful way. That in itself was not only painful but it also confirmed my worst fears: Firstly, that he would eventually change his mind about being in a relationship with me and secondly, that I was not lovable. Not good enough. Just…not enough. It might sound like the reaction of an overdramatic teenager, but it was what my lizard brain kept telling me. That I was useless, unattractive and just bad. A very bad person.
Even though it might seem like it, this is not a story about a broken heart. The broken heart was just the last straw that broke the camels back. When the breakup happened, I had already been in treatment for depression and anxiety for two years and had spend the last four months in a hospital. What started with chest pain and irrational fears evolved into full blown panic attacks and the constant feeling that something very bad was about to happen at any second. Right before I went to the hospital, I survived on two to three hours of sleep a day and battled severe concentration and memory issues.
Do not be afraid to be afraid
Needless to say, that kind of fear is not healthy. What’s more, it gets to a point where it becomes unbearable. I guess one of the things I should be thankful for is that I’m terribly afraid of committing suicide. Yes, really. The though of me getting into such bad shape that I might do something to end my life gives me – you guessed it – a panic attack. Now you take all this and just throw a broken heart in it. The result is literally living a nightmare. You might think this is – again – overdramatic, and maybe you are right. But it is also how I felt, how I still feel from time to time. I honestly don’t know how I really got through it. I just remember that at some point I realized that I wasn’t willing to give up.
We live in a cruel world. It seems like all we do is put each other down. We are not allowed to show weakness and even though mental disorders have been on the rise for years – as have suicide rates in some countries – we still have people throwing words like “attention seeker” and “victimhood” around. People will still call you “weak” or “lazy” or even “lazy weakling” for admitting that you suffer from depression and anxiety. We still have to hear shit like: “Why don’t you just think positive.” Members of my own family told me, I was just spoiled and needed to “thoughen up”.
During my time in the hospital I met quite a few people suffering from mental health issues – depression, anorexia, bipolar disorder, OCD and a few more – and let me tell you, none of those people is weak. In fact, they are the complete opposite of weak. It takes a lot of courage to stop pretending. It takes even more courage and strength to decide that you will not give up. I started to heal the day I decided that I wanted to see what will happen if I do not give up. I’m still not where I want to be – mainly because I’m still trying to figure that part out – but I will not give up. And I guess that is something to be proud of. A little. Maybe.