A testament of perseverance


The darkness has consumed me. I’m not sure when it happened and I’m not sure how, but it has. The parts of me that people used to idolize and envy have disappeared. The parts that have kept me confident and healthy have evaporated into the nothingness that I have become.

But parts of the old me still linger. They ache to find the confidence and health that I once took for granted, hoping that the road is not downhill from here. I am beginning to lose the very essence of myself in this never-ending battle with the problems that I have brought upon myself.

I betrayed myself.

I became my own worst enemy, and because I knew myself so well it was almost too easy to ruin myself. In a war you would find your enemy’s weakness, expose it, and attack it until there was nothing but ruins, and this is exactly what I have done to myself.

I have picked on my deepest fears and tried so hard not to let them become a reality that I have done exactly that. They have taken over and turned me into the exact thing I had fought so hard to leave behind. They are no longer just empty fears and errant thoughts. They are now a living breathing creature inside of me that I must fight with every day.

I pushed people away.

I have alienated myself from the very people that showed me what I was worth in the first place. I have worried family, lovers, and friends, and ultimately, I have put the fear of god in myself. I no longer know where my boundaries stop, I no longer know if I will be able to defend myself properly if and when the beast within attacks.

I am terrified of myself.

I am trying to hold onto the things and the people that make me happy and remind me of my old self, but it is becoming continuously harder. I keep holding them to expectations that cannot be met, so that when they fail, I have a reason to feel sad. Isn’t that fucked up?

I know that there are other people that feel like this, but where are they? How can I come into contact with them when we’re both so withdrawn and terrified of the unknown? How are we supposed to help each other when neither of us can make the first move?

I am paralyzed by fear.

It has become a game of chess in which neither side is willing to move any of their remaining pieces. They are afraid they might lose what pieces they have left and by doing so they are stuck in a stalemate, paralyzed by their fear and their inability to move forward. Triumphs feel small and victories feel like defeats. I find it impossible to give myself any credit because I’m constantly comparing myself to the happier and more confident people I surround myself with.

It’s heartbreaking:

To see others prosper and rise as I rot and fall, to see the things I once used to be in other people and wonder what happened to me.

“What happened to me?” is a scary thought, isn’t it? To have to think in-depth about the things that have happened to you and wonder when all those pieces were lost and where it was that you finally lost yourself. Feeling like Humpty Dumpty, I stagger forward, missing pieces of me that are essential to my being, like a crumpled-up piece of paper that cannot be perfect again.

I fight day in and day out to find reasons to keep going and keep believing, and day in and day out I find a shortage in those reasons. I’ve tried to dedicate myself to helping people in my position and I honestly think I’m good at it, but if I can help them why can’t help myself? What is it about me that’s so broken and twisted that I can’t fix it?

I have tried to fix it the wrong way.

I constantly try to improve myself physically and mentally, but the entire time all I think about is that I’m not doing it for myself. I’m doing it in hope that other people will like me more and accept me. I push the people that I let in away because I’m embarrassed that they’ve seen the real me and that they know I’m broken. Instead of allowing them to help me, I hide from them, because it’s too real if I need help.

It’s too real if other people know.

If they know that I’m broken, then it really does mean I’m broken. It’s no longer a theory or an idea; it’s real. My mental sickness is real. I have been running from it for as long as I can remember, and I think it’s about time I accept it. Embrace it and allow it life, because it is only once something is given life that it can be killed. But that which I was so confident I could defeat has latched onto me, sucking life away from me like an invisible leech. I have tried and tried but it cannot be stopped, no, it will not be stopped.

Day after day, I fight for the feelings I know to be there.

Day after day, I wake up and I fight to fit in. I fight to supress that which has consumed me internally, refusing to let it surface for everybody to see, for everybody to point at. I refuse to let it take me over entirely and show itself to the world, not for myself, but for them. To keep them from seeing how weak I am, how far I have fallen and how lost and broken I am on the inside. I do this because I do not want their pity. I do not want them to talk to me because they feel bad for me. I want them to talk to ME, not IT.

I have voices in my head.

I have voices that tell me that people are conspiring against me, telling me they don’t really want me around and that I am the joke behind their constant laughter. The voice is anxiety, and I don’t know how to stop it, how to silence the voice that comes from my own subconscious, in the deepest parts of my brain. I have forgotten how to relax around people, constantly worrying about them making fun of something I’m doing. I take everything personally, with a chip on my shoulder. I get angry at things that do not exist outside of my own head and it is taking its toll on my social abilities.

People stop asking you to do things.

People see you withdraw and instead of reaching out they withdraw as well. Your social life begins to fade until it is non-existent. It happens right in front of your friends yet most of the time they do nothing. They do nothing because they don’t understand what it means to feel empty. They can’t grasp the very concept of being sad for no reason.

They don’t understand.

And because they don’t understand it they fear it. And because they fear it they push it away. And because they push it away it gets worse, worse to the point where a moment of sadness can turn into an entire night of sorrow.

It hits like a hammer.

It can knock the wind out of you, leave you breathless in panic and fear. It can sweep your feet out from under you, knocking you down and paralyzing you with sadness. It can isolate you and break you down until it feels like there isn’t a single person on earth that can help you.

Everybody is rude to one another.

They are all following this social hierarchy that has been predetermined by Hollywood movies and so nobody is genuine anymore. Everybody takes on the role that they’ve grown to believe they have to, and there’s no room for the mentally ill in that kind of world. So they become outcast, loners, freaks, losers until finally it’s all too much and they give up, and WE give up.

You people have no idea how easy it would be for you to change it all for us if you were just a little nicer, a little more inclusive. You could literally save somebody’s life by asking them to come to a party or by saying hi when you see them somewhere. But you don’t. Nobody does. We all live in these stupid fucking cliques and teenagers everywhere die all the time and we do NOTHING about it. We have an assembly or a fundraiser and we donate to justify the guilt we feel and to silence it, then we go right back to the same cliques and same behaviour.

I am constantly angry.

Angry at nothing, just angry. There is no justification for my anger; it’s just there, a weight that has accumulated inside of me due to my choice of inaction. It is crippling now, like the fire you read about in books and see in the movies. It courses through my veins and there is no stopping it. There are now two animals at war inside of me, neither of them with any redeeming qualities, to say the least.

The old Cherokee story about the two wolves has become more relevant to my life than anything, but I no longer know the good wolf. He is lost.

Now there is a black wolf of depression, anxiety and self-pity that threatens to consume me and destroy me entirely, and there is a red wolf, composed of pure anger with no sensibility or reason. He is stubborn, he is lethal, he is ruthless and he is impossible to control.

I’ve been here before.

So, I’m back where I began, climbing out of the hole that I have dug myself. Treading familiar waters, a sense of relief washes over me because I know how to get back from here, I know what the next step should be. But again, I find myself concealing my emotions, preventing them from controlling me and it becomes socially crippling. I feel no sympathy, no compassion, no excitement; I am a monotone being that refuses to feel because of the fear of what comes with the feelings. I constantly find myself watching tributes and sad videos in order to remind myself what I should feel for certain things, training myself to feel again.

I have found my salvation.

At first it seemed hopeless, that I would rise ten times just to fall eleven, but I will fall no more. I find it ironic that the things that bring us back from the darkness are often things we never even knew we were looking for or that we already had. Sometimes, it’s as simple as opening your eyes and taking in what is right in front of you. It is not the big picture but the little every day joys that you must build on. Making a new friend, getting a good grade, having plans with old friends… Anything that reminds you that there is good in the world is that which you must focus yourself on, because those are the things that matter.

The darkness no longer consumes me. I am free.

The date is December 5, 2016, I received my X-ring.

I made it.

Despite all these things that I’ve gone through, the ever-present darkness that I have felt during my life… I made it. I beat all the things I thought would knock me down and all the people who thought I couldn’t do it.

But most importantly, I beat myself. I beat the ever-present darkness that looms over me, the thoughts that call myself stupid or useless or undeserving. I have beaten that monster within that has been trying to drag me down and tell me I’m not enough. Well, I AM enough… and I always have been. I suppose euphoria is the word to be used, but even it seems to fall short.

It’s interesting to read this document, which I started early in my first year, to see how hard I have fallen and how many times I’ve gotten back up. I think the biggest realization I’ve had is that life goes on, no matter how hard and no matter how painful it may get. Don’t fret over a failed grade. Don’t feel like a failure if you find out that university isn’t for you, and don’t give up if at first you don’t realize the dreams that you set out to achieve.

It might not be over, but for the first time in a long time, it feels like I’m winning.

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