She sits in the car, staring ahead, her lips a straight line. With one glance you can’t pick up on the nervous tapping of her foot, the microscopic twitch of her fingers around the Styrofoam container in her lap.
You may not pick up on the way her eyes dart to the door handle, but eventually, you’ll notice the stream of tears down her left cheek. Whatever flipped the switch doesn’t matter anymore. She’s not thinking about the worthless argument, or the feeling of rage it brought on for no reason at all. All she can think about now is the noise in her mind.“This.IsNot.You.This.IsNot.You.This.IsNot.You.”She imagines unbuckling her seat belt, unlocking the door, and sailing through the open space to her death.This.IsNot.You.Does the car coming up on the right have the capacity to crush her right away? Will she feel it for long?This.IsNot.You.This.IsNot.You.Could they revive her?Stop.Would she be deformed?Stop!Would her son recognize her?STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT NOW! GOD, HELP! HELP ME! HELP ME!Her husband sighs, his eyes looking over to where she sits, motionless. “So, are you going to say something? I’m sorry I upset you.”Flip.She reaches up, wipes her tears, and takes a breath before looking back at him.“Sorry, babe. I had to ride the wave.”
Time is a fuzzy concept when it happens. Sometimes the minutes drag on for hours, and it's all too easy to get lost in the commotion. The tunnel, the noise.
If I write about it, I'm hailed a brave soul, taking on the task of destigmatizing the subject of mental health in our generation. It's hard not to chuckle at that.
I'm no visionary set out to change the world. I'm just a woman with everything to lose if I don't come out the other side. Does that sound tragic? Sorry.
The truth is, my mental health takes up only a fraction of my actual life. I'm not always sad. In fact, some people call me bubbly, outgoing, and friendly. I'd like to think I am all of those things by nature.
One of the things my husband loved most about me when we were dating was how smart and analytical I was, despite the fact that I was also incredibly 'goofy.'
I have two left feet, bad knees, and a great sense of humor. I can make people feel at ease, it's one of the things I do best. That's why it's so hard to also be a part-time nutcase.
Okay, so I should clarify, I'm not actually crazy. I just have a colorful mind that goes to black and white extremes and occasionally tries to kill me.
I don't talk about this with just anyone, as it tends to be a buzzkill.
Some people genuinely try to understand. Those are my best friends.
And then there are the people with the fake pity looks. Those are the ones you know are going to whisper about you later.
The irony of living in the most technologically connected, yet lonely generation that ever existed, is almost too much.
We post on social media, and often times it produces the same effect as screaming into the void, hoping someone is listening enough to say, "I hear you."
I'm not an expert on the subject. I can't speak to why my mind taps into my fight or flight instinct when I am triggered, or how I can go from mildly irritated to suicidal in a matter of seconds. I just know how it feels.
I know the sensation of being helplessly disconnected from rational thought. To watch every happy memory of my loved ones be drowned in the black ocean of a numb and cynical mind.
I also know that when I wake up the next morning I'll lay in bed listening to myself breathe, feeling relieved that I made it through the night and embarrassed for what I put my loved ones through. I'll hold the side of my head and sigh. My eyelids will be chapped and burning from too much crying, but give it a day or two and I'll be all better for the next round of waterworks.
It's like clockwork. Sometimes I'll be fine for a few months, I'll even forget what it feels like to be so depressed, but then, just when I feel I've conquered it, it comes around, showing its ugly head when least expected. But you know how I get through it?
I have hope.
Finding Hope: The Antidote
If you're having a hard time finding hope, I hear you.
If I could reach out of this article and give you a hug, I would. You know why? Because I care, and I get it. And another thing: You are loved.
I don't care if this society has brainwashed you into thinking the "L" word is only a big deal in romantic relationships. No, no.
Love is caring about someone outside of yourself. It's kind. It's lovely. It's patient. It's unconditional. You don't have to show yourself worthy of it, because the truth is, Love is grace. It meets you where you are, just the way you are. Right now.
You have intrinsic value. There is no one in the world that is just like you. You have a mind and a personality that is as unique as your fingerprint.
It's okay not to always feel okay. It's okay to feel however you feel at this moment and at those other moments, too.
There is help for people like you and me out there, and if you need someone to talk to, please don't hesitate to reach out to a loved one or a professional.
In case of an emergency, call 9-1-1.
You can also reach mental health professionals by calling:
If you're not in immediate danger, and just want to share your journey, I'd love to hear from you. You can contact me here.
One of the hardest things I ever did was to speak up, but you know what? I am so glad I did.
Don't stop fighting. Your life is worth living.
With the help of my support system and a quick Google search, I was able to find a therapist that was perfectly suited for me and at a good price. Don't be discouraged from seeking help because of monetary or any other reasons.
Sometimes it takes a day or two before I surface, but when I do, I'll realize that what seemed like all darkness to me before, is actually a sky dotted with stars of all kinds.
If I look out far enough I might even catch a glimpse of the sunrise. Night doesn't last forever, so when I'm going through it bad, I'll simply count my breaths until the dawn, when I can see more clearly that I was never alone.
You are never alone.