My alarm goes off, and I instantly roll over to turn it off. Every part of my body screams, wanting nothing more than to curl back up under my covers, to hide from the outside world. I gather the courage and energy to push myself out of bed, and when I look at my reflection in the mirror, hanging from my wooden doorway, I cringe. I see the dried tears from last night, I see the creases on my forehead from overthinking, and in my eyes, I see the depths of my own sorrow. I remind myself that positivity stems from within, and force a smile. Only to see tears replace themselves in my eyes.
Every morning I wake up, hopeful that this day will be better than yesterday. That today I won’t cry myself to sleep as I do every night. I wake up praying that I will finally have a peace of mind. As each day goes on, I find it more and more difficult to bring myself out of bed. Social interactions I once enjoyed, feel more like a burden now. Pretending to be happy is harder than I could ever imagine and there are days where I feel myself drowning in my tears and suffocating while wearing this mask. But each day, I put on my face, hoping no one will notice, wanting nothing more than to curl up in my bed.
The culture I come from has yet to accept that mental illnesses are real. And that depression and anxiety can be just as life threatening as a serious illness. A serious illness, like cancer, has treatment options. But, how do you treat depression when it isn’t as tangible? And how does one ask for help when their entire life they have been told that being depressed is a choice, and so is choosing to be happy.
I didn’t just wake up one day, deciding that I would be depressed. I didn’t wake up one day, choosing to be happy. And thus far I’ve managed to convince everyone in my life that I am truly happy, that my life is perfect. I may be the person people love being around simply because I light up the room or bring a smile to their faces, but that is only because I know what true darkness is like.
Depression isn’t loud, it’s the quiet battle I fight every day, struggling to understand what it is I am truly fighting.
Depression isn’t obvious and in your face, rather it is hidden deep down underneath and comes out when no one is looking in sobbing fits or screams into my pillow.
It is the sleepless nights I have, where I can do nothing but stare at the ceiling at 2 AM, wondering what is wrong with me.
It is the days where I can’t even explain why I am upset, but just that I am. It’s the days where inexplicable tears stream down my face without warning.
Depression is a cloud I carry everywhere with me, it just hangs there. I walk around afraid to be happy, because every time I’ve been happy, something bad has happened. I’ve gone from living to just existing. And I’m not sure what is scarier, knowing that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to live, or that all I know now, is only how to exist.
Especially after falling in love, I’ve realized that I am a handful. And my love and respect grow every day for those who accept all that I am. Because truthfully, I am still trying to accept myself. And honestly, it is the love I have for everyone in my life that keeps me going. It is because of their happiness that my happiness has always come second. And working to make them happy, has allowed me to forget, even if it is just for a second, my internal struggles. On my hardest days, I flip through old text messages from my loved ones, and they remind me that I am stronger than this. That I can overcome the demons that exist within me.
My depression continues to taunt me, but each day I try to remind myself that there is so much to be thankful for. My depression has brought me much grief and self-doubt, but it has also taught me that hope still exists. Even when I feel I’ve hit rock bottom, I know that there is nowhere else to go, but up. In the end, regardless of what happens, things will get better. I may have more bad days than I’d like, but that doesn’t mean my life is all that awful.
And in the moments that seem hopeless and dark, a voice inside pushes me not to let my depression define who I am. Each day may seem like it is becoming more and more difficult, but I am learning how to live through my depression, rather than living with it. And someday, I want to inspire others, to know that giving up is never an option.
Because surviving through it will be the most beautiful chapter of my life.