She painted colors on her face to scare away the demons that lurk in the shadows of the mind
She painted colors on her face so people would see her…and might then notice she was suffering
She painted colors on her face to remind herself that the world isn’t always as dark as it seems
She painted colors on her face because something beautiful isn’t supposed to be destroyed
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
It was midnight last year on an otherwise inconsequential November evening – I think it was a Tuesday… but that part doesn’t really matter. All was quiet in my apartment – my roommate’s TV a distant murmur in the room across the hall, even though she had probably fallen asleep long before. It was just me, my small lamp beaming a soft glow from where it sat in the darkness and the stillness… the overwhelming, overpowering stillness of being alone with my thoughts. Thoughts that quietly morphed from melancholy to … something, some place that I would just as soon not visit again.
I’ve never been a person who necessarily struggles with depression on a day-to-day basis. In fact, most people who know me in real life will probably be very surprised at the darker content matter of this post as I come across as a fairly stereotypical happy, if a bit bubbly, blonde. And I don’t blame them – most days, this is fairly true.
I do tend to adopt more of a “C’est la vie”/ “It’ll all work itself out” mindset in my daily life, but that’s more out of necessity than anything. The necessity of believing that I am not completely in charge of my life, because that’s wayyyyy too much pressure for one person. I do believe in a Higher Power and do typically find great comfort in my faith, but have you ever had moments where nothing can reach through the darkness?
To me, depression is the point where I can’t fight back the memories and/or soul crushing self-doubt anymore. Back to the night last November – as I sat alone, trapped in the confines of my mind, I re-lived every mistake I had made, every harsh or unkind word said to me, every time I wasn’t enough…I began to completely break down.
“She’s so fat… I don’t want to be seen with her.” – One of the many roots of my self-confidence issues
“For loving writing as much as you do, you’re really bad at it. I expected you to be better with as much as you read.” – I didn’t write anything that wasn’t academic for 3 years after this and STILL struggle every time I write something
“You know, if you just lost a little weight, you’d have the boys lining up to date you.” – I just, *sigh*
“She’s not talented or that smart, I don’t see why ____ happened for her.” -……….
Combined with the amount of anxiety I was already under from a job that I wasn’t too fond of, financial concerns, trying to maintain a more healthy lifestyle & failing…it was just too much. I very seriously thought that I wouldn’t be missed much if I wasn’t here anymore, but did manage to talk myself down from that ledge eventually. It wasn’t a fun night, but, by the time morning came, I was in a better place mentally and was able talk to people who helped me sort through the rest in time.
It’s been a year since my breakdown and I can honestly say that I’m in such a better place. In the spring, I finally found a job full of people I love to be around and work that I am excited to do every day. I started writing again for the first time in years, I have become closer with my family and learned to leave unnecessary drama behind where it belongs. Life is better, but I am very much still aware of my weaknesses and the fact that I could easily slip back into the same self-destructive cycle.
I don’t write this to gain pity, but to do my very small part in advancing the cause for mental health awareness by shedding light on the fact that people who are smiling on the outside, might be completely broken on the inside.
My friend and fellow blogger, Amanda (Notyouraveragecoffeebean), wrote an amazing post on her struggle with mental health/ anxiety and how she is able to overcome. I very much urge anyone out there who has the same battle to check it out. She’s so real about what she’s going through, it gave me the courage to write this post. So, thanks Mandie – you are an inspiration and please don’t ever stop being you!
If you’ve made it this far, I am so humbled that you cared enough to read this through to the end. If you see any one struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out. There may not be much you can do at the time, but sometimes just knowing that you’re NOT alone can make all the difference.