‘I am not okay.’ It feels so good to finally say these four little not so little words. For the past month or so I have been balancing on a somewhat slippery knife. I have battled lows and serious breakdowns that left me so exhausted. I might have pushed a lot of people away because I was not willing to accept that I needed help. I have always believed in being there for people, I have never really known how to accept a helping hand.
I have almost perfected the art of having a poker face. I showed up where I had to be ,a shell of what I really am. I did what I had to do and retreated to bed for a never-ending series of naps and silent tears. I learnt the art of texting,”I’m okay”,”I’m good” and my favorite line, “I’m fine”. Few realised I wasn’t doing as well as I made them believe and they reached out as I hid further in the shadows. During these times,music became the ointment I lathered over the burns that had left my soul raw and open.
My most recent breakdown left me in tears. My chest hurt so bad and my stomach felt like it had been stuck together with glue. The kind of crying that makes the throat dry and you have to bite into a pillow to keep it all under wraps. All my insecurities and fears knocked me to the ground. I did not have any fighting strength left in me. In the comfort of my bed, I thought of how the world might be a better place if I could leave.I couldn’t write no matter how hard I pushed myself. Nothing made sense apart from the thoughts in my head.
Some days dragged on for so long, I even skipped classes something I never do. I couldn’t speak up,who will understand what I say? I have heard people say there are so many reasons to be happy since I am lucky to be alive. They don’t know of the silent prayers made when the mind is so clouded by dark thoughts. They don’t know how it feels to be in shambles thinking of how useless life is. How it feels when your head tells you that nobody cares and how big a burden you are to society.
They think that it’s attention seeking antics,they say things that make it all worse and bury us deeper in the ground. They do not know the silent battles we fight, I am speaking about anxiety and the monster that is gaining recognition of late,depression. Mental illness is real, that sounds cliche but that is the sad reality. It is to a point annoying to depend on meds to keep emotions in check. I sometimes wish I could give a warm hug to every soul out there who struggles to stay afloat.
It’s not easy explaining why I suddenly started crying in a matatu or in the middle of a lecture, it has happened several times and I had to pretend there was dust in my eyes. It’s hard to explain why I hate malls and can’t go to the school tuckshop alone without people thinking I am overreacting.
Other times there are strong urges to make it hurt,physical pain is better that emotional torture,isn’t it? Well it breaks my heart each time someone makes fun of mental illness. I silently wish it befalls them just for 24 hours ,it’s mean but it is very infuriating when you listen to them.
It feels like I am ranting which I am anyway but having to constantly worry about suddenly having a breakdown any single minute takes the fun out of everything. On the other hand it teaches one to enjoy the little pockets of sunshine thrown your way. A good support system is amazing. It works miracles, bringing rain to deserts. Having people who do not give up on me helps me find strength to crawl back up.
For now, I am genuinely okay. I am laughing and feeling alive. A week ago, I was giving up on everything but now there’s reprieve. I can say there’s a rainbow in the sky.