Understanding The Morning and Mental Illness

This morning I could barely drag my lifeless body and debilitated mind out of bed. One might think this typical for a Monday morning, but my story is far from typical. I woke up with the weight of the world pushing me down into the mattress, voices in my ears whispering to me that I was not strong enough to take on the day, exhaustion, lethargy, and despair beating me down before I had the chance to sit up and see the sunshine. Despite this feeling of being utterly pointless and inevitably alone in the world, I kicked my feet out from under the blanket and stumbled out of my room. I looked in the mirror at a pale face with dark bags cupping my sad and distant eyes – an expression that told the tale of a broken heart struggling to continue beating. I observed my slouched posture, my shaking hands, my baggy clothes, my knotted hair, and hated myself for how weak and pitiable I looked. I hated myself more for not being able to shake the feeling.
Somehow, I ended up here writing these words. I brushed out the knots in my hair, pasted a smile on my face, forced my feet to move to the car and forced my hands to steer the wheel, numb and hardly thinking as I drove to my job where I will smile and wave and work despite my mind and heart remaining in that cold, dark place I woke up in. I will be here, but I will also not be. I will experience a paralyzing fear of events that are entirely unlikely – graphic nightmares that will replay over and over in my mind until my heart is pounding, my mind is racing, and I am overcome with anxiety and fear beyond all reason and rationality.
This is depression. This is anxiety. It is a terrifying reality when you find you have become a slave to your mental illness. It is absolutely not a choice. If you know someone who is suffering, please do not hold that misconception. Please be aware that oftentimes ,the hardest battles are those that cannot be seen or heard but felt. It is far from easy to wage a war within yourself that no one on the outside can see or understand. I know deep within my heart that I have everything to live for and endless reasons to be happy, but so often I find myself hollow and broken because depression does not discriminate. It preys on the weak, the strong, the fortunate, the heartbroken, the wealthy, the poor, the healthy, and the sick. It is not determined by external factors; rather, it is a poison that unknowingly seeps into your life and eats away at you from inside your soul until you are nothing but an empty shell.
Though it is hidden beneath my pain as I write these words, I do have hope that one day I will overcome this. When I look forward into the future, I envision a stronger version of myself, one who has danced with depression and overcame it. But for today, for this moment, I am walking the plank, praying that my feet do not falter and I do not fall into the depth of my sorrow and drown in it. For this moment, I am fighting the burning desire to give in to this most powerful enemy.
If you know someone who is fighting a similar battle, show them they are not alone. Be their strength and their comfort. For I can assure you that when depression hits, it steals their’s away.

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