Shattered. Broken. Falling to pieces inside. I’m trying to hold myself together with tape and glue and little bits of string. I think if I wrap my arms around myself and hug myself tightly enough I can hold it all together. But no amount of patch work can fix me. Broken beyond repair. The cognitive behavioral techniques aren’t working right now. The anti-depressants, the mood enhancers: they can’t fix me tonight. Some days those things are enough. Some days, with the help of the tools in my arsenal, I can fight the good fight. I can feel happy and sane. Other days – nothing is strong enough. This war that I call a life is exhausting. Every day is a battle to see who will win: me, or the negative thoughts inside my brain that are telling me there isn’t anything worth fighting for. Oh sure, I have a family and friends who love me. I have two beautiful dogs who depend on me, but some days those things can’t break through the pain. When I’m sitting there, holding myself together, quite literally, I can’t feel any of those good things. It’s like they can’t reach through the brokenness to heal my shattered heart. It’s an emotional pain so real that it becomes physical. My heart hurts. My heart hurts to its deepest core. And nothing I can say or do or think is strong enough to ease the pain or break me out of that dark place. A therapist I had in college once asked me what my feelings would look like if they were a physical manifestation. I described it as a black ball inside me. It starts off small, but it feeds off my pain. The more I hurt the more it grows, and the bigger it grows the more I hurt. It is a never-ending cycle of darkness and pain. And the black ball wants nothing more than to consume my entire being. In those moments, even just the simple act of breathing is painful. And all I want is for it to end. It seems like it never will. But there is an end to every storm. Even the storm of my emotions. Depression lies. Depression tells me that there is nothing good in this world and everything is pain. Depression tells me no one cares about me. Depression tells me there isn’t anything worth fighting for. And anxiety? Anxiety tells me of course no one cares about me; why would they? What is there to care about? I’m not good enough for anything or anybody. Anxiety says only bad things will come out of anything I try to do. Anxiety says I’m broken and I’ll never fit in with other people. They double team me like that – depression and anxiety – filling me with every bleak thought and painful emotion that a person can possibly stand. Depression is a lying douche noodle, and anxiety is the biggest bitch I know. And some days I wish they were real, physical forms. Then I would have something to punch. Something physical to fight. It would be so much easier if the fight were physical. The mental battle is so utterly exhausting. Some days I just get tired of fighting. I struggle to hold myself together with tape and glue and little bits of string, and I hug myself tightly until all the pieces click back into place. Until I can take a breath without my chest hurting. Until I can think thoughts that aren’t only terrible and black. Until I can stand to fight for another day. Because, one day this gets easier. Even if it’s just for a little while. It gets easier. And until then – I’ll be tape and glue and bits of string.
I grew up in a small Southern town. Most people know that the South places a large emphasis on family. Southern parents cannot wait for their children to get married and have children of their own. Most girls are encouraged to get an education, but they are also encouraged to get married early and start families. A lot of my friends and acquaintances from school are married and have children or are married or have children. Growing up, I always thought I would be married and have kids by the time I was the age I am now. But it has not happened for me yet. I haven’t found the right person. For the longest time, it’s like my life has been on hold. I’ve been waiting to live it. I’ve been waiting to find someone, and then I’ll move out of my parents’ house. I’ve been waiting to get married, and then I will travel the world and do all the things I want to do. I’ve been waiting to have children, and then I will be happy. I was in a reflective mood a few days ago, and I realized that the only thing holding me back from living my life is…me.
There are so many things to see and experience, and enjoy in life. But I’ve been waiting. I want to go to Harry Potter world in Universal Studios, I want to see the world, and I want to write a novel. The only reason I haven’t done any of those things is because I’m holding myself back, and for what? For the life I imagined I would have? For someone to share it with? What if I never find that person or get to the imaginary point where I think I need to be? I will have wasted my whole existence…just waiting. I’m learning that I might never get married, and that’s okay. I’m learning how to be happy just being me. I don’t have to wait for the “right” circumstances, because let’s face it, they might never come. I can experience the world; I can have adventures; I can enjoy myself; and I can LIVE. I’m done holding myself back; I’m done waiting.