One thing goes wrong. Okay, how do I fix it? Then something else goes wrong, then another, and another. Slowly but surely little pieces of you are whittled away without realization and one day, you hit rock bottom. Thoughts, crises, problems, anxiety, stress, hyperventilation, crying, sobbing uncontrollably for hours even come flooding in – welcome to Hell.
I’ve been to this version of Hell. I remember the day it hit me. It’s like my life ceased to exist. I could not speak to anyone. I would not leave the house. I missed birthday parties. I missed my family. I lost my friends. No one existed outside of my bubble. I simply could not face anyone. It stayed this way for almost a year. I remember at one point my parents came to my house to make sure I was still alive. I wouldn’t answer my phone when anyone called – and I mean anyone. I was there in a physical sense, but my mind had checked out. Those closest to me used my downfall to criticize me even further. I was constantly reminded that I was at fault, a failure, a result of my own doing, and this helped obliterate any remaining human emotion I once had.
I still ate, showered, and did a routine. But outside of my four walls, there was no world. I had no purpose, no vision, no hope, and no desire to see anyone ever again. I had been broken down to the smallest portion of a human being that was possible. I never thought about tomorrow. I was just surprised each day when I even woke, still breathing. I often wished for death. I didn’t care if it came in my sleep, my day, my night – I just wanted it all to end. Now.
It didn’t end. It would get worse before it would get better. Slowly, one day at a time, my brain started to work again. I started thinking. I started deciding. I started evaluating. Myself, my situation, everything was scrutinized. I obsessed over the people that were in my life, critically taking apart every action, sentence, hurtful word, and anything leading up to my fall from reality. I started looking at myself too. Don’t think I was getting away with not realizing my part in the downward spiral. I failed myself, a normally strong, stubborn, creative, intelligent, generous, helpful person was diluted into no more than a physical being. I allowed that to happen. I didn’t deal with the stress well enough. Or did I? If I did, how could I let myself change like that? Surely I could have done things differently. So I searched and searched until I found some answers. Slowly I started peeking out of the shell I had created, and I started taking a step each day.
Things got better and I became accustomed to my new reality. I would never be the person I once was, but this version was smarter. Wiser. Adapted. I had new-found abilities I had never used before. My brain worked differently. I saw people differently. And I forged ahead. Every day is still a struggle, but I make it through. Things have gotten rough again at times, but I’m still here, still breathing, still waking up every day. I still feel that I have no purpose at times, and that I am still just going through the motions. But I’m going through them the only way I know how. Just keep breathing.
I was recently criticized – chastised even – for not being understanding and sympathetic enough to someone’s problems. Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. Some days I feel overly sympathetic and nice towards others. Other days, I really don’t want to hear it. I don’t always say the right thing. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. Pointing out my faults constantly and making me feel horrible without attempting to understand my position only accomplishes one thing: your alienation. I was once an expert at this, and I am still capable of cutting off someone in an instant if they keep making me feel horrible. I don’t need the beatdown; I’ve been beaten enough. Take me as I am or keep walking.