I have had problems for as long as I can remember. From panic attacks at 9 years old, to developing anxiety and more panic disorders as a preteen, then PTSD as a teenager, my own mind is something that I have always battled with.
I spend everyday dealing with my own mind, but if you are anything like me you eventually seem to forget that “normal ” people don’t deal with this. Most people don’t have to debate with themselves whether they are deserving of food, of sleep, but most importantly of love.
Recently I have felt as if I have been climbing the staircase of my life, the weight of my traumas and disabilities pressing against my shoulders, but it feels stable. I can only liken it to being on autopilot, my legs keep moving step by step, but I am not falling as regularly as I have done. As I watch myself from 3rd person, as is the blessing or curse of my unyielding introspection, I wonder how I am ploughing on through storm after storm and ask why I have such a stoic attitude to what would cripple a normal girl of my age.
And as I cut through the vines and creepers of endurance encasing my brain, I begin to realise that perhaps the thew of my spirit is not from an inherent desire to get better, but the opposite, not wanting to get worse. Because if I am completely honest, I spend a lot of my time balancing my weight on the edge of a void, and that void is my own demise. My end.
I know that to get worse than I am, to give in, to stop trekking these paths of hot coals is to die. Now, I have faced suicidal ideation for a long time, and the face of that void is not one unfamiliar to me. It isn’t as if I never wanted to commit suicide, I have had that urge more times than I can count. Plans, fantasies and letters to people I hope they never read, all have formed by the existence of this void. But the thing is, I never gave into it. Even though sometimes the craving for the release of my suffering is so strong I can feel it gnawing at my bones, there is always some reason I don’t want to go yet.
Somewhere inside of me there is a little girl who just wants to have a happy and peaceful life, and I feel I would be betraying her if I gave up on that hope. So I keep moving. Dying would be so much easier than trying to live like this, but pushing like the stubborn mule I am is all I have ever known.
No one ever gave me the opportunity to falter, to be weak, to show my pain to the true extent of how it seeps through every cell of my body, perhaps that's not a good thing? Maybe I should have had someone to lean on? But the reality is that the only constant in my darkest depths has been myself. And now, realising why I have kept going for so many years despite the worst happening to me, it just solidifies my reasoning. I know that to end my life would be to utterly disrespect myself, to make all the blood, sweat and tears I shed irrelevant as I never reached that dream of my 12 year old self.
To feel happy and safe again.
Everything I have persevered through, from realising my parents' failure to protect me to realising the person you loved so much abused you so severely as a teenager you developed a lifelong pain disorder, would be wasted. Ultimately the hardest realisation I face is that suicide isn’t in my cards anymore, because I want to live. I have no choice but to keep pushing on, grappling and surviving through the war of my mess of pain.
However, I am so grateful I am finally hopeful for the rest of my life. The void isn’t always in front of me anymore.
Written by a client E.L