I’ve always been someone who can’t keep anything inside or bottled up. When I’m happy, I share my happiness with those around me. When I’m sad, I find comfort in discussing it with those who care enough to listen. When I’m mad, I explode and when I’m excited, I jump around. I have always been someone who feels emotions in extremes and I give each emotion the time it needs; whether be it happiness or sadness. In a world that has become so brutal and careless, I have resorted to writing as a way of expressing those feelings and emotions as we live in a time where “how are you” has become a rhetorical question and it is no longer actions that are constantly judged, but even mere thoughts. I don’t mean to sound bitter, but that is the truth. We are so consumed by how others view us and their thoughts of us that we only truly allow ourselves to portray our happy moments and speak only of our achievements and notions that we believe would be socially acceptable. That is why you find people on Instagram who seem to have it all together, but you don’t see someone having a breakdown and posting it for the world to see. You find articles on Facebook praising someone for their achievements, but you don’t find articles in which someone is being insulted for unsatisfactory performance. I, for instance, wake up every morning and search for the perfect outfit, I put my makeup on and head to work. Anyone who sees me at work, just like any of my friends on Facebook or Instagram, would tell you that the smile never leaves my face. But God knows that by the end of the day, when I’m back in my comfort zone, it suddenly hits me, that I’m not the happy person that I would like others to believe that I am, I am only a person who is waiting for the next morning to choose another outfit to live the exact same day over and over again. So for once, here is the truth:
For years now, I have found it difficult to speak openly with anyone because I was too afraid of being misjudged, misinterpreted, misunderstood and basically disliked. Things just kept building up until I reached the point where the closest things to me had become my anxieties. Anxiety; that alone is an issue that no one fully understands unless one has suffered from it as much as I have suffered. And the worst part of it all is that I never felt that I had the right to be anxious, not when God has granted me everything I have ever wished or prayed for. I am thankful, very thankful for being born and raised by my family and I am thankful for everything that was provided for me through them, be it a roof over my head, food, education, love, care…. and mostly I am thankful that although their lives included hurdles and health problems, they overcame each one and are still around me, safe and happy. I’m grateful to have a job and to have something to look forward to everyday. I’m grateful to have friends around me that care about me. I realize how lucky I have been and I want to assure you that I don’t take and have never taken any of it for granted. But I just couldn’t seem to shake my anxieties off or that big dark cloud from above me. There were days where I felt that it really doesn’t get any better and there is really no point to anything that we go through so I might as well just sit there, living the same day over and over again until it just stops. Depressing, right? And that’s why these thoughts were never shared with anyone… because really, who would want to listen to a downer? That is the thing about depression. You would expect it from someone who is sick, unemployed, homeless or has lost someone, but you don’t expect it from people who seem to have it all together. But once you stop and look around, you find that even those who live in poverty, find happiness in the little things and those that are sick, fight for their lives until their last breath. So why do some people just give up? And the answer that I have finally reached is that our mind is our biggest enemy and it can control you in a way where it blinds you from seeing that it does get better, it paralyzes you from doing something about it, and by far the worst thing it does to you is it deters you from your true self, from your value system, from your beliefs and most importantly your faith. And now really, if you don’t have faith (and I mean faith in any form of higher power), then can you really overcome anything?
We instead start relying on others to make us feel better about ourselves, but the even bigger truth is, our disappointments do not only come from others failing to meet our expectations, but from the expectations that we build on behalf of others. A good support system is always nice; that constant reminder that you are loved and your wellbeing is important to others but it really all comes down to you. As much as people put the effort to be there for you, they have their lives and their own demons to deal with, whether big or small, and your mental state should not be reliant on your expectations of their availability to be there for you. This is your life that is at stake here, this is your time that is being wasted and it really only boils down to you to pull yourself out of the deep hole that your mind has dug you in. There’s only so much that others can do and you shouldn’t expect more. And I’m not saying it’s easy, but you need to take back your power and control the negativity that has transcended and taken over your every thought. You need to find your strength again and keep searching for whatever it is that will pull you up again to the point where you are no longer suffocating. It will all be trial and error until you find it. Let it be a new hobby, a new sport, a new mistake. Find whatever it is, and I mean whatever it is, that will bring you even the slightest happiness or excitement, just anything to make you feel something again, anything to make you feel alive again. Possibility is that it might be something that one day you will not be proud of, a mistake, but sometimes there really is no other choice and that is okay. You need to accept that it is okay to mess up, but that you also take something good out of it, whether it is an experience or a lesson. I will not encourage you to find it at the expense of other peoples’ happiness but I will encourage you to be selfish as it is probably your own selflessness and inability to say no that has got you to the state you are in now. But most importantly, as you seek out your own safety ring, as you find whatever it is that will bring you peace and give you hope again, keep reminding yourself that it is all temporary. Let it take as long as it takes, but it will pass and you will come out stronger because of it. So cry if you have to, drink if you have to, escape if you have to, but then get up, sober up, wipe your tears and become the person you owe yourself to be.
One thought on “Behind Picture Perfect”
I appreciate your incredible integrity, writing skill and saying it like it is. Just, wow.