This article was initially published through The Mighty.
I recognize the vacant, absent look in your eyes, searching for one spark of hope in an endless maze of darkness. Every morning, you wake up with a boulder sitting on your chest, so heavy it's hard to breathe. You feel unwanted, no matter what people say, because another voice speaks louder. Your family needs you, something small whispers from deep inside, and some days you can actually hear the words, like a life preserver you reach for desperately in a rocking ocean of pain. On bad days, the other voice roars in your head, drowning it out. No, you're worthless, it says. It has the ability to mimic your own voice. Mine sounds like my inner voice, but it tells me all of the things I cannot do on repeat. Mimicking the voices of loved ones, it distorts and twists pieces of conversations into knots of lies, and exaggerates self-destructive thoughts.
I am my own worst critic.
Mine shows me regrets -- things I should have done. It tells me I can never do the things I want to do or be the beautiful person my friends and family believe I am. Taking a fowl, dark, hand and muffling my voice, it tries to keep me from talking to those I love. It tries to isolate me, whispering, you're better off alone anyway, no one will understand how you feel. It tells me I'm too fat, too skinny, too ugly, too sick, a terrible mother, a bad person, and whatever else it needs to sink its tentacles deeper into my mind. All using my own voice, until I am a hollow shell, empty and defeated.
I recognize the hollow look in your eyes because I too am struggling.
You are not alone in this murky labyrinth of depression. There are others like us fumbling around in the dark. Silence only serves the illness, making it stronger. Getting help, talking to someone, even a friend is the first step. Everything might seem lost and hopeless right now. I promise if you hold on one more day, you will light up again eventually. You are never truly alone. We can navigate the mental health system together. You don't have to struggle alone anymore.
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"And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn't have to anymore." ― Anne Lamott, "Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year"
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.