From Our Readers: This Is How I Live with My Demons
Anxiety and other mental disorders are never beautiful—even if some movies made them so mainstream that everybody's saying they have it. Never ever romanticize such disasters that live inside someone; there's nothing good in having constant fear that something might trigger what's not right in you to the point that you eventually lose yourself in the process.
Anxiety and other mental disorders are never beautiful—even if some movies made them so mainstream that everybody's saying they have it.
It's not as beautiful as people paint it to be. It's like waking up every day and meeting the demands of the world, while you painfully battle the urge to stay inside your room. It's a battle of thoughts about thinking you're going to be alright. There is also the lingering thought that nobody really understands, especially the people you meet at school or work. It's a burdensome thought that what if I was normal like everyone else; I wish I was like them.
When you see the world that everybody has quite the same opinion of, you never really get what they mean. Sometimes you are more superficial than the rest, and sometimes you see deeper than what they see. You also have little moments of victory when you feel and act as normal as possible, when you get to hang out with others and you think this is me—a beautiful me—not weird, not creepy, and not quite dangerous.
It's also having continuous plan on how to escape your situation—dreaming and thinking—that sometimes, when you think planning helps, it just actually worsens it. You just get lost inside your mind and on most days, you act like you function normally but you can't lie to yourself. It's more than a shadow, too. Sometimes, it's a doorway that invisibly follows you. It's a doorway which opens to a place where things are more familiar than the physical world you're living in. You find happy places you've never actually been to, you live in a pit of danger which you're not allowed to escape from, and you see different versions of yourself that only you know.
It's more than a shadow. Sometimes, it's a doorway that invisibly follows you. It's a doorway which opens to a place where things are more familiar than the physical world you're living in.
Sometimes, it's all geometric figures or distorted places, faces, and ideas. It's more than fantasy, not horror, but worse because you have to live with it every single day. It's more than the advice you're given, your advisers, your loving and supportive parents and peers, and not even the empty bottles of pill or medication given to you. And when you think of happiness, what is it? Can you possibly have it? If the normally functioning mind finds it hard to process, find, and grasp, how much worse would it be for people like you.
When you think of happiness, what is it? Can you possibly have it? If the normally functioning mind finds it hard to process, find, and grasp, how much worse would it be for people like you.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
This is how it works every day for the ones categorized as mild and controllable. Can you imagine how worse it is for those who can't even function like a child? The people who belong to a type who can't see themselves within themselves? To those who have to conquer battles more deeply inside before they can face how to live with the demons outside? Just imagine. You'll see it is not a Hollywood dream come true in our real world.
Are you going through depression or anything you think you can't handle? There's a safe space for you to talk about what you're going through. Call 804-HOPE (4673).
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First. Pixie dust and paper cuts – these are the first things Wendy knew about Peter Pan. Aurora first met Prince Philip when she was sixteen. Learning how to ride a bike was also a first while I was growing up, but you are probably the first of too many. The first collection of dust and stars; maybe Luna will try to ask, who was your first? I might answer and tell her that it was you.
The first of too many stars in the sky. You are the first of too many fallen leaves during fall – and you will be the most anticipated snowflake as winter comes. A dark path that you can’t see without any light, hence, you were once the moon and there are the stars that shine so bright at night. Are we too early? Or we just really want to be ahead of time? Even in a glimpse, I would like to see the two of us connect as if we can reach the sky. There are other parts of the heavens you have never saw and other oceans you haven’t laid your feet onto – but the constellations will always wait for you. Close your eyes, love, close your eyes. Start counting backward: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Count backward until you see the twinkling lights that will guide you to the right path. To the right satellite; to the right person. A first.
There are many firsts – first love, first heartbreak, first sport you played, the first thing you do in the morning, the first thing you remember about the person in front of you. There are a lot. It’s actually up to us how we will consider something as a first. So, Primo, you are already a first of too many.
If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.
And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.
Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.
Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”