Strained Eyes

I don’t know when I got sick, but I don’t know how to get better.

I never wanted to live every day by the minute, waiting for the acceptable time to escape in sleep.

I wanted to write about this for years now. I have pieces of paper in every notebook where I started to write, but it all felt so shallow and inconsequential to what actually happens. I find draft after draft typed on every computer I use, and maybe I now realize how wired and exhausted I am.

I wanted to write it because it has destroyed me. It changed the course of my life. I can be glad that my life changed like it did, but I can also recognize that it hurt those around me, but most importantly, it hurt me. It didn’t ruin my plans, I kept living. It didn’t ruin my lovers, I was meant to move on. It didn’t ruin my family, we are all made of individuals with our own problems. It didn’t ruin my career, I’ve accomplished so much and am allowed to fall short sometimes. But it destroyed me.

I can smile. I can laugh. I can enter a room and want to talk to every person there. I can run. I can yoga. I can watch movies. I can cook. I can invite a person into my home. I can take a picture and marvel at its beauty. I can want to make others happy. I can want to make others feel safe. I can welcome new people. I can help. I can be okay one day. My reality is that I’m so good at hiding.

I can cry. I can stare at a screen for hours. I can obsess about something that happened, someone who happened, some time and place that I loved and can’t feel any more. I can take the medications. I can go to appointments. I can change my diet, change my habits, change my friends, change my job, change my house, change my hair, change my place. But for now, I’m not getting better.

I don’t believe I’m trapped, but I don’t believe this will go away. I’m scared. I tell myself everyday to focus on happiness and forget everything else, but then I slip back into bed and fall asleep for hours and think of all the things I want to do like run along the lake or read a book or write a paper. I make plans. I call friends and tell them I feel sad. They are wonderful and try to help, try to remind me I’ll be okay. They help me to remember just to look ahead. I keep in mind how wonderful I have it with these people who stand beside me, but I can’t stop feeling it creep in again. So, I stay in bed.

I wear bright colors to feel alive. I wear fun jewelry and do my makeup because it makes me feel creative and beautiful for a time. I paint my nails to feel pampered. I braid my hair to try something new. I smile and laugh loudly. I say hello. I don’t have to sulk in a corner to feel it. It is always there, in this space behind my eyes. I can feel it controlling what I see. It controls what I think. It is coming back strong again, and I’m scared. I survived three times. I don’t want to count a fourth, fifth, sixth. I want to never face those thoughts again, to lock myself in a closet or a room hoping I won’t ever walk out of it.

I fight every day with it. I don’t know if I will win. I don’t win every day. I have depression, and for now, it won’t leave me alone. I am allowed to try to be happy. I’m allowed to feel good some days. I’m allowed to hurt, too. I am allowed to cry. I am allowed to need people. I am allowed to need friends. But with depression, sometimes I forget all of those things and feel completely alone and angry. Anger does not make me beautiful. It makes me very sad.