NONFICTION: The Other Half of Me
By Tianna Grosch
I worry for my mental health, especially as I am about to become a wife. I feel an obligation to another, a man I love truly with my entire soul. I have found my second half, but I do not wish my second half to suffer along with me and I fear that he will, as he sees me sometimes slip away into the darkness and he does not know how to pull me back.
Despite my current happiness, there are evenings — countless, when I believe there should be none — when my depression slips around me like a heavy cloak. One I cannot easily shrug off. I spend more time crying than I wish to. I sometimes cannot bring myself to be as intimate as I want to be with my partner. I find it difficult to give myself and my body away to another. This worries me as I am mere weeks away from marriage. Shouldn’t I be nothing but elated? I punish myself internally for not feeling the ways I believe I should. But then, I am not sure what is right and what is the wrong way to feel, anymore. Perhaps I’ve never known.
In the evenings when we sit together, alone, on the front porch, the summer heat making us both sweat, our hands linked, staring out at the fireflies as they beam up from the grass in a buoyant dance, there is peace. But still, there are moments when the black thoughts creep in. As the sun sets, my mood sometimes blackens as well. And then the tears come, and I find myself crying, crying.
He is still so sweet. I worry he will leave, just the same. I worry I will not be good enough, that I will not make him happy enough. But I lose sight of myself, of my own struggles and my own attempts at happiness.
“You do not have to cry out for attention anymore,” he tells me. “You always have my attention, I am always aware that you are not doing well.”
Like the girl I used to be who would dive into the water and sink, sink, sink, wishing I had gills, wishing I could breathe beneath the water just like a mermaid. I would hold my legs together and kick them both at once, gliding through the underwater world, opening my eyes despite the sting. I always wanted to be part of a world I did not belong to. And now I find myself breeching that again, becoming a wife. It is something I never truly believed I could become, yet here I am on the brink of attaining all that I have ever desired. Shouldn’t I be happier? Shouldn’t my depression slip away like the bubbles that would rise as I blew out my breath in one burst, watching them float up above and break the surface — the world I would have to re-enter. You can only hide from your truth for so long. You can only hold your breath until your lungs cry out and threaten to collapse inside your chest.
All I wish for is a way to breathe easy, to unwrap the dark cloak that sometimes envelopes me, to become new again, delicate and beautiful like a mermaid traveling leagues of the ocean. I want to have that control of my life again, control of my destiny. I yearn to feel that overwhelming tug of freedom, of having no particular destination and no expectations, but knowing that I can go anywhere in the world, be anything I want to be, and never worry about what others may view me as. To accept the love that is given to me without restraint, to feel I truly deserve this happiness that has found me like an underwater cove, hidden away but discovered by me, and my husband-to-be, who will stand by my side whether I am beneath water or not, blowing the oxygen into my lungs when I forget to breathe, taking the shroud from my eyes when I can no longer see the light.
“You are my other half, I could not imagine life without you.”
And that is what we both say, to each other.
Tianna Grosch has been writing and dealing with mental illness all her life. It leaks into many of her stories, poems, and (of course) creative nonfiction. She finds it important not to shy away from the reality of what so many people face. Read her work at CreativeTianna.com or follow her on Twitter @tiannag92. No matter what, she hopes her works inspire others and encourage them that though the struggle may continue, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.