It’s been months since I’ve written about my OCD. Often, painting a picture through words helps me cope. But I thought that if I picked up my pen this time, all I’d see — all anyone would see — was darkness.
Depression. It’s a common term that many use to describe sadness. To express the tears streaming down their face at night, or the crippling stress from piling bills, or the gutting heartache from a devastating breakup.
So, really, I wasn’t sure I even had it. Because, well, I didn’t feel that. I felt nothing, mostly. And when I did feel, it wasn’t sadness. It was terror. Fear — not of death, but of living. I couldn’t imagine waking up just one more day.
Don’t get me wrong: I wanted to wake up. I wanted to jump out of bed like I used to, excited to take the train to work and grab lunch with coworkers, to buy books at my favorite store and stay up too late drinking coffee at midnight while editing my novel, my boyfriend on the couch next to me. But I was petrified of doing so. Because life just…didn’t make me happy anymore. Or maybe it did, but only on unreasonable terms that weren’t being met. And that realization isn’t easy to accept.
I didn’t know how to talk to people. To my family. To my friends. I couldn’t even look my boyfriend in the eye without breaking down. And that only made it worse, of course, to see the desperation on his face and to know that I’d caused it. How selfish was I to burden him? He’d spent his days commuting to the city and working in the office, and there I was stressing him out as soon as he’d get home at eight o’clock in the evening. He had his own issues — real ones. All I had were superficial notions within me, crying wolf, disguised as detriment to my life.
I knew something was wrong with me, something different from what I was used to, yet still a close relative. Call it what you want; label it as you must. But when you’re dealing with thought after thought, obsession after obsession, fear after fear, it doesn’t seem to matter what the source is. That’d be like standing in a storm and staring up at the sky, trying to analyze which cloud each drop was falling from.
They all merged as one, and the point was, if I didn’t seek shelter soon, I would drown.
I could no longer find the desire to leave my bed. I stopped answering texts. Ditched plans with my friends. Avoided family members. Refused to let my boyfriend touch me. Quit writing for months.
There’s a reason so many people who struggle with mental health don’t open up, or lose the will to live: because often, it doesn’t make any fucking sense. It just is. You can’t put it into words, or find an explanation through a blood test, or even get support without hearing, “You’re stronger than this.” It feels like it’s all on you, because, at the end of the day, it is. And that’s a heavy responsibility, especially when you can barely get out of bed. When your heart is racing before you even open your eyes, and your stomach is sick from the night before, and your head is the host of a raging storm.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, dealing with mental health disorders, especially multiple at once, is complicated, to put it lightly. It’s like trying to reason with a brick wall that’s blocking your path.
But I’ve learned that you can either let it stop you from moving forward, questioning why it’s there and why you can’t see through it while the person next to you can; or you can knock it down and face the turmoil head-on.
Only you know how hard you’re fighting. Only you feel the sharp knife of each breath. But only you can tell your story — one that others desperately need to read. So, don’t let yours end. There are so many pages left to paint. And there are so many more colors than black and white.