Years of pretending that I’m alright, even when that’s so far from the truth, of putting on a mask, saying the right things and just carrying have made me an expert at fooling people. My anxieties and insecurities have meant I’ve perfected the art of making everyone think I’m not falling apart, so afraid of showing the hurt and pain inside, needing to keep the picture of the ‘perfect’ girl intact, that I’ve pushed people away rather than let them see the truths.
Yet it seems, in trying to fool the world, I also have succeeded in confusing myself. Some days I can’t decide if I feel OK, or if I just think I should feel OK. Am I really feeling a little brighter, or is it what the world expects… I’ve had enough time to grieve, to give in to the madness, that now it’s time things were alright again? Am I just saying the right things, and acting the right way, to keep up that image?
This rollercoaster of emotions has taken its toll, the last few months of last year were just full of craziness… such intense hurt and pain and heartbreak. More tears than I could ever imagine, so many nights laid on the floor, unable to move. Nights lost in the cloud of drink, anything to escape having to feel. Days consumed with just surviving, hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute, avoiding eating, at least the hunger was a tangible pain to focus on, distracting me from anything else.
The New Year came and went, and took with it the brief hope I had that I could just switch off the madness, claw myself back up and drop all the crutches. Just.Like.That. Instead, I found myself consumed in the fog of depression. Numbness where once there was intense pain. Exhaustion instead of the manic energy I had before, yet still, the insomnia remained. I found myself turning time and time again to those old crutches, even when I’d vowed no more. Giving in lead to more self-hate, disgust at myself for not being strong enough. Paranoia that everyone was realising that I wasn’t worth helping, that I was a lost cause.
To the depression, exhaustion, paranoia and fear add a good dose of social anxiety and I’ve been hiding myself away at home, some days unable even to bear checking any messages that come in – the panic sets in when one does, convinced it will be someone telling me how useless I am, how I’m not good enough, I’ve done something wrong. Hiding away for so long, that leaving the house becomes a huge thing to do, it can take me days to work up to being able to get to the shops for supplies. Though isolating myself to protect myself, actually ends up making me feel worse. Lonely because I have no company, more paranoid because I have too much time to think…
Maybe I do feel a little better, maybe that glimmer of hope is hiding just below the surface. There are the odd few hours at a time when I can believe that, when I can eat, and think, and work, and smile, and see that life could be like this all the time. Then the illusion shatters, and I can feel the pull of darkness tugging at my heart again, niggling at the edges of my brain, whispering that things will never change, I can pretend again for a while, but the goodness never lasts.
It’s hard not to believe it, having been here so many times before, when the only way out of the depths of dark is to squash it all down, forget about anything other than putting the mask back up and pretending again.
And yet… this time, I don’t want to. I don’t want to pretend anymore, becuase then I’ll always end up back in this place. I’ll be stuck forever right where I am, and the thought of that is pretty much hell on earth. So I fight the urges to vanish, to delete everything online, to hide away. Try to ignore the paranoia that has me convinced everyone hates me, stop trying to read too much into an innocent message, or read to much into no message at all. Wake up every morning, drag myself up, on the bad days force myself to do something, to keep the wheels turning and all these balls in the air. Keep talking, writing, reaching out. Doing everything that I’ve never done before, in the hope that it’s what I need to do to finally crack this and move on. To not have to live a life behind a mask, to not have to live a life that’s just a front. To be free, to be happy, to be healthy. To not have to live with these never ending waves of crazy highs and unbearable lows.