Hey everyone! As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago (give or take), I sent out a request for a guest blogger. Well, here’s the first Master Blogger to guest post for me. She’s no stranger to mental…challenges, and I think you’ll really dig her work. I sure do. This young woman has a lot of insight, and I expect that she’s only getting started!
Hi! My name is Fai. I’m from NYC and I’m 18 years old. People often call me an old soul. I began writing to help me cope with some hard times and I guess it’s surprising because I was always told that I was a horrible writer. But I hope you enjoy and thank you for reading!
Guest Post- Snowfall
There’s this picturesque image of snow in our mind. It’s pure, fluffy, and a never ending cover of white. It’s almost inviting till you trudge out in it and feel it, rubbing your cheeks against the icy cold feeling that suddenly feels unpleasant and hard to handle an hour through.
I love when snow falls. But then I remember why I hate it when I’m surrounded by it.
Depression had this almost mysterious, romantic idea to it as well. I can’t explain it. It’s naïve but that image was definitely there before I had a long journey with it. The loneliness was captivating and the defeated girl lying in bed for some reason was really pretty. I’m not saying I wanted to go through depression or my panic disorder. But mental illness was something people couldn’t relate to. Even though, ironically it’s something most people go through without even realizing. However, it was the first thing people separated themselves from, distancing themselves to it. To them it was just another part of the list of problems a character had to deal with in a book. They were the lyrics to a song or the plot to a black and white music video.
However, the first thing I was told when I found out I had a major depressive disorder, was that it was like a cold. It was as common as a cold. And just like a cold it feels like crap. (The last part was something I deduced on my own.)
I was in the middle of my sophomore year in high school. At that time my regular life consisted being out from 6am in the morning to 8pm at night, doing whatever possible to make me stand out in my already prestigious high school. By then I thought it was normal to have grown up crying every day in the shower, staying awake at night, and having suicidal thoughts as often as I would just think. But to me and everyone around me I was everything but depressed. I was so immersed in my student life and the ambition to do well, that the pressure itself made it hard to even question what the hell was wrong with me. I was already suffering to just get 2 hours of sleep every night. Those anomalies to my “great” life didn’t matter. They shouldn’t matter, I would tell myself.
But that year I slowly started missing school. It started with one day. Then another day and then another. No one saw anything wrong with it. I was doing well with my studies so missing some days didn’t seem to matter to anyone. They just assumed I was taking more “mental” health days than usual which was what the kids in my high school would call it when they missed a day, not because they’re sick but to catch up on sleep or just to rest on the huge workload.
However, despite missing school a day here or there, I kept up with my work and countless club activities as best as I could. Again, without anyone or even me realizing I was falling behind. It was still alright. I could easily catch up. Procrastinating was normal in our family.
But the April of that year was when there was no denying it. It was the trigger that was needed. And my body reacted as if it was waiting for it.
I was sad but I was never good at projecting what I wanted. So when my mother said she needed to go see my grandparents because they were sick in the middle of the school year, I did what I was good at. I smiled and encouraged her when she doubted whether she should go or not, worried I would be sad about her missing my 16th birthday. As always, it was easy to feel no resentment and nodded that I would be fine and pushed her to go. It was the right thing to do. I should understand, I would think.
I always guessed after my breakdown that feeling the loneliness that I felt for years just suddenly physically face me, felt like a punch in the gut.
It just might have been the momentum my degrading mind needed. There was literally no one physically around me at that time. My sister who was away at her first year of college was often hard to reach, my mother overseas and my father at work for most of the day. Then there was school and education that I had dedicated my tiny life to was hard to keep up with. So, I abandoned it and began missing school by weeks instead of days.
So, the next part just happened naturally. I tried to kill myself while my father was asleep. I felt like a coward as I held the knife to my wrists but I couldn’t get the pressure right enough to make a deep cut. I kept slicing and pushing it down against my wrists but only little scratches would appear. Did I lack strength? Was I too fearful to kill myself? Not only did I fail but in the end all I could think was that I was a pathetic weakling. The countless years and nights of imagining this scenario lead to nothing. God, I was totally making a big deal out of nothing.
There were tears, breakdowns, hysteria, confessions, therapy, hospital visits, and the need for a lot of tissues.
Since that day it’s been more than 2 years. During those two years, I became an invalid. I was physically fine but I stayed in my bed not eating for days, hygiene nonexistent, speaking, or basically doing anything. It was hard for me to step out the door. Sunlight was my enemy.
I had stopped going to school completely. However, during those years there were attempts but like people say, you body knows when you’re still not ready. So, I failed miserably at returning to society.
But then again, this isn’t a story of depression or why/ how things went wrong. I’ve stopped nitpicking to why this happened, questioning was it the bullying, my family, or my life itself. Now, to me and is going to be about healing. My journey to getting better has been long and hard. I’m still on that journey. Exactly 2 years after my breakdown (after my suicide attempt during which I was exceptionally calm) I began to actually go out again and see a progression in my health getting better. It didn’t feel like a vicious cycle of trying and failing again. But there are remnants of the storm that’s still there, but the majority has gone by. Some would be my extreme weight loss from starving myself weeks and months. Others would be letting go of pretty much all I knew.
However, that might have been also the best part. My therapist would often compare me to a phoenix. Often you hear the advice of throwing all the weeds or bad seeds, basically people or things that aren’t a good influence in your life, away. I threw out my whole crappy life and started anew. The family I thought that would never change, did eventually, after I changed. Compared to the superficial hundreds that I knew for my first attempt at life, now I can actually name someone in my support system. Not one but six actually. That’s definitely more than the zero before.
However, all this positivity and happy crap you won’t honestly feel the point off if you’re still in the middle of it. I was terrified, angry at the world and mostly confused at when things would get better during those very long years. You won’t feel it or see it till it happens, when things begin to get better. To some that’s the end. To other’s that’s the beginning. I do know that those two years felt like a never ending black hole where time ceased to exist. All I can say is that even if you can’t hold on just breathe. Just exist because I know there will be a day that will come and you won’t regret doing it. From that day you can start living and not just existing. But I’m sorry if I can’t tell you till when you have to wait. It’s the scariest, and the part where you have to be the bravest. But it is also the most rewarding. Not because you become wiser or stronger. But because life actually gets better.
Please be sure to go by her place & tell her you read her guest blog here!
Posted from my cabin in the mountains.