Battling Mental Illness.
I remember the phone ringing and a few moments later, my name would be called out.
“It’s for you.” Someone would say
I would cringe and in a panic, I would pretend that I didn’t hear anything. But they would just keep yelling out to me.
“You have a phone call.”
I had to start telling everyone that if anyone called for me, they were to tell whoever it was that I wasn’t home. Which is exactly what they did. If they didn’t – I would keep the caller on hold until finally, they decided to hang up. Cruel, I think so too but the need to be left alone was far greater than the companionship anyone could offer. The doorbell would sound and locked behind the door to my room, I would hear a familiar voice slip in from beneath it. Sometimes, little, soft knocks could be heard and along with them, a soft, sweet voice saying my name. Asking me to please open the door. Saying “I just want to see if you’re ok.”
I never opened the door. I just sat there, huddled on my bed in a grotesque shape of sorrow, anger and pain. My cellphone would ring and I would just glare at it. Horror seeping through me sometimes. All I wanted it to do was to stop. Stop ringing. Leave me alone I would mutter. I would plead. There was a void inside me that no one could fill even if they tried. This wallowing emptiness that I somehow fell into. This darkness that became me.
Then one day, the phone calls stopped. The door bell would sound but whoever was on the other side didn’t come for me. The missed calls turned into no calls and my heart would sigh from relief. There were no more invitations or requests for me to come to parties or to hang out as friends do. No more messages of hey, how are you. There was none of that. Just a looming silence that I found comfort in; I thought. A looming silence that sometimes – screamed. I was alone now; this cloud of darkness had sucked me in and I had pushed away friends and family. I had pushed away all the good that was given to me. Loneliness would sound in each breath I took. I became utterly alone; engulfed by a raging darkness that had only begun.
Food became my enemy and the scale became my friend. I saw myself through the eyes of others and every single derogatory word that had ever been spat at me; stung my heart and stayed. So, I stopped eating. No food today and no food the next day and the day after that. The ache in my stomach made me smile. As I would rest my head onto my pillow at night, that pain – that emptiness – was the only thing I knew to be real. And so, it began; a vicious cycle that held me in it’s clutches. My wide hips started to narrow and my stomach grew flatter. I would gaze at my naked body in my stained bedroom mirror and remind myself why what I was doing mattered. The days I caved in and ate; I needed to be punished. So, the toilet became my second home. The burn in my throat comforted me and soon my starting weight of 236 pounds faded and faded and faded until I stood at 154 pounds. In the space of 6 months, I began to vanish. But – it was now that I began to show more myself. I would make a little appearance here and there & those who knew me, complimented me.
“You look great.”
“What have you been doing.?”
“You’ve lost so much weight.”
But the only thing I felt like I had lost was myself. I could feel it inside, I was losing control. I was going to erupt into something else and I hated every single second of my being. I had to end this wretched existence called life. I didn’t want any of it. I wanted to die.
Then I went home. No more scales and no more familiar faces that knew me. I was home. My country, the place I could always come back to. I felt the sun for the first time in a long time and I could feel the wind on my skin. Maybe things didn’t need to be so bad; I thought. There was always hope. I found myself smiling a lot more and started to develop a bond with the siblings I had. I didn’t lock myself away, I grew closer to food over time and my figure widened once again. I was disappointed but still ok. I was breathing and although, it was hard sometimes, it felt better. I made new friends and created new stories. I even – fell in love. Or so I thought. I discovered new things about myself and tried to keep my head above the water. I tried so hard.
9 years later – I’m still here, living with this darkness inside me. 9 years later, I still don’t know happiness. I still don’t know myself. I am haunted by things I do not even know. Sleepless nights turn into horrors of false awakenings where memories of the dead linger between and I think I want to perish but I know I don’t want to. I try, each day, to simply be. Learning to love myself with the heavy flaws that form me. Learning to catch my breath and reminding myself to breathe. I sit in lecture halls and loneliness eats at me. I cry sometimes, I don’t why but I just do. I sit on the city bus gazing out the window because I don’t want anyone to see the tears in my eyes. I don’t want anyone to talk to me. I don’t want to be known. I hate how I feel; from the moment I open my eyes to the painful hours of trying to fall asleep. I am suffocated in a darkness that I can not get rid off and still, I try. It’s been 9 years that I’ve been fighting this monster and as tired as I am, I still have a little ounce of hope left. Maybe one day, it will all be okay. Maybe, I will be okay.