I forgot how it started. It must have been a thought forgotten in the back of my mind, something that you ignore and dismiss as unimportant; a cold shiver. Yes, it might have been that, like the fluff that fills up the cracks between the drawers of my mind.
A few days after, it grew into a sensation, a nagging feeling that something was off, something that you can't still touch, but it's there - like the beginning of a toothache, growing in importance and hard to ignore. And then the pain settles in - full on. And you fight with it and struggle, and beg the Heavens and all the Beyond to let you be. But it's too late. It got a hold of you, and now, with every step, it grows bigger and bigger. Terrifying. Following your every step, every breath, and every passing thought. It's there, in all its glory. "It's OK," you're telling yourself, "it's just a small depression." "You'll get over it in no time - not the first, definitely not the last." And you listen to music. Happy music. You like Low Roar and Imagine Dragons. Maybe touch on some 60's oldies; those funky rhythms always made your feet move by themselves. And you try to watch comedies and sitcoms.
"It will pass," you're telling yourself. "It will pass, and tomorrow will be a new day, a better day, a normal day." And you get into a routine of little chores. Dishes, dusting, walking the dog, cooking - it's been a while since you cooked so much - laundry, talking on cam with friends and family, and you breathe.
Then night settles in, and everything you fought to push down resurfaces as a bubbling volcano. "But, what if, tomorrow will not be better? What if, tomorrow, everything you hope for moves a step farther? What if, it never gets better? What if, everything that brings you joy will never see the morning of the next day? What if..." And you lose yourself in what-ifs, and you lose yourself in the fear of never finding out the answers. Doubt crawls in and strangles every common sense. And your eyes betray you; first, one small teardrop, then many others opening the flow of your heart's pain. Desperation settles in. And you can't sleep.
Maybe some sleeping pills will help. You need to sleep! You know that. Sleep will help. But your heart is racing, and your eyes are still heavy with tears. And the "what ifs" are becoming a companion, a cruel escort that leeches out your happiness.
Somehow you manage to sleep; two hours, tossing and turning every other minute. And the morning comes and catches you tired and without the mood to do anything. And all the food you cooked will go to waste. Your appetite is gone. You force yourself to eat and move through the day. And the night catches you again in the struggle of "what ifs". And you're trapped. And you're helpless. And you'd want to yell your pain out, but you feel unable to form any coherent thoughts that might explain out loud the windmill of your feelings.
And another day passes, and one more. And it hurts. IT HURTS. And you feel scared and worried, and sad, and lost.
"What if... I can't go on like this?"
I forgot how it started. It must have been a small, bright thought lost in a sea of murky waters. I couldn't even make sense of it properly. It was just there, a sensation that there must be something more of me. A "me" that wasn't all scared, a "me" that faced lions and tigers, and thunderstorms, and hurricanes, a "me" that knew how to stay tall, a "me" that was brave, and kind to everybody and myself.
And I remembered. I remembered everything I struggled with. All the battles that pushed me down but made me stronger. All the journeys that seemed to have a dead-end but made me who I am today. I remembered that most than anybody, I knew myself. "I know how to be strong." "I've been there. I succeeded, I conquered, I triumphed, I made myself into "me", the "me" that knows that behind every storm there is a clear sky.
It wasn't about thinking positive. It was more about acceptance. "Today I'm feeling down, tomorrow might be worse, but that's normal. I’ll put all my thoughts on trial, and I’ll remember who I am beyond the veil of doubt."
There's always a brighter day at the end of every storm. And I'll ride it out, and I'll grow stronger.