I am so honoured to be sharing this story it came from one of my clients and more importantly my friend. Since I have known her, she has been dealing with anxiety and depression and she has valiantly been working at reclaiming her life. She has taken every tool and she has worked so hard to face her demons. She truly is an inspiration and for all those suffering with a mind that runs rampant, she is a beacon of hope. I am so blessed to have been along with her on this journey and I admire her strength and courage! Thank you, Michelle, for sharing and allowing me to share your experience. Namaste my beautiful friend!
Goodnight, Sleep: A Glimpse into Depression & Anxiety
Another sleepless night rears its ugly head. I can feel the anxiety and depression begin to engulf me into the dark corners of hell. At first, I shrug it off. I take a few deep breathes to center myself. It calms me for the moment, but I know it’s not the last I’ll hear of it. This is how my illnesses work. I try and put it out of my mind. I busy myself with small tasks, thinking this will keep what’s coming at bay, and it does for a short time. But I can still feel that twinge of panic in the back of my head. It’s almost bedtime. “Why?” I ask myself. Why now? I thought today was a good day?!
I can feel the cycle about to begin. It’s late. I can’t put off sleep any longer, or so I thought. I lay my head on my pillow and wait. Will it be slumber, or will it be something else? I can feel my voice becoming distorted and lost. There is no sound except the quiet chatter of anxiety and depression. I know now what is coming.
It starts. The tapes become louder and louder, replay conversations from hours, days, months, even years ago that have long been forgotten by the other party. Hashing out what I could have said. Or chastising myself for not speaking my truth.” Why did you say that”? I hear anxiety say.” You should be ashamed of yourself”!
Depression chimes in,” You need to run, hide!” it shouts.
My rational mind tries, just for a moment, to offer a crumb of guidance, “People have already forgotten about it.” “Move on, get over it.”
But it’s useless, the other two stronghold and gag my rational friend to regain power. I feel myself slipping. I can’t find anything to grasp. The light begins to fade. I can no longer see. The darkness has arrived and with it comes the Beast.
Next are the stories. The stories my depression and anxiety have told over and over for years start to run rampant. They fester. Picking and gnawing until I’m so in double of myself, I start believing the fiction. I lose my confidence, but I can’t show weakness, they remind me. I can’t be vulnerable. “Don’t let them see the cracks,” I hear the Beast whisper ever so softly. The hair on the back of my neck stands up, and I can feel my toes curl as I prepare for battle once again. This consumes me. Swallowing me whole. Further, into the bowels of darkness, I go to face my demons.
The sleepless night leaves me ragged and foggy. I muster the strength to drag myself out of bed to meet my daily obligations. I’m fragile and exhausted, but I put on my worn, tarnished armour and try again. I look in the mirror, hoping to see a different face looking back at me. Someone strong. Someone who can slay the Beast so I can be free. That person is not in the reflection. I sigh, wipe my tears, lower my mask and hope today will be different.
In the beginning, I thought death was the only viable option to tame the Beast. To quiet the obsessive chatter. Releasing me from this swirling black inferno. I could almost find relief. Searching for compassion in the hooded stranger’s non-existent eyes. His scythe in hand. But it’s not my time. I needed to look elsewhere.
As I grow older, I find tools. Weapons if you will. The kind of evidence that will not kill the Beast but deter it. All these years I was fighting in the dark with only my hands. I found my voice. My words. What started as only a faint whisper has grown to a mighty roar. So powerful it startles the Beast at first, but as it grows and travels, the creature cowers. It’s disorientated, not understanding where this sound has been hiding. It pushes back. Flexing its muscles. Trying to intimidate. It doesn’t work. The roar escalates to words. Words that are more powerful than anyone would imagine. Words that unveil the darkness allowing streams of golden light into the once windowless room. It’s time to strike. I use every ounce of strength I have.
The Beast is wounded. It’s scrambling for any sign of night as the light becomes more powerful, almost blinding. The Beast knows its power is no longer as strong as it used to be. He scurries back to his cage and licks his wounds. I am free.
I can feel the tears begin to stream down my face. Not the same tears that came from that dark place. They come so fast and hard. I’m left completing sobbing. I am releasing it. I’m letting out years of pain and suffering. I feel the light penetrating my soul.
I remove my armour. I can breathe. My tears subside. My eyes are red but filled with new hope. The tension that once held me together begins to dissipate. This feeling is foreign but welcoming.
Sleep comes quickly. My old friend had finally returned, and I’m embraced in its warm folds. Once I emerge from the much-needed slumber, it’s time to tell my story. It’s time to show my cracks. My flaws. It’s time to be vulnerable. This is the only way to cage the Beast permanently.
So, I begin to write. My story flows so quickly I can barely keep up. I feel my heart swell with emotion as the words tumble onto the page. Its time. Time to speak and show others they are not alone. They don’t need to fight in silence anymore.
Shout. Scream. Embrace your voice; be vulnerable. It’s the only way to emerge victorious. You have the strength inside of you just waiting to get out. Pacing back and forth, waiting for the door to be opened. Here is the key dear friend. The journey begins with you. Welcome to the light.