For many years a dark sadness overwhelmed me, it gave no notice like a weather channel letting you know when it was going to storm; it was just there. This sadness was so powerful, so crushing that sometimes I couldn’t even bare to get out of bed. There was never a day that went by that negativity didn’t wrap me in its arms and take me in as its own personal vessel. I can remember looking in the mirror for hours asking myself over and over “Who am I? Who have I let myself become?” The person staring back at me was unrecognizable, she was frail and weak; her eyes leaked with torment. To me, the term ‘depressed’ was only applicable to those who were suicidal; those who wanted to harm themselves physically. It never occurred to me that the emotional pain I was putting myself through was just as harmful as any sort of physical pain.
When I think of emotional pain, I picture a beautiful woman. Her exterior has no flaws, pure perfection; until she stands in front of a mirror. In her reflection she is covered head to toe in scars, open wounds and she is suffering. The pain that one feels emotionally is so easily hidden, where as a physical cut, scrape or broken bone is identified swiftly. I don’t remember exactly when in my early adolescence that I started to feel trapped with sadness, but I remember the agony like it was yesterday. As a teen, you’re already set up for a host of pressures, from the changes of puberty to questions about who you are and where you fit in. It’s never an easy task to differentiate between depression and normal teenage moodiness, which is what everyone around me assumed; I was just moody. In my mind, there was not a soul in the world that I felt I could talk to about how and what I was feeling. I felt there was no one that would understand how afraid I was to be alone, engulfed in my own thoughts. I became progressively irritated, angry and hostel which then lead to worthlessness and from there, self-medication. Alcohol and drugs were my escape, the numbing sensation that overwhelmed me briefly treated my symptoms but never treated its causes. Soon enough it wasn’t just me that couldn’t recognize my reflection, it wasn’t just me that didn’t want to be graced with my presence; everyone around me faded away. I was alone, numb and a completely different person; who was I? I didn’t know how or where to start answering that question, until I gazed out of a window. What was it that I saw looking out of this window? I found myself dumbfounded, I could no longer see the vast lands, trees or beautiful blue skies. I could no longer hear the uplifting song of birds; when I looked out the window I saw a dark, vacant space. It was my reflection, a frustrated mask that either made me feel empty like a canvas of which I didn’t know how to paint, or I was angry, an uncontrollable feeling to hate the blank mask I was looking at. After losing my way through lengthy thoughts, falling my way through the rabbit hole into its grim unknown depth, it stopped. I fell straight to the floor, hard and powerfully. The light bulb popped up, and I was simply looking at a window, just a window. I didn’t like my reflection and I realized that I couldn’t appreciate the nature of perfection that was the glorious scenery on the other side. I began to consider it as just a window. I needed to ignore the complex thoughts that made me feel lonely and hollow; I had to push myself to change. With the simple realization that the window was just a window, I found my way through such a grand web of thoughts. Maybe I should just see things as simply as I saw that window, in time I will enjoy the scenery. Once I can do that, I will appreciate my reflection at a steady, increasing rate. I didn’t know who I was or what I had become, I was a lost soul. I was a fish in a pond, being caught by something I couldn’t control just to be thrown back into the water to make the same mistake. To cry with relief and regret that I had