To The Monsters Within
Dear Inner Monsters,
For about three years now, you have had control over my life. I have allowed you to make my decisions, silence my pain, and become a master at hiding my problems behind a smile. I assumed I could get rid of you both if I ignored your symptoms, but things got worse over time. I cannot get rid of you; however, what I can do is take control over you instead of the other way around. I’m aware it won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible. Someday, both of you will be a tiny part of a dark past.
I denied your company at first. Depression would never happen to me. Anxiety was just a symptom. How ignorant I was. Things fell apart as days turned into weeks. Sketchbooks collected dust, paint brushes weren’t used, and my turntables no longer inspired me to mix music. Sleep became a safe haven from the horrible thoughts you monsters produced, and it would be hours before I woke up. Socializing with friends was put on the backburner as I felt like a burden to them. My husband snapped me back to reality whenever I became irritable or extremely sensitive. None of it made sense to me. Why was I acting this way?
Soon I had transformed from a social butterfly into an antisocial pessimist. I cried myself to sleep without a valid reason to be sad. On bright, sunny days I preferred to be under a blanket and hibernate to ignore the world. Motivation became a stranger, making me care less about my appearance and health. You changed my appetite. There were days where I did not want to eat at all, and others where I stuffed my face with junk food. I knew something was wrong, but asking for help was difficult. Both of you had your hands wrapped around my mind and soul, and I was drowning in every negative emotion that attacked me. My self- loathing suffocated me. It was too much to handle on my own.
One day, I visited my doctor and discussed with her everything I was experiencing.
Embarrassment and shame filled my soul as I burdened her with how I had been handling things. When she said the words “depression” and “anxiety,” my world came crashing down. “Why do I have this? I don’t have suicidal thoughts.” She explained both of you monsters have different ranges. My depression was called “walking.” Walking depression is the idea of people being able to hide their symptoms with a smile and carrying on with their day This made sense since I still managed to go to work and handle family responsibilities. Being alone made you monsters roar more loudly than when I was surrounded by others.
My anxiety is “mild.” Fear wrapped me in it’s dark arms and I question my confidence. Even as I spoke with my doctor the horrible thoughts came in. She won’t help you. Nice try. No one will understand you. You are on your own. I came so close to believing you that day. My doctor referred me to a psychiatrist and that same day, my journey to healing began.
It’s been three years later and I am finally gaining control over you both. You monsters are a great team, I will give you that. However, I have a team of my own. I can talk to my husband and close friends whenever I feel like I am about to fail in even the tiniest tasks. Art has switched places with sleep, allowing me to express my emotions through paintings and sketches. Music is now therapy, my journal assists in keeping my thoughts on track, and my health is slowly improving. I got a haircut, some new clothes, and take walks in the park with my dog.
Although you two stick around, I got you wrapped around my finger now. It takes a while to get into an inspired pattern, but once I do, I realize every little task I complete is a battle won against you. Ironically, I must thank you. If you two had not crept into my life, I would not have discovered the strength within myself to win this war. My army will defeat you in the years to come. Just watch.
Your Worst Nightmare