The Thoughts That Crash Like a Tsunami
This is what happens when you mix insomnia and a hard week, with a capital Hard. Being a writer, my goal is to write words that portray images in people’s heads, so they can relate to or understand the world of mental illness just a little bit better. This is what it feels like to have multiple labels when it comes to mental illness.
Imagine you are drowning. You can swim, but you can’t remember how or what you are supposed to do to stay above water. You begin to second guess yourself, and maybe you can’t remember because you didn’t know how to swim in the first place
You are having thoughts, unwanted, some scary, mainly just invasive.
Numbers are pouring down like rain in the water around you, and you try to dodge the ones you think will hurt you or cause some type of repercussion.
Your mind is convincing, and you believe everything it says because no matter how many times you hear, “Don’t believe everything you think,” you still do.
The reality of the fears that penetrate your bones cause fatigue as you struggle to stay above water.
In the distance, you see a lifeboat peaking above the rolling waves that crash over your head every few seconds. The life vest of hope slowing slipping away from your trembling body as you try to scream, only to be met with a mouthful of saltwater invading your strained lungs.
Your breath becomes sharper as it shortens due to the amount of time you are forced underwater.
The sharp pains of panic pound against your rib cage as if your heart might explode.
Fear envelopes you like a cloud causing your vision to go blurry.
Losing sight of the lifeboat, you begin to hyperventilate as the water sinks below your neck.
You gasp for air that your mind is convincing you is tainted, making your brain confused.
That’s when the broken record inside your head begins to spin. Thoughts, emotions, memories. Pulled deeper into the depths of the next wave of panic, you begin to wonder why on earth you are still holding on.
A second above the water and you begin to cry. Sobs enveloping your water-engorged lungs as dry tears leave scars down your cheeks.
It seems impossible to care anymore, numbed by the overdose of adrenaline that your body has secreted into your anxiety-tainted veins.
You feel weighed down by the gravity that ever so gently touches the water, and much like a weight you feel as if sinking would be less painful.
Anything would be less painful.
Someone’s words slowly bring you back to the real world, carrying on as if you had been standing there, simply listening the whole time.
You let out a long breath, realizing your lungs were depleted of air as you declaw your fingernails from the inside of your palm.
Silently inhaling, you feel the tingle of life slowly penetrate down from your neck and into your fingertips.
“Sorry,” you mumble, as if the person knew exactly what had just taken place inside of your being. They look at you, confused, because you shouldn’t be, you have no reason to be. A quick, “Never mind,” deflects further questions which leaves you relieved, but also lonely.
Now that you are present again, you feel the blood rush to the depth of your cheeks.
Your hands still slightly shaking from the trauma your mind and body just experienced.
Your heartbeat pumping blood into your veins like your life depended on it.
You feel out of control.
You feel shame.
The havoc being wrecked in your gut piercing at the sides of your stomach almost causes you to lunge forward as if someone punched you.
You want to run, but you couldn’t even if you wanted to. Your feet, heavier than a bag of bricks, unwillingly stay planted underneath you, wait for the next time your mind will choose to take over.
You keep smiling. Nodding your way through life because less question are asked when your head nods up and down rather than shaking side to side.
“How are you?”
You cringe, imagining the worst response if you were to ever unveil the chaos that took place inside of your mind just now.
No one would understand.
Collapsing into yourself every single night from the pain that people only see when you just can’t take it anymore.
A pain that stems from your mind, yet physically hurts.
Insomnia keeping you awake until the nightmares find you when you finally fall asleep.
And then the next day, it starts all over again. Maybe worse, maybe not. Maybe it will be a good day.
No anxiety, no depression, no thoughts.
You vow to talk about it, to tell someone about the events that take place deep down in your core, but how can you expect yourself to speak when it’s so hard to breathe, your demons sitting on your lungs.
So you rise again, faking “fine” like you get paid to do it.
You’re afraid. Afraid to hurt the ones you love. Scared to death the people you love most will leave. But you wouldn’t blame them, you can hardly deal with all of this yourself and you don’t expect anyone else to.
It hurts, but you don’t want to hurt others.
You’d rather let it destroy you than destroy anyone else.
You see you’re scared, and what you ultimately want is for someone to look you in the eyes and actually mean it.
To be able to say they understand. No lie, no joke, no trying to make you feel better.
The type of “I know” that only certain people can whisper from the depths of their souls. Because lots of people know, but they don’t really know.
So maybe that’s what you’re afraid of.
Opening up to people who think you can just stand up to save yourself from drowning. when in reality your whole situation takes place in the deep end.
There is no shallow part. No easy way out.
And the worst part of it all is that you don’t know how to talk about it even when all of the words are etched so boldly in your brain.
You taste the acidic vulnerability leaving scars on your tongue and swallow the poisonous pill that has become easy to stomach.
You don’t know how to speak without feeling needy, a feeling that snuffs out even the brightest of candles.
You don’t know how to explain without feeling judged, a feeling that fuels the stigma.
And the worst part is late at night, dry heaving on every word you didn’t speak.
Hoping you will fall asleep before you fall apart.
You see, silence is just another word for pain.
Soon, you find yourself surviving, not living.
You don’t know who you are anymore.
Mind like an ocean, thoughts like a tsunami.
There is no forecast to determine when the next wave will hit.
And maybe that’s the hardest part.
Knowing that if you sink you get control, but if you swim you don’t have any.
Follow this journey on Candidly Cannessa.
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Thinkstock photo via puhhha