Caged In. Forever.

Caged In. Forever.

You wake up shaking. You wake up screaming. You wake up gasping for air. You wake up…grabbing at what’s not there.

You curl up in a ball once you realize there’s nothing but empty space in front of me. You clutch at the blanket and bring your legs closer to your chest as you realize the entire house is empty, and it feels as if the room is turning ’round and ’round. You feel the tears fall from your eyes and remember how broken you feel inside.

You close your eyes wishing you were anywhere but there. You grip at the blanket until your knuckles are white like a ghost. You listen to your breathes come out shaky and feel your heartbeat race from within.

You wait. You wait for your body to calm down. But your mind is still racing.

You ignore the feeling and get out of bed despite how much you are contemplating between staying in bed for years and years to come or sprinting straight out the door and never coming back. You realize you’re wobbling on your feet because your body still hasn’t caught up with your motives. You walk into the corner of the wall and feel as if you cannot breath.

You struggle. Everywhere you look, it’s there. Whatever you do, it’s running through your mind ten times a second. It haunts you. You can’t shake it off.

You stare at your face in the mirror, it looks pale. You stare at your own hands, as if you haven’t seen them for years. You stare out the window, feeling like a prisoner in your own mind.

Will you ever be free?

She walks through life nearly emotionless, because that’s the way she’s been taught since before grade-school. She puts on a smile and goes through the motions but nearly nothing truly touches her heart, because she was taught to never allow it. She looks around her life, her days, as if they aren’t hers but still acts like everything is okay, because she doesn’t know any better.

She says everything is okay, because she doesn’t know what’s right from wrong. She says everything is manageable, because she thinks that’s what’s expected of her. She says this and that and the words do flow, but her mind and her heart aren’t in the sentences that go:

I’m fine.
I’m okay.
I can do this.
It’s alright.
I’m used to it, so it’s all good.
Whatever happens, whatever goes.
It doesn’t really mean much.
It’s okay.
It’s fine.

But as things get harder, it’s harder to fake. As things come in big crashing waves, it’s hard to avoid feeling the pain. As things come faster than the speed of light, it’s impossible to know what’s coming your way.

She never wanted to admit she was depressed. She never wanted to admit she was struggling. She never wanted to admit that eating was sometimes impossibly hard for her. She never wanted to admit that she was wrong in saying everything was all right. She never wanted to say those words that would disappoint and make her seem like a failure. She never wanted to…but, in the end, maybe she has to.

She can’t hide from her nightmares through denial. She can’t erase the scars on her body through denial. She can’t relapse on her memories and make everything okay again by pretending the hurtful images never scarred. She can’t.

But she still tries.
She still wants to say that she will get better, one day at a time, without doing anything differently. She still wants to say that she is strong enough to get by without anyone’s acknowledgment or help and guidance. She still wants to walk through life as if she controls the world even though she feels as overlooked and invisible as an ant.

But, maybe one day she’ll get there.
She’ll get to the point that she can reach out for help without feeling weak. She’ll get to the point that she can break down without feeling pathetic. She’ll get to the point that she can tell the truth instead of hiding behind lies without having the urge to run and hide.

Maybe.

Denial

Hiding, but Still Found

Hiding, but Still Found

When I think of a “hideout” I think of a place where I can be 100% myself, where I don’t have to worry about other people’s judgements, critical, and hate, but most importantly where no one can reach me.

There are my physical hideouts, and then my mental hideouts.

My physical hideouts include my L-shaped desk – where no one dares to bother me due to my intense work schedule-, next to my best friend – where his company feels like home and I don’t have to worry about anything other than present time -, and behind my camera – where once I get into the zone, I am gone to the world-.

To be honest, my desk is a hideout just as it is my most stressful place in my life. It’s where all my tasks come out of my daily agenda and scream at me to get them done. But my desk is also the place where I can simply focus on myself, my needs, my work, and MY schedule.

I say being with my best friend is a hideout because being with him is basically the happiest place on earth for me. I don’t have to worry about judgement, because he is so understanding (and, let’s face it, he already knows everything about me that’s humiliating and sad). It’s a place where I find it in myself to relax and not stress about all the things that I might need to get done. It’s a wonderful feeling, being with him.

When I’m behind my camera, when I get into the ‘zone’ with editing or a shoot, I am GONEE! There’s something about my passion for photography that takes me to a place where nothing else matters. It’s when I try to see life in such different angels sometimes I surprise myself by what I come across. It’s where I am the most focused and also where I am the most observant. I come more aware of everything surrounding me in the tiniest details, yet I seem to pull myself out of the picture to really grasp what is behind the scenes.

Then, there is my mental hideout.
You may be thinking, a hideout is a physical place. What’s a mental hideout?
But to me, a hideout is simply somewhere no one can reach me and somewhere I can be 100% myself without any fear.

My mental hideout is…not a place I can describe (since it’s not physical) but you know I am there when 1. I zone out 2. I am deep in thought 3. I seem to be contemplating something 4. (sometimes) I’m curled up in some sort of ball (ex: sitting in the corner of my room with my legs pulled close).

When I’m in this state, really no one can reach me. I go into a state of ‘awe’ almost. I start reflecting on my past and my past relationships, asking myself why a certain event happened or what caused a drift in a current relationship and so forth. When I’m like that, I completely zone out. I don’t hear the physical world. I don’t see the physical world (almost). I don’t seem to be in the physical world (in my mind). There’s nothing there except my thoughts and myself.

You might be thinking, that doesn’t sound healthy. I am not going to determine whether it is healthy or not, but I am going to say that it works for ME. It’s where I pick myself up the most during my dark days, it’s when I see situations more clearly than I ever have, it’s how I…get along with myself/learn about myself. Yes, if you let your thoughts spiral into darkness during this time (where no one can reach you), yes, it would be dangerous. But that is why, it is also the time to learn the most about yourself, reflect on your habits, and change what you might not like about your current lifestyle.

When I hide, I tend to hide purposefully by trying to see my own life, and the lives of those around me, in a different perspective in order to gain new knowledge.

Hideout

Changed

Changed

Narrow-minded to more open-minded.
Distant to more open.
Quiet to more talkative.
Cold to more welcoming.

Being able to only see the pain to being able to see happiness.
Being able to only feel hurt to being able to feel at peace.
Being able to only look back to being able to plan for the future.

Defensive to more flexible.
Stubborn to more fluid.
Possessive to more giving.
Protective to more understanding.

Being able to only see the bad in new people to being able to see what could be good in them.
Being able to only question their genuine to being able to understand not everyone is alike.
Being able to only remember the past to understanding that it might not reoccur again.

It’s incredible how pain can alter a person.
It’s incredible how moving on can change a person.

Being able to only hate what happened to knowing how to move on.
Being able to only know what’s broken to realizing the pieces can be picked up again and put back together – or rebuilt anew.
Being able to only trust pain to enjoying happiness.

Fighting Myself

Fighting Myself

A story. The person whose point of view it is written in may not be disclosed. 

It felt like I was losing everyone around me. Everyone was always busy. No one had time for me. I felt as alone as ever. But I knew, because I’ve dealt with depression before, I only felt worse and worse because I was giving into the darkness. I knew there was hope somewhere if I looked in the right place, but whether I wanted to, whether I had the strength to anymore, was another story. I felt useless; I felt betrayed; I felt abandoned; I felt like I was a waste of space.

I knew I needed help. I needed to let my friends help me, since going to get professional help was out of the question. My parents…let’s just say they never thought mental illnesses were real. I knew I needed to let my friends help, but…since they were all so busy and things were…”complicated” to say the least, the people I went to didn’t try to help me. They’ve seen me get through it before. They believed I would be okay in the end. So maybe they thought I could get through it without them. They pushed me off to someone else and from there I got shoved elsewhere, like a dirtbag no one wanted.

That only added to my slipping into depression. I started cutting again. I had been clean of cutting for two years. I slipped a few months before but that was only one. But this time, it wasn’t. I slipped and I got addicted. The pain, it was something I could control. I couldn’t control my best friend leaving me. I couldn’t control the physical pain of my body dying from an unknown illness. I couldn’t control whether my parents got along or not. I couldn’t control whether I had enough time to get all my work done or not. I couldn’t control anything in my life, but I could control the little pain I got from cutting.

One cut, two cut, three, four, five. Soon I was up to ten, fifteen, twenty. There were so many I couldn’t keep track off. Some times I would wait for the few I done before to heal, at least half way, but other times I would cut seven lines on my body without an hour in separation. I lost blood, but it felt as if I was already losing a battle with my own body. Something was killing me from the inside out, something unknown, something…my parents ignored it. Their daughter was dying in front of their eyes, coughing up blood, fainting, and more, but all they thought of it was that she was trying to get attention and she was making it all up.

Of course they would. I learned to add them to list of people who didn’t care about me at a very young age. That’s why I never talked to them about anything. But, faced with depression once again, I needed to talk to someone. I reached out to my best friend. Nothing. I reached out to another close friend. They didn’t know how to help. I reached out to my teacher. I couldn’t get the right words out. Nothing. I reached out, but everywhere I reached I seemed to be grabbing at air. Nothing was ever there.

After a while, I gave up. I didn’t know who to turn to. I didn’t know where to go. I was a lost puppy in the middle of an ocean, just waiting to die.

I stayed in that darkness for several weeks. I went to classes either as an emotional wreck, or an emotionless zombie (two polar opposite sides of me that would normally work together to balance me out). Everyone knew, even people who didn’t know me very well; everyone knew something was wrong. But, still, no one spoke. No one reached out to me. No one tried to help.

Some of my teachers gave me an easy time in class, which I am very, very grateful for during such a rough time. Others didn’t care. Some of my classmates tried here and there to make me smile, which I am also grateful for. Others laughed. I guess there are many types of people in this world…but no matter which ones I met, no one had the courage to do something to make a difference.

Having lost faith in the people around me, I started to give up on myself. I didn’t believe I’d get better this time around. I didn’t see a route I could take to step back into the light anymore. I didn’t think I would ever feel whole again or feel okay again.

Then…when I hit my lowest point I ever reached, something happened. I looked not around me, not to the people surrounding me, but inside me for help. I looked to myself. I asked myself, are you really going to live like this for the rest of your life? And if you think ending your life is the easiest path to end the pain, are you really willing to give up everything else you love about life?

In those couple weeks, I realized that…I didn’t need anyone else’s help more than I needed my own. I needed to really want to get better, in order to start healing. I needed to stop being so hard on myself for being depressed and for struggling. I needed to give myself a chance to stand back up instead of pushing myself down every other second. I needed to help myself before anyone could help me.

This story doesn’t end here. That’s because this story is happening right now. It’s May 2, 2016 and I am fighting myself to help myself.

April 27: Mask

April 27: Mask

Mask your struggle with determination. Mask your doubts with confidence. Mask your pain with smiles. Mask your screams with laughs. Mask your emotions with…false emotions.

Hide in the darkness. Don’t let them see you cry. Don’t show weakness. Don’t show those signs. Hide in the darkness. That is where you belong. That is where you will find comfort. That is where you can be…you, because no one can see you.

That’s what I was taught growing up.

Show what is true and no one will understand. Try to explain what goes through your mind and they won’t comprehend. It’s better to stay silent, is it not?

Wrong.

They don’t understand because they aren’t YOU. They won’t fully get it because they aren’t YOU. No one can understand what you’re struggling against because they aren’t YOU. No one can feel your emotions because they aren’t YOU.

That’s the beauty in it. They won’t fully get it, but that doesn’t mean they can’t try to. They can’t read your mind, but that doesn’t mean they can’t listen to your words. They can’t live your life for you, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beside you through it all.

What is a mask for? For protection…but there’s beauty in vulnerability, or that’s what I’ve been told.

Mask

April 19: Freaky Friday

April 19: Freaky Friday

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be, and why?:

I wake up and see the world through my photography eyes. She loves life. She loves the sunshine. She loves love and nearly everything about life. She finds goodness in everyone and sees great things during the worst days.

If I could be someone else for a day, I’d be that girl behind the camera, lost within her passion for photography and her work. I’d be that girl who can bring smiles to everyone’s faces. I’d be the girl who smiles for real and doesn’t have to fake her happiness, because she IS happy.

For one day, I’d love to be her again. I’d love to be excited to go to class. I’d love to look forward to the next morning, or simply want to get out of bed. I’d love to want to live once again.

For one day, I’d be her. The girl I still saw glimpses of in the mirror only a couple months back. I’d still see her within my eyes. But now, she’s vanished and I cannot seem to find a single hint of her existence within me.

What if my darkness has swallowed her whole? I’d have lost that part of myself…to myself.

Click to access 365-days-of-writing-prompts-1387477491.pdf

April 19: Fake

April 19: Fake

He fakes the smile on his face. He fakes the bounce in his steps. He fakes the enthusiasm and happiness around his friends. He fakes the happy thoughts when he wants time to end.

They don’t ask him anymore. He use to go to them for everything. He use to say what was on his mind. Someone, that one, would know everything that went on around him and with him, with time…but not this time.

He silently screams for help but no one hears. He knows no one hears him; a part of him doesn’t want anyone to listen. He is scared to make a single sound. After everything he’s gone through, he sometimes doesn’t want to be found.

He sits in the dark. He watches as blood leaks from his skin. He runs his hands over the scratches along his legs. He grabs at his hair and screams silently into the empty space in front. But no one hears, because these screams are only in his head.

He imagines people seeing through his mask. He pictures countless ways of them convincing him to let them help. He wants to let them, but he needs to be convinced. He wants to believe someone cares and someone loves him – like he once thought – but he needs to be convinced. He needs to feel it again. He needs to feel he has worth and his life is worth living.

Until then, he will continue to scream. He will continue to not make a sound. He will continue to wait, until he cannot anymore, until he can’t take it anymore.

Then…he won’t be able to make a sound.

Fake

April 17: Breath

April 17: Breath

One breath. Two breath. Three breath. Focus.

She sits at her table with her head rested in her hands. She breathes.

One…two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight…nine…ten…she counts.

With ten assignments, four projects, work, chores, and much more, she has too much on her plate. She is overwhelmed with things to do and there is not enough time to get everything done. She knows this too. She can’t do everything, but everything needs to get done.

“Just take a break.” or “It can wait until later.” Her friends constantly tell her. But in her mind, through her eyes, nothing can wait and everything needs to get done NOW.

She’s worried and she scared but no one can help her. She reaches out and no one answers her calls. She looks around but no one is seen in her sight. She’s alone, in her mind.

Working hard every moment she can, she pushes her body to its physical limits. She stays up late at night and wakes up early in the morning, using caffeine and energy drinks to keep her awake. She skips meals and forgets to drink, getting lost in her work as she put her full attention to the screen. She dries her eyes and turns them red, staring at the computer screen all day. She tries to do every single possible thing, forgetting that she needs to listen to her limits.

She pushes her health and pushes herself. She forgets to take a break and forgets to breathe. When she does, she gets better but she only then takes advantage of that to push herself further.

When she does, she can feel weight getting lifted from her heavy shoulders; she can feel the tightness start to vanish away from her chest; she can feel her headaches diminish into thin air. When she does, she gets a break from life and she loves it there.

But then she remembers of all the work she has to do, all the responsibilities life has shoved onto her plate, all her duties she needs to uphold, and everything comes crashing down. Her dream world – where she can just exist and live her life, where she can enjoy herself, where she can BREATHE – turns into darkness and vanishes from her grasp.

She needs to breathe. She needs to take one breath. Once again. But…she doesn’t. She goes back to work. She goes back into her torturous world she yearns to escape from. She goes back in darkness.

She only needed to breathe, take a breath…but she doesn’t. She doesn’t feel she is capable of escaping. She doesn’t feel she deserves to get away. She doesn’t feel like she’s enough.

Breath

As The Darkness Unfolds Once Again

As The Darkness Unfolds Once Again

Pain stabs at my chest as tears fall to the ground. The darkness engulfs whenever is found. I stare up ahead but my eyes quickly fall to my feet. There hopefully won’t be a day that I admit defeat.

I don’t want to show you how much pain I am truly in. I shove all my emotion and struggles deep, deep within….but I can’t seem to get away with it for your worry eyes describe the fact that you can see much more than what my appearances reveal.

The fight I thought was over had never truly died down. The ghosts and demons live in the mist of my life and pounce at any opportunity found. It gets worse and worse as the long days past. I try to fight on but sometimes my reflexes aren’t that fast.

You see me struggling but I don’t share to anyone else who is there. I put on a front and say everything is okay but in reality….I am blind in the darkness and for that I have fallen for the devil at my angel’s wake.