I don’t know what to say. I want to talk about the struggle of everyday life but the struggle is real and I can’t seem to catch my breath. I can’t seem to breathe because at this very moment the struggle is all there ever can be and I can’t see myself ever being… ever being anything, not a writer, not an engineer, not a peer support specialist, not a co-founder or a founder, or anything else that I know deep down that I am. But I can’t because everything keeps coming back and I flex my fingers trying to get the blood to where it needs to go but nothing comes out. I want to yell and scream and hurl around the ground tearing myself apart cell by cell until there’s nothing left but a vacant spot where I used to be.
There are days when I feel normal, like waking up in the morning doesn’t carry the weight of the world with it. Days when hanging out with friends, doing my work and just being happens so naturally it’s as if I’m dreaming. But for the most part normal is so far from the reality of my being that my insides scream, attempting to tear themselves apart from me and all I can do is hold on with everything I have. It’s exhausting, it’s overwhelming, it’s everything that is not easy.
Those days are rough, because despite how many people you’ve had the conversation with people still forget that you are living with a serious illness. They forget that you won’t always be okay. They forget that somedays all you can do is hold onto yourself and forget that everything else even exists. They forget that as much as you can take on and accomplish, some days waking up is the greatest accomplishment you’ll ever have. They forget that the you that’s fueling everything you do runs out of fuel sometimes and it needs a break, it needs to rest and unless they understand the shame and guilt build to a point where there’s only shame left. It builds to a point where you shut down and as much as you want to be present and available there’s no part of you that can be. The biggest thing they forget, is that you also forget these things. You have a few fantastic days and you’re on top of the world and you forget that getting up, eating and showering are the hardest things in life. That replying to an email is heavier than carrying a car around all day, and having a conversation is like stabbing yourself over and over again and having no one notice.
A few months ago a day like today would’ve spiraled out of control and I would’ve found myself in bed for days. I’d take time off from work, I’d get in my car and drive as far away as I can and run away. I’d run and hide from the monsters deep within me and everyone around me. I’d become a stranger in a foreign land with no expectations and responsibilities. Sometimes I’d go back, other times I’d leave a piece of my soul behind that I’ll never regain, and I’d come back similar but never the same.
But it’s not a few months ago. At this very moment instead I’ve asked myself what I’d like to do, and after a healthy discussion we’ve decided to run a hot bath, write for a bit, read a little bit, respond to emails here and there, go boxing tonight and do an hour of yoga.
During the discussion a few things that I didn’t want to do came up, so they were spread out across the next few days instead and some of the things I’ve been looking forward to were scheduled in for today. It’s not a fail safe plan, but it’s flexible enough that if something doesn’t work as planned there’s a million and one things that can replace it. In the end I concluded that the world can wait for me for a day or two for the majority of things I’m doing, and everything it needs now can be done within a few minutes, so as I wait for that bath to fill with hot water, and during the drive to boxing and yoga I can be doing a lot of work. I can take a deep breath, think about all the things that I want to do, that I enjoy doing and maybe, just maybe I can get out of bed, and maybe, just maybe I can hold onto that piece of myself that translates into all the things that I love, and maybe I can do them today, and if not, that’s okay. Because I deserve an Ahmad Day, a Mental Health day where I take care of me.
So I don’t know how today will end up, and I don’t know how much work I’ll accomplish, but I do know that since I started writing this a few hours ago I’ve already accomplished everything I need to for the day, and I don’t know if some of this will creep into tomorrow, or the day after, and that’s okay. I’m going to try to take care of me, regardless of the consequences. I love everything I do, but that doesn’t mean I need to do it all today, or tomorrow, or even this week. And if I don’t get it done that doesn’t mean I’ve failed, or that I AM a failure, all it means is that there are great things to come, and if not, I got out of bed today. I wrote this today. I did all the work I needed to do today. That’s pretty darn great, and even if I didn’t do any of it, there’s nothing wrong with laying in bed until you’re ready to face the world. The world will wait for you, but you shouldn’t wait for yourself. The only thing in life that’s entirely irreplaceable is yourself and your moments.