I’m colorblind. I can’t see all of the colors like everyone else sees. They see my face, but they don’t see the battle inside my head and the scars that are on the inside. They don’t know what it feels like on a daily basis. Everyday is a struggle. Everyday, we all want to fight and other days, we don’t. We want to give up. We wave the white flag. Even the best managers of depression can slip and fall.
I want to smile, but I can’t. It’s like someone is forcing me not to smile. The demons inside me won’t stop. I want to see all of the blues, reds, greens, yellows, and the other colors of the rainbow. Sometimes I can’t. Is it my fault? No. Somedays, I feel like I’m drowning in pool that I can’t get out of. I can’t swim to shore nor reach for the ladder to get up. Somedays, it feels like I’m falling down a flight of stairs and it won’t stop until you reach the end.
Look at my body. Look at the damage done. I’m overweight. I don’t sleep well or eat well. I look like a zombie sometimes. I don’t look or feel like myself at times. Sometimes, I can’t recognize the person staring back at me in the mirror. Somedays, I wish I was someone else and inside of their lives for a moment. Why stay in this body of pain, scars and the never-ending war inside my head?
I will tell you why, because I don’t QUIT! I fight the good fight everyday. I put on my uniform and get out my arsenal and prepare for the daily battle. I’m like a soldier in combat, fighting the enemy for the sake of mankind. I’m relentless. I refuse to let the war in my head win. 25 years have gone by so fast and I can’t go back and erase it with an eraser. I would love to, but I can’t. Life doesn’t work that way.
I’m no Fairy Godmother with a magic wand. I’m certainly not God. I’m just me. I’m just a normal person fighting this battle everyday. I don’t think of myself as just another statistic. You can think that about yourself, but not me. Maybe all of this was preparing me for the best in my life and maybe it was foretold at birth? I was born to live, to create, to inspire, to be happy, and to survive. I was born to live and will continue to live and fight until God says: “It’s over, champ! Let’s go home.” I was born to create my own destiny and forge my own path in this world. Make my own history in my life. I was born to inspire by being a good daughter, friend, girlfriend/wife, and human being. Being happy? My life hasn’t always been easy, it’s been fun and happy, too. I learned to be happy during the darkest parts of life by looking at the bright side of spectrum. I learned how to survive and become a champion through trial and error. Do you think that I’ve gotten this right after 25 years of struggling? NO. This takes a lot blood, sweat and tears to get to this point.
Whatever card life wants to throw at you whether it’s a good card or bad card, take it. Pick up the card and handle it in a healthy way. You have the choice everyday to fight the battle inside you or self-destruct. How you handle your life is up to you. I can’t go inside anyone’s head and fight the battle with you. What I can do is support you and encourage you to fight like a champion.
Don’t say: “Why me? Why not someone else?” You don’t want to wish this on anyone. Trust me, if non-sufferers experienced what us sufferers experience on daily basis, who knows what they will do. Would they get the picture that this is no joke or no laughing matter. Would they put on their suit of armor like us and prepare for battle? Would the future finally become stigma free? I don’t know. I don’t have the power to show people what it’s like to live with mental illness. Again I don’t have a magic wand in order to do that.
What we can do is share our stories, raise awareness, and try to end the social stigma ourselves. Sounds overly complicated. It may be. But one person can start the change and lead others to follow suit. Why is it so hard for people to understand this? Mental illness is nothing new and has been around for a long time. We all experience good and bad times, right? Life doesn’t always go our way and we get hurt, screwed, and broken. I carry my war scars with me until the day I die. I’m not ashamed of them and I wear them proudly. Take a good look into my eyes. See the war raging on for the past quarter of a century. See all of the ups and downs, the fights, the screams, the horror and the carnage that plagues my mind everyday. Would you now look at me differently in a great way? Would you be staring at my inner champion at work? See the relentless soldier working tirelessly day after day in combat. No breaks, no vacations. Always on call 24-7.
Look what life has made me: a champion. This is my creation and my reason for living . I live to inspire and I’m forging my own destiny. You can do this. You can look at the glass half full or half empty. Me? I see the glass always full because I’m not ready to call it quits, yet. Life is still getting good.
In this case, fighting the war on mental illness and the social stigma is everything to me. I refuse to put up my arsenal and say “I quit.” I wasn’t born that way. So what if I lived as a prisoner in my own body for too long, but every day I undo the shackles and take on the day head on with full force and a bright outlook.