Sliver of Hope

It feels like the darkness is engulfing me

I try to scream, but only a muffled cry is heard 

Pain floods my body

Demons torment my mind

I feel numb and empty

Overwhelmed by the world around me

“Everything is just too much” I say over and over

As I sit on my bed in tears

The anxiety in me is strong

Causing my heart to race and my body to shake

Lately I feel tense all the time

Always on edge, as if expecting something bad to happen at any moment

The anger inside of me growing more and more

Causing me to lash out at the ones I love for no reason of their own

I feel like a ticking time bomb, just waiting for the tiniest thing to happen so I can blow up

My patience so thin anything has the ability to cause my borderline rage to surface

My inner child just waiting for a chance to unleash her pain and anguish on anyone near her

And most days, i’m powerless to prevent or stop the damage I know she will cause

It feels like i’m suffocating on the air I breathe because with each breath I take my chest aches

Waking up in the morning with pure dread, wishing I could just close my eyes again and go back to sleep

But even sleep doesn’t bring rest

No, sleep brings nightmares over and over

Realistic ones that make it hard to distinguish if this is real life or just a dream

Often causing me to wake up suddenly, yelling out for help

Never allowing me to wake up rested the next day

But instead tired and drained of energy

Energy needed to get through the day

My PTSD is also strong

Images flash in my mind of things I don’t want to remember

Making me cringe and suddenly feel overwhelmed with fear 

In an instant, it’s like i’m transported back to those moments

Feeling all the same emotions I did during that time, emotions I don’t want to ever feel again but do over and over 

I shake my head, begging the images to leave, but they don’t

Sometimes my mind shows me images of what could have happened instead, which is always worse then what I experienced

These images often make me cry out and tremble

Leaving me paralyzed for however long they decide to play inside my head

Like a horror movie I never asked to see but am forced to experience on repeat

With no stop button in sight to make it go away

I can feel my depression slowly start to creep inside of me

That feeling of hopelessness getting stronger and stronger each day

I feel miserable, hating the life that I am forced to live due to the illnesses that grip my body and soul

I feel disconnected from not only the world around me but from myself

Looking into the mirror and having no recognition of the broken girl staring back at me

Watching my wedding video with tears streaming down my face because I have no emotional connection to that happy girl in a wedding dress

Remembering that was the best night of my life but it feeling like it never even happened to me

I am lost, begging for someone to show me the map needed to get home but knowing no map like that exists

Only I have the ability to create that map and right now, I do not have the tools to do so

That creative spark inside of me that once shown so bright has grown dimmer and dimmer

With each trauma, each illness stomping out a piece of the light in my soul time and time again

Writing, once a safe place and therapeutic tool, now seeming so hard to even do

It’s like the once fluid connection from my mind to my hand has severed itself and no matter how hard I try, the ideas just won’t flow to the page with ease like before

Instead, I struggle to come up with flowing sentences and paragraphs, my mind feeling jumbled 

The imagination in me that once created novels of greatness

Basically destroyed by the harsh reality that is life

Causing my novel ideas and half written stories to remain just that when I once believed they could become so much more

My only true escape is music

Music has always been something that allowed me to disappear from my world

I lean on music more now than I ever have before

Lately, Hamilton has become my number one destination

Constantly listening to and now even watching this truly unbelievable show

I listen to Lin’s poetic words being rapped and sung by angelic voices and in those moments, my mind is at peace

The usually loud voices in my mind that constantly project negativity are drowned out by music and words of pure genius

What it must be like to have a mind so brilliant it can create something so unique out of nothing else but history

But as I listen, I also think of Hamilton’s story

Longing to have that kind of drive, that kind of determination to become someone great

To be able to turn my pain into something beautiful, something that can help others

I ask myself, have I thrown away my shot?

Is it too late to become someone, to make a difference in this world

Or will I eventually die being known as the girl who was always too sick to function

I’m tired of my mind torturing me 

I’m tired of my body always being full of pain

I’m tired of constantly being sick

Of having to cancel plans with friends

I’m tired of this life

But the sad truth is, no matter how many times I try to change things

I always fall back to this spot

I get to the top only to be there for a few moments before it’s down the rabbit hole again

Despite all of this, I still have a sliver of hope that one day, things will be better and will stay better

That I will make something of myself 

That people will know my name and my story

That young girls and boys will be inspired by my determination to survive when I had every reason in the book to give up 

That my failures thus far will pave the way to the biggest triumphs of my life

That Tom and I will have kids and I will be a great mother to them

I hold onto that hope with shaky but firm hands, even on the days where I desperately want to let go because giving in would be so much easier then fighting

But I know its that hope that keeps me going, it’s that hope that keeps me alive

So I hold on, and I will continue to hold on

Because despite everything, despite how shattered I may feel

I know my life is special and worth living

Life is a fragile but beautiful thing and even when the darkness is overwhelming

There is always a small flame of light illuminating within

At times, it may be hidden or harder to find but it is there

Guiding you, providing you with hope, even if you can’t see it

The Void Inside Me

There is a void inside me. It’s been there for as long as I can remember. Most days the effects of this void are minimum. It’s like a emptiness that I know is there but isn’t really affecting me to a point where I can’t just ignore it. On the rare occasions, it even feels like it doesn’t exist at all. But then there are the days where the void’s emptiness is so overwhelming that it feels like i’m being swallowed by it. Like quick sand, the harder I try to fight the feeling of dread and nothingness as it begins to wash over me, the quicker it grows until I’m left sitting there, feeling numb and lost. Having this strong sense that I am longing for something but having no idea what that something could be. For years, I have tried to find that something that would fill this void but every time I believe I have found the missing piece to my soul, slowly the void returns, leaving an empty hole once again.

When I was younger, I remember I thought the answer to filling this emptiness was trivial things.

“If I could just own that purse, I will be happy”

“If he would just date me, I would feel so complete”

“If I could only own this type of pet, I would be filled with joy”

Of course, none of these things were the answer I was looking for. None of these things fulfilled me in the way I desperately wanted to be fulfilled.

I would also think maybe changing who I was was the right way to go. I would constantly change my appearance, my style, even my outlook on life, believing if I just kept changing things, something would stick and fill the void but that never was the case.

“If only I had long blonde hair, then everyone would love me”

“If only I was skinnier and wore tighter clothing, then the boys would notice me”

“If I get contacts, then i’ll feel beautiful”

But no matter what I did, in the end, I still felt empty. I still struggled to connect with the face looking back at me in the mirror. Knowing physically this girl was me but not feeling any emotional connection to her.

As I got older, I believed the answer I was looking for would be found in major life events. I was convinced that the huge changes that come into your life as you become an adult would surely be my solution. And on the day I married my soulmate, my best friend, it really felt like I had discovered the missing piece. Somehow, despite all I had been through and how broken I felt, I found someone who loved me for the perfectly imperfect person I was. Who knew my flaws better then anyone and still wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Who looked forward to starting a family with me. Everything I had dreamed of as a child was now in my grasp. How could there still be a void after all of that? And for a while, it looked like I was correct. Like the void in me had been filled by love.

But as time went on, I noticed that void slowly begin to open once again. I watched as my health began to slip away and with each new symptom and diagnosis, the hole grew. I desperately tried to hold it all together still. I focused on filling my life with the things I loved and cherished. On building my family and the life I had always dreamed of having. Even after knowing I could no longer work due to my illnesses, I stayed strong. We rescued a tiny puppy and then, not even a full year later, I brought home my service dog prospect. Something I never thought I would need but once I knew I did, never thought would materialize. Yet, it had.

I thought it would work, but it didn’t. That void was still there, some days feeling stronger then it had in years. A sense of nothingness, of numbness. With my health failing me and being unable to provide for my family because of it, I thought if only I could get approved for disability. If that could happen, then I would not feel so much like a failure and that void wouldn’t feel so deep. I had always said I would be content being a house wife so getting disability would allow that to happen. How could that not make this void disappear?

But the day I got that phone call saying I was approved for disability, a wave of mixed emotions washed over me, both positive and negative. Something I thought was my answer seemed to make the void deeper somehow. Causing me to sit here more lost then I ever was before. Causing me to wonder, what in my life will fill this void?

Will having our own house and living on our own fill it?

What about getting pregnant and bringing my child into this world? Something I have dreamed about for as long as I can remember. Something that once felt so certain but now I fear everyday may never happen because of my health.

Will becoming a mental/chronic illness influencer and blogger do the job?

How about an author? Publishing my poetry and novels for all to see.

Or am I destined to always be longing for this something? To always feel like there is a piece missing from my life. To feel numb, empty, longing for true happiness.

And then my mind begins to fear that I gave up something that was the answer, either by choice or due to my health.

Would have completing a 4 year degree and becoming a teacher been my answer?

What about becoming a school psychologist and a theater director? Would that had helped?

What if I followed my dream of being an actress?

Would that kind of stardom been the missing puzzle piece to this jigsaw I call my life?

I guess i’ll never know for sure. But man is it hard not to wonder.

On days where the void is so strong, it’s like it’s hard to even take a breath. Because with each breath, this sense of emptiness is overwhelming.

And the last thought that crosses my mind is where did this void even come from?

What burned a hole so big into the soul of such a happy little girl? Because that is what I was as a kid, always smiling, happy as can be and just living her life to the fullest. So what happened?

Was it my dad and mom divorcing when I was just 5 years old? My dad telling me he was leaving after giving me such an amazing day.

Was it hardly seeing him after that, even though at the time, he only lived 10 minutes from me?

What about my mother? Someone who was physically there for me and tried to give me the best life she could but often acted more like a best friend then the mother a child needs. Could that have done it?

Or did it happen after my grandpa passed away, right before I would turn 13? Surely losing a father figure in your life, someone you saw every day, at a time where you desperately need guidance could create such a hole.

What about the bullying I went through? Elementary, middle, and of course, high school. Always the same old thing, never feeling good enough, always being put down or made fun of for my appearance or personality. Taunts of “Teachers pet” still ringing in my ears. Having friends you would do anything for putting you down time and time again. Getting betrayed and hurt over and over.

And then there are my relationships. Could they have contributed to the crater that wrecks havoc in my life?

My first love being an on and off again roller coaster ride. Always jumping between me and another girl, always feeling like a second choice but so in love that I was content with not being first.

And then my second love leaving me with so much mental and emotional damage. Accepting the fact that the love you had for him blinded you to the mental and verbal abuse you put up with time and time again. Giving him everything, every part of me and receiving nothing but hurt in return. The words he’d say still piercing my heart, like a snake’s fangs. Words that I believed were true. Words that I sometimes still believe are true. Something so simple triggering me, reminding me of how worthless he made me feel. But remembering I would have done anything for him because my love was that strong.

Could that have been what caused the ground to break?

And then there is my health. Being plagued with not one but two autoimmune disorders as a young adult. Unable to do simple tasks such as brushing my hair anymore without pain. Is that what caused this deep void within me?

Maybe. But more than likely, it is a combination of all of the above plus more that I experienced that has created this hole in my soul.

Maybe the answer isn’t finding something to fill the hole, but rather, letting go of all these traumas I have gone through in my 24 years of life.

Maybe if I can face these demons that I have locked behind a door and let them go, I would feel free.

Maybe by accepting what has happened to me, understanding they have made me the person I am today and also realizing I am not in those situations anymore, that I am safe now, will cause the void to begin to close.

Maybe I can start feeling what true happiness is without having this crushing weight of my past on my shoulders. A weight that feels as heavy as cinder blocks constantly dragging me down.

I don’t know if letting go is the answer I have been searching for. I don’t know what that answer is but I do know, that is the next step I am choosing to take.

It’s time to stop holding on to my past.

It’s time to stop obsessing over how I thought my future would be.

It’s time to forgive my younger self for the mistakes she made and remember, I am not that same girl today.

It’s time to forgive the ones in my life who have hurt me.

It’s time to move on.

It’s time to let go.