The darkness seemed to reign relentlessly in the late months of 2007. There was this chill that lingered in those fall months that would make winter envious. At that point in time, I was about 13 years old with an entire future of possibilities ahead of me, but all I wanted to do was lie in bed and never come out from under my covers. The world outside my room walls was waiting to be discovered, but with the thoughts that ran through my head, I knew it was safer I just stay indoors. If I would stay put in my room, no one would get hurt on my behalf because I did not turn the light switch off five times before leaving the front door on my right foot, no matter how absurd it was. All I wanted was for everyone to be safe, even if it would cost me my health and happiness.
It worked for the first few weeks, until I had to force a smile on my face when it once came so naturally. It was an issue when I realized I would cry more in a day than I would laugh and that I would sleep more often than I would go out for a nice long run like I used to. My parents realized something was wrong, but my mouth remained shut because it was my pain and my problem that I would deal with. Days passed by that lasted eternities and nights became my escape. While everyone slept, I would stay awake dreaming of a world where no sadness existed and adventure was all around. Nights were my salvation, but as the sun rose, my anxiety seemed to rise with it and the misery would start all over again. I could not wait to come back home, hide away under my blankets, and dream of that world I wanted so bad to exist.
One wish I had was to fall down the rabbit hole like Alice had as each day got progressively worse. I wanted to be in a place where everything and nothing made sense. My parents, who I regard as my best friends, became easily frustrated with me. The daughter that was once so bright and active now barely held a spark of youth or left her room for reasons they did not know. As Christmas grew closer, my anxiety and depression got worse and my parents became desperate for answers. About two weeks before Christmas, my parents were at their breaking point, crying tears of anguish that only burrowed me further into that hopeless heart of mine. We decided it was time to take action or else these delusions would wear me down until I no longer existed.
I saw a specialist that beautiful Christmas Eve and received one of the most beautiful gifts I could ever imagine: peace. I quickly learned that all these fears, anxieties, and self-deprecation that had tormented me and made my days nights of an eternal darkness, all came as a result of a chemical imbalance that triggered a physiological disorder at a young age. Though the news had been great, they were quick to make sure I understood one point that has been my struggle ever since. This disorder is a part of me, it is a part of my entity and will most likely forever remain with me. Every day for the rest of my life, day and night, I would have to fight these thoughts and overcome the fears that were instilled in me as a result of this disorder. Since that day seven years ago, it has been an ongoing battle to differentiate the reality and the dark thoughts that attempt to take away my happiness, but I have become stronger. I went on through the past seven years gaining recognition in academics, stage performance, and acquiring an internship in Washington, DC at only 20 years of age. I still have a long way to go and some days it seems that, as Alice had, my wish to fall down the hole came true, but I craved nothing more than escaping that world. On those days I remind myself that with determination and perseverance, I too can overcome the dangers of the mind and be not only a survivor, but a champion.