This Is My Cross To Bear

This Is My Cross To Bear

And has it been heavy.
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I carry it with me to the grocery store. School. Work. Bed. The Shower. Everywhere I go. It follows me like a cloud of rain. It whispers in my ear as I try to rent a book at the library for the first time. But the voice reminds me that this is a busy library and I've never rented here. What if the librarian thinks I'm weird? What if I go to the wrong desk? What if... What if... What if... So I put the book back and leave.

Driving down the highway on a sunny day and then remembering something from years ago. My laughter as the wind blows through my hair shifts to the gaze of a deer in the headlights. What if... What if... What if... So I roll my window back up and turn the music down.

"Why do you always worry about things?"

"Why do you always ask me if I'm mad?"

"You should get help."

I want to be free like a bird and fly over a desert but birds don't have flashbacks of dark nights and malicious words. Birds don't have flashbacks of people dying in their living room. Birds don't pull their hood up to walk across campus so that they won't be seen. Birds don't play the same record over and over again on their dorm room floor in a thunderstorm all alone.

Birds are free. Not me.

It's heavy, heavier than the weights I lift to get rid it. Last night's at the gym trying to clear it just to be back six hours later to lift again. And then once I'm home and sweaty, exhausted from the bar, it creeps back up on me. What if... What if... What if...

I want to run away to the mountains where the cool western wind can whip through my hair under a full moon. I want to be that full moon. Shining in the dark. Filled of life. But moons don't question their sanity. Moons don't wake up in the middle of the night and stare at the clock till the sun rises. Moons don't change their names while in hiding. Moons don't write angry letters to themselves and beg for salvation.

The full moon is bright. Not me.

"Have you tried (insert stereotypical remedy here) yet?"

"Just live your best life!"

"You should talk to someone."

I bear it as I sit in class, tapping my pen against a desk. Ordering coffee in a long line. Trying to make friends. Studying for an exam. Everything I do. It follows me like a parasite, slowly sucking the life out of me as it smiles and watches my body decay. The feeling that reminds me of the haunting tapping of a branch against my window at night.

What if... What if... What if...

Run away and be free, what else could a human being ask for? Was it wrote in stone before I was born?

It is my cross to bear as I walk into a room with all eyes on me, ravenous eyes ready to tear me a part; as I walk with the confidence of an outlaw, tired of running from the man, the final showdown.

They call it depression, OCD, anxiety. They say it is normal. That it affects everyone in life. It runs in families. You inherit it.

But normal people don't have crosses to bear. And this is mine.

Cover Image Credit: Flash Bros

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10 Bible Verses for Self Esteem

Sometimes you need to search for inner strength and find your own self worth.
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We all get those days that we just don't feel good enough for anything. Everything is going wrong. For me, I go to the bible to read the words of God. His personal dialog for us is filled with encouragement, hope, and lessons we can learn from. Here are my top ten verses that are uplifting and impacting when at the lowest of lows:

1. Philippians 4:13:

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

2. Psalm 46:5

God is within her, she will not fall.

3. Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

4. Psalm 28:76

The Lord is my strength and my shield.

5. 1 Corinthians 25:10

By the grace of God, I am what I am.

6. Romans 5:8

I loved you at your darkest.

7. Psalm 62:5-6

Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure.

8. 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

9. 1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

10. 2 Chronicles 20:15

The battle is not ours, but God's.

Cover Image Credit: chinadaily

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Telling Me To 'Keep My Chin Up' Is Sweet But It's Not A Cure — There's No Easy Fix For Anxiety

It's really difficult to voice my true feelings about GAD, but here goes nothing!

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Having generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can be really difficult. It makes living out my daily life a struggle. Even if I'm having a "good day" on the outside, I could be imploding. I bet if you asked most people who know me, a good majority of them would have no idea that I struggle with mental health issues. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. It definitely means I'm good at hiding and covering up my true reactions and feelings.

I do the best I can to conceal my feelings because I hate burdening other people with my unnecessary worries. Inside, I let my worries spiral and spiral into what I call the "spin cycle." This happens when I have one troublesome thought that leads to another one and another one until the situation I've come up with is so unrealistic it seems like I'm having a really strange dream.

Most days, I'm not sure how to escape the spin cycle. But that's when I remember all the good I have going for me. I have family and friends who love me. I have a soon-to-be husband who adores me and would do anything for me. Most importantly, I have my heavenly father who will always take care of me. Who could ask for a better support system?

How can I be so worried when I have so much to be grateful for?

Ask my genes, DNA, and brain for the answer because I have no idea. As much as I want to say that every time I pray for lessened anxiety it goes away, that's just not how it works. God isn't a genie. We all have our personal struggles, and this is mine. It's not going away no matter what I do. Yes, there are things I can do to make it more bearable or to soften the crippling effects it has on my mind, body, and soul, but is there a perfect solution to make it go away? Absolutely not. I wish.

No matter what my external circumstances, my anxiety always has, does, and will run high. Sure, I have coping mechanisms and people who can help calm me down — everyone needs that kind of support system. However, I will never escape a mental illness unless there's a sudden miracle from God (which I will never exclude).

The weird thing about having a mental illness is that you can pass by as "normal" to most people most of the time. It's so strange that with most other illnesses you can see the physical difference, but with mental illnesses, people could know you for years but are in the dark about your generalized anxiety disorder. I'm around such supportive people that sometimes I wonder why I don't tell more people more often.

I'm afraid of being seen differently or stigmatized.

Bottom line is: I hate standing out. This introvert hates being the center of attention. Even more so, I don't want to make other people worry about me. I also don't want to be different from anyone else. It's so easy for people to tell people to just "not worry" or "chin up" when they don't understand how debilitating mental illnesses truly are.

I don't want to be told that my feelings are invalid or can be fixed in the blink of an eye. I've lived with GAD my whole life. Trust me: if there was an easy fix, I would've done it by now.

I'm not sure if I'm just ranting or becoming a part of the change for good...but I'd like to think I'm the latter. The more people who know about generalized anxiety disorder and mental illnesses, the better. I think those of us who struggle sometimes don't have the words to share exactly how we're feeling, and I'm not sure I've done a good job of sharing my own feelings through this article. You, dear reader, are the judge of that.

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