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The war inside of me, Sasha Heinemann (16)

Many people have described me as happy, positive, outgoing, kind, friendly, or spirited. I’m not going to tell you that this is all a mask and I am faking my emotions, etc. That is not true. I am a happy person, and I do try to make the best of everything. There is nothing I love more than laughing with my friends, making people smile, or meeting new people. I like being happy. Don’t we all?  

I have a really hard time understanding myself. I don’t understand how I can be a loving and supportive friend, yet an inpatient and careless older sister, or a closed off and selfish daughter. I don’t know why I feel so fulfilled and happy with everything in my life at some times, yet I can feel worthless and deprived at other times when I’m alone. There is something to be said about being alone with your thoughts. Especially when your thoughts are mean, scary, unjust, and intrusive. Pushing away these thoughts is exhausting. I wish more than anything that I could always be the part of myself that I love. I love the parts of me that feel nothing but love towards other people, that want to make others smile, and that wants to make people feel loved. I love the part of me that loves myself. I love the part of me that loves being alive. I wish that this part of me was bigger because it is severely overshadowed by the depressed part of me. I don’t like the part of me that thinks so many thoughts at once. I don’t like the part of me that hates myself. I don’t like the part of me that wishes I could be someone else. I don’t like the part of me that doesn’t want to be alive. I don’t like the part of me that is done trying, that doesn’t want to keep going, that is ready to give up.

These two parts of myself are constantly at odds with one another. But sometimes, one part manages to overthrow the other. The first semester of my junior year was amazing. I was the happiest I have ever been to. The part of me that loves every second of my life was winning. I was beyond happy to be alive. But that isn’t to say that the depressed part didn’t win sometimes. I would still have the usual ups and downs, the bad days, and hard weeks. However, the depressed part of me was winning most of my sophomore year and is winning the second semester of my junior year.  These are the hard months when I can barely remember the happy parts. When I forget how happy I am capable of being, and how great my life can be. When I don’t feel like pushing myself to get back up to the good parts.

There is nothing harder than waking up every day having no idea what I’m going to feel like. I don’t want to wake up and be the part of myself that I hate. I don’t want to wake up and be the part of myself that is unbearable and that makes every minute of being alive that much harder. I don’t want to wake up and spend all of my energy into trying to make myself okay and trying to get the good, happy, healed part of me to take over.

Some days I wake up with a smile on my face, excited for the day. Some days I wake up and immediately start homework or work out. Some days I wake up and go right back to sleep. Some days I wake up and lie paralyzed in my bed, dreading the day. Some days I wake up wishing I hadn’t.

“What is your biggest dream?” When I was little I might have told you that I wanted to be a professional gymnast, a wedding planner, a hotel concierge, or a princess at Disneyland. If you ask me now, I would tell you that I want to be emotionally stable. I want to wake up knowing that I will be the part of myself that can be both kinds to myself and others, and that loves being alive. Of course, we all have bad days, which is completely normal. But for most people, bad days don’t turn you into a completely different person. They don’t leave you wishing you didn’t have to exist anymore. And they don’t happen every other hour, or every other week, or every other couple of months. They don’t come when you least expect them to. They don’t come when you were happy just one minute ago. I want the stability that comes with having normal bad days.

To anyone with whom this story resonates: I am so sorry. It is so shitty. Beyond shitty. I am proud of you for everything you have done. I am proud of you for the person you are on both your good days and your bad days. I love the happy part of you, and I love the part of you that doesn’t love yourself. I hope that one day you can too.

I chose not to make my story anonymous because I think that I need to accept it as a big part of my life. For those of you who know me, I hope that this story shows that you never know what someone is dealing with behind closed doors. I hope that you continue to show love and kindness to everyone around you, and at the bare minimum, respect. If this story resonates with you, please reach out to me. Finding comfort in others can be healing, so I have kept my name to this story so that I can connect with you.

It seems silly for me to give advice considering I am in no way healed myself and still face struggles every single day, but here is the one thing that keeps me going. A friend recently shared this quote with me: “You didn’t come this far to only come this far.” No matter how much you hate yourself, no matter how worthless you feel, no matter how exhausted you are by trying to make yourself happy, I beg you to trust yourself, to believe in yourself, and to give yourself another chance. You are better than all of this. Do not let your mental illness win.


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