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Pain Inside Me

by Aliah Marie Scantlin
(Fresno, California)

When I say anxiety, what comes to your mind? You might say nervousness, stress, or maybe even depression. Which leads me to question number two, when I say depression, what comes to your mind?

Most people think they know whats going on when you say you have anxiety or depression. "Oh I feel sad sometimes too" or "Don't worry so much" are two things you have probably heard if you do live with anxiety or depression. Did you notice how I said "Live with anxiety or depression" instead of "Have anxiety or depression?" Having something and living with something are two totally different things. Anxiety and Depression live with you, they live with your family, your social life, and even your emotions.

These things crawl inside you and make themselves a home. Its like your house is being infested with a million wasps. They build their nests, settle in, and reproduce to the point where nothing can get rid of them. You call an exterminator to drown out these wasps, but the fumes from the poison sink in your skin and the bugs become immune. Their little wings flap around and create this muffled noise in your head, so you call again hoping to silence this mess. They remove the nest hidden in your mind, but its too late. With the stingers stuck in your brain and the fumes floating around your mind it becomes cloudy. Like a dark forest from a horror movie. You watch your back because you can't see whats behind the fog, you're scared something could prance at any moment, and make their move. So you stay inside where it is safe, but you can't hide for long.

Numb. You become numb to the stingers, the wasps, and the fog. You feel nothing, you sit in your bed grabbing your blanket to block out the sun seeping through the window. Its dark, its cold, and its lonely. Your bed is your safe haven, wrapping around you like a warm hug and you don't want to leave. So you stay there probably all the time, but your bed can't save you from your thoughts. Suddenly your in a theater, looking around you realize your alone, the lights dim down as the film begins to roll. Its the movie of your mistakes, your fears, and your problems. The film rolls on forever, it feels like its being played on repeat for hours at a time. When you can't take it anymore you go to leave, but the door wont give. You scream for help, but nobody comes, your knees grow weak as you fall to the floor and cry. Once you open your eyes you realize your back in your bed with a tear soaked pillow, and your lungs feel as if they fell in your stomach, but it isn't over yet. An earthquake hits your bones and you start to shake, it feels like the heat is on 102 because your drenched in sweat. Everything is loud, overwhelmed with the noise your body shuts down. Numb, once again with no control over whats happening like your hovering over your body screaming for help, but there are no words.

Silence, that's all there is. You want to scream deep inside, but your throat is swollen and your lips are sealed shut. So you bury a journal of words that never make it out of your mouth. The pages go on forever, every page is full of secrets and thoughts you wouldn't dare let loose. You think if you let these words jump off the page to find their way out the world would crumble at your feet. Words are something you fear, scared of what others might think you become insecure. When you look in the mirror you can point out everything you hate about yourself. When your in public you feel like you just walked up on a stage with a room full of people, and all eyes are on you. Realizing you now scratch your arm, tap your feet, or play with your shirt whenever your around people. These nervous ticks have become noticeable to those around you. Your not hiding it well enough. So you add that to your journal then paint a smile to the empty canvas that rests upon your face. This is your mask.

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