This Wall is Mine and Mine Alone. But Could you Knock it down with me?

In which I begin writing an optional essay that turns into my cry for help. I’m going to edit out the cry for help bit, as I think this essay is shaping up pretty well, but this is what I could get out of me tonight. Please, please read it. The prompt is about walls and what walls you have faced in your life or while pursuing your education, how have you gotten around them, climbed over them, knocked them down or do they remain? So essentially writing about your experience with walls. Length is to be 1,200-1,500 words. Due date is Monday January 16th 2017.

You can tell when it starts to turn into something else. My concentration was waning and waxing and I got kind of bored with it and not wanting to talk about it but I kept plowing onwards and so you get this. Again, I’d be editing this baby up. I think some parts could be kept though, fitting the theme and all. It gets emotional and vent-y rather than cohesive and sound. Sort of like blurbs of thought rather than one thematic piece. I would sincerely appreciate comments here. it’s hard to admit but I really need help. January 6th is my two year first suicide attempt anniversary, TW for mental health/suicidality in this post, by the way. I’m sure you can figure out the rest. *sigh*

Raquel Lyons

3 January 2017

Essay Entry:

This Wall is Mine and Mine Alone

I have hit a wall. Behind closed lips my words are strangled, my fingers cannot type out the phrases that linger and slosh around in my brain. I want to write, I have so much to say, but very little comes out. I have met this wall before. We know each other well. It stands with its white brick high into the cloudy sky, thunderstorms rolling into the forecast. We stand at odds of each other, this wall and I. I do not know who it is exactly. I do not know if this wall represents all that I truly am or everything that is not me. But it stands in my way, once again. And I am left with the question–do I work around it or do I lay behind it, waiting for it to crash upon me? My tentative answer is: I do not know, because I do not know who this wall represents. It is everything and nothing all at the same time. My mind yells at me to run and yet I cannot look away. This wall is here for my protection and for my enslavement. This wall is mine and mine alone. This wall is my burden to carry.

At the age of six, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. What was meant to be a preventative surgery to correct one problem led to my first wall appearing: the scoliosis got worse. I was in the prime of my teenage years, and so with that, came rebellion. I did not have to listen to my doctors, I did not need a back brace, I was fine, I was great, and I certainly had the power to choose to do what I wanted to do. So after a year and a half, I stopped wearing my back brace. It would have been different, I think, had I been open to other treatment options (even though those were limited). But I was not open. I was closed off, clammed up, and I did not want to talk about, let alone think about, the scoliosis. I just wanted to be normal and okay, and I thought if I acted like there was not a problem, then it would go away and I would not have to deal with it. Because it was too difficult to deal with it, I was not ready and the wall of denial was so much easier to fall back to then acceptance was. But for three years I stayed within that all-encompassing wall. It was my greatest wall yet, and with surgery and self-forgiveness, I was able to break down that wall and walk away from the forest I had become lost in and chained to. I was free and I had myself back, renewed and different and grown. It was beautiful.

It was beautiful until the next wall came a year later. This time it was in the wicked form of crippling procrastination. It was a decaying wall, filled with uncertainties and what, I at the time, did not realize were symptoms. That fall semester took me down a few pedestals, knocking me back with hurricane winds, landing me on my rump as I faced what I thought was the lowest low of my life and the lowest grades of a semester. It was full blown procrastination that impacted every square inch of my life to a negative degree. I was struggling, yet in 2014, I knocked it down with organization and a change of my major, a major that actually fit my studying habits and ability to learn. I had won again, and the freedom felt lovely for as long as it lasted.

Then, this wall came. The white bricked wall came for me. In fall 2014 I was diagnosed, much to my own surprise, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on self-harm and suicide obsessions. I had not even known I was dealing with a mental health condition, for the time I had entered college two years prior. The walls of my denial were strongly kept, as over the course of those two years I recognized I was dealing with some hefty anxiety but refused to call it such. I also recognized that I probably had something underlying going on, but I did not want to deal with it, hoping it would go away. That notion of thinking has yet to work out well for me. With the OCD came many anxious times–instances where I assumed I was suicidal when I genuinely was not, to fear of acting on merely having a thought without intention to do so, to staying frozen in a stairwell, unable to move and many, many sleepless nights in which my nightmares involved the OCD and my struggling against it. I felt frozen within my mind staring at many actual, physical walls in a distant, blank stare. I saw through the walls and watched the horrors of my mind gradually take control over me. I did not know how much more I could handle, before secondary depression came knocking on my wall.

Then, with its presence, there was a shadowy doorway that opened up. But, instead of light coming through, it was a gray veil of distorted thoughts. It was a doorway to a way out of the walls; it just meant falling from a great height.

And, what is problematic about mental health conditions like depression, is while consumed within them, they seem so factual, so true and so innocent. It is like befriending the storm that rains down upon you. You become soaking wet with its vile nature, yet it convinces you that you are dry and have been dry all along. It distorts reality in a way that the unreasonable becomes reasonable.

And so I sit before this wall of mine now. And I consider who it is that makes up this wall. Because there is a doorway wide open to my right and a pathway into light on my left, and this wall before me. Although, no that is inaccurate, behind the wall there is a doorway open and a path of light. It is the wall itself that I have to look at. It is the decision before the wall that stands out the most. The wall inherently poses the question for me–who will I listen to when I need to listen to someone the most? And the answer is, I do not know. Words try desperately to spill out before me, as this is the first time I am setting my focus into staring through the wall, trying to determine what next course of action to take, but I am exasperated. I do not know what to do. How can I not know what to do? I know what I should do versus what I should not do, but the very thing I should not do is the thing I want to do. How do I balance this? How do I overcome it?

This wall will not leave me alone! For weeks my brain has been unraveling and I cannot take the near constant obsessions and upcoming compulsions any longer! I just want my brain to shush, for the wall to disappear into nonexistence, for the world to keep spinning and for me to carry on about my day as per usual.

Why THIS wall? Why ME?

They are impossible questions to answer, for the wall just is and I just am. Acceptance twinkles in the far away branches, but now is not the time for me to go prancing in its roots.

I do not know what to do. The raindrops are falling and I am getting wet, yet my brain tells me that I am fully dry. I do not know who to believe. I am shaking my head and slamming my palms against the white brick, I wish the wall would make the decision for me, I cannot handle this anymore! Pain lurks beneath the piggyback of my emotions, and I cannot find my voice, my voice, my voice! Where has it gone?

It feels inherently that the most compassionate of souls are the ones who have trudged through the deepest of turmoil. But we all have our limits, do we not? I do not think I know what the right decision is anymore. I am just buying my time now, with dread drenched upon my sleeves and a heavy weightlessness sinking my toes into the mud. I do not know what happens next, and I do not think I can begin to guess. I just need someone to know. I need someone to acknowledge the wall and someone to acknowledge the desperation lacing through my tears. This wall is mine and mine alone, but please tell me, that I do not have to carry this burden alone.

8 thoughts on “This Wall is Mine and Mine Alone. But Could you Knock it down with me?

  1. Wow! This was incredible to read. I usually read through long posts in parts, taking a break every now and then (ADD traits), but I read this post straight through. It was THAT good. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a very well thought-out, well written essay. It captures Lyons’ mentality in such a way that reader is forced to consider the circumstances in which she lives/grew up. Personally, I find it easy to relate to– I had a gnawing feeling of anxiety trapping me in my own mind for years. Love this post, really hit home with me. If Lyons ever ends up reading this comment, just know that there’s lots of us (those who live with OCD, anxiety, depression, etc) out here. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we’re all walking down separate roads together. Keep on keepin’ on.

    Liked by 1 person

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