This past Friday, October 12, was my anniversary. When darkness happened. When the first set of symptoms triggered. When darkness arrived. I was 16 years old. I still wonder why.
The only worry I had is to get good grades. Making friends wasn’t necessarily a priority. I was a lonely guy. I didn’t mind. I preferred silence. My classmates used to call me “the silent one.” I used to wake up, go to school, ask questions during class, and go home. I had a few friends in my neighborhood. That’s all I needed.
Then it happened.
It was past midnight. A series of hallucinations started to manifest. I wasn’t scared. I was concerned that they seemed too real to be true. This was the beginning and the end of me. The end of my peace of mind, confidence, and worry-less lifestyle. The beginning of a person that was fragile and broken. I suddenly became an anxious person.
I’ve been picking up all my pieces, one by one for eleven years. I wonder when I’m gonna finish with this task. I feel that my recovery has been successful, but it hasn’t been an easy one. I’ve lost myself, more than once. I’ve lost good friends, relationships, and distanced myself from most of my family. To this day I still crave solitude.
To be honest, I never thought that I was going back to school, or to have a great job. I thought that I was going to be in a very dark place, and stay there. I realized soon that the dark place is always within me, but it’s up to me to decide if I go in. I need to put myself on check often. I know darkness, and it has a vice grip on me if I decide to let it control me.
Fast-forward eleven years, it still feels like it happened a day ago. I’ve got a life worth of memories that I truly want to forget. The only use I can find to them is that they serve me as a warning. They remind me how bad things can get if I let them.
I’ve made progress. I finished two degrees during my time in community college. I’m about to finish my bachelor’s next semester. I’m about to choose which graduate program I want to do. I’ve meet beautiful humans that I can call true friends. I have a job that I love.
I create music that helps me with my symptoms. I’ve released several songs, and an EP. I’ve done research. I’ve worked in a lab. I’ve presented my findings in the other side of the country. I’ve decided to own a website.
I’ve been making the best of it. Even if it feels like hell most of the time. I’ve got a desire to achieve, to not surrender. To not lose the fight with my worst enemy, which are my own limitations. I’m building my path. I’m my worst critic, and my solitude the best companion I have when I need to think.
In retrospect, this eleven years have been hard. But without my condition, and my fight I would probably had conformed with much less.
In a way, my illness has been a twisted blessing. A blessing that I don’t wish to anybody. But if you also have a condition, know that you can accomplish things, but it’s going to take a greater effort.
Thank you for reading this so far.