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I feel like Alice.

Evelyn360Evelyn360 Posts: 81 Budding Regular
Hi, I'm new to this. I've never really spoken about my mental health before. I fall into the classic stereotype of being too embaressed, too ashamed. So I don't really know why I decided to look up forums to talk in today. My real name's not even Evelyn, I couldn't even commit to that even though this is anonymous. Go figure right? 

Sometimes I write things down when I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed so I thought I'd share a bit from this week and just go from there I guess. So this week, I wasn't Evelyn, I was Alice.

I feel like Alice. I fell down the rabbit hole and I had no idea it was coming. Since then I've been stuck, unable to get out. Lost in an endless cycle that shows no sign of going anywhere. A cycle I hadn't really acknowledged until now. Imagine there's three stages to this cycle. One is darkness, one is white, and one is the ledge. Each have their own struggles, each have their own comforts.

The ledge
Imagine a ledge with a wall. On one side is where you've been, and on the other is where you're going. You know you can't go back to where you've been, so that only leaves where you're going. Where you've been is white and where you're going is darkness. So, you live on edge, knowing that the fall into the darkness is inevitable because you can't go back which means darkness is too come. You are literally teetering. Waiting for the fall. Walking so carefully for fear of going over. Don't move too fast, think too hard or draw attention. For you might fall sooner.

Being on the ledge means being anxious all of the time. Zoning in and out of your surroundings because you need to be constantly aware of where you are. Am I still on the ledge? Or have I fallen already and not even noticed? You want to go back to the white but when you were there, you craved the ledge. Only now you're here, you're not so sure.

The darkness
The darkness is both terrifying and comfortable. When you've been here so many times before you get used to it in a way. You make your bed here and you  lie in it  every night. But that's what makes is so dangerous. You could be here for days, weeks, months, or even once - years. The danger of the darkness is that it blocks everything out. It's just you and the dark, all of the time. This usually results in being completely withdrawn, sleep is your new best friend and you indulge in it as much as possible. Staying in bed all day and night with nothing but the darkness to comfort you. 

Maybe that's what makes it so alluring. It's become a comfort blanket in a way. You've been here before and you know what it's like, it's the new normal. But when nothing but darkness can get in, nothing can survive either. It is all consuming. And when it's at its worst, your mind feels like it's breaking, fracturing, ready to shatter into a million pieces. The pressure is insurmountable. This usually brings about fits of tears, gasping for breath, physical holding your head trying to force everything to stay together. Your own little silent hell. It's like trying to push something you can't see or touch so far down until you don't know it's there anymore. Trying to push the darkness down. But how can you do that? You're no longer teetering on the edge off the ledge, you have fallen. But now you  are on a new ledge. And this one is much much worse. Because you  have everything too lose, your mental stability is at risk.

And then finally. It goes away. Breathe. It will be back, and it's always worse. But for now, breathe. For now, you are back in the white.

The white
The white is safe. It is empty. There is no darkness here. When you're in the white you can move, you can function, you can hide. But it is white. It is empty. It's cold. There is nothing here. You can go through the motions, act the part, but deep down, there is nothing. Nothing to feel, nothing to do, nothing to be. And that's a different kind of hell altogether. Existing rather than living is tricky. For a while it's  doable. You're so thankful to be out of the darkness that you take what you can get. But that only lasts so long. And then the darkness starts to seep in. So. Slow.

But make no mistake, it's coming. And then you start too want it back. Because the white is safe, and the white is empty, but you are white, and you are empty. The walls become higher every time you return but if you can't feel, then what's the point? You felt in the darkness. Nothing good, but it was something. And you want it back. And now you start looking for the darkness, trying to catch it. The worst part of the pain is forgotten and all that's  left is a longing to feel. Something. And eventually, you end up back on the ledge. And realise what a terrible mistake you've made.

At the moment everything just feels a little numb. And I guess I'm just trying to figure out a way to open up and talk to people like I've never been able to before.

Thanks for the read, 
E x
Kathleen07Butterfly23Past Usercoc0mac


  • Kathleen07Kathleen07 Posts: 1,935 Extreme Poster

    Welcome to the boards :) Well done for sharing that, I'm really glad that you joined and are reaching out. I'm really sorry to hear you're feeling like this.

    The way you've expressed this is beautiful, and shows insight and intelligence <3 It sounds like when you're in the darkness, you feel a lot of pain, when you're in the white you feel empty, and when you're on the ledge, you're stuck in a limbo just waiting to feel agony again. But in all three of these stages, it's still a state of suffering - and it's like you've fallen down a hole of suffering, and maybe you just want to escape this cycle and be happy and in peace. Would you say that's true, or is it different?

    What stage do you feel you're in at this moment?

    We're here for you Evelyn. There are ways out of this rabbit hole. Sending much love <3
  • Evelyn360Evelyn360 Posts: 81 Budding Regular
    Hi @kathleen0172, thanks for replying. It really means a lot.

    I think I'm kind of in the white right now, pushing for the ledge maybe? It kind of sounds ridiculous when I write it down. I guess I'm just feeling vulnerable, a bit out of sorts for even posting. I like to think of myself as pretty good at compartmentalising aspects of my life and this is one side I've never been able to voice.

    I guess all three stages are suffering, I've never thought of it that way before. It's just been how I am for so long I think I just assumed it's always going to be this way.
  • Kathleen07Kathleen07 Posts: 1,935 Extreme Poster
    Hey <3

    Sending hugs. It makes total sense how you'd be feeling vulnerable. So does feeling like it sounds ridiculous - although I can assure you that it's not at all. I hope it helps a little to know that this is a safe place to talk. It's positive that you posted, and by doing that I think you're taking a good step.

    What ways forward and next steps do you think there are, for example, seeing a doctor about this? No worries if you're not up to thinking about it, take all the time you need <3
  • Evelyn360Evelyn360 Posts: 81 Budding Regular

    I've been telling myself for years I need to see a doctor. I can't work up the nerve, I bottle it just thinking about it. I wouldn't even know what to say.

    To be honest, my walls are so high I'm not sure I could even get honest words out about how I feel. Most of the time I think one thing in my head and the opposite comes out my mouth. It's as if both halves of my brain are fighting each other, one trying to figure out how to fix everything and the other is in self preservation lock down mode. 

    From the outside I work hard to make sure anyone looking in would think everything is fine, the toll of that I guess is it's exhausting and feels like a massive lie.

    I'm glad I've posted, it is nice to know there's somewhere I can put things down instead of whizzing them around my head all the time  :)
  • mags98mags98 Posts: 287 Moderator
    Hi @Evelyn360

    Have you thought about maybe writing down how you feel and giving the note to the doctor instead of saying it a loud? I know talking about how you feel to others can be very difficult and it is scary which writing it down instead might take the pressure off a little. So many people suffer in silence because they feel they can't say something because they will be criticised or they feel embarrassed. Even if it doesn't feel like it, you have made a massive step just coming on to this board and sharing your experience. Well done.

    I'm glad you are glad to have posted, I really enjoyed reading your post, I hope you write more.

    Welcome to the board!
  • Evelyn360Evelyn360 Posts: 81 Budding Regular
    Hi @mags98

    I've never thought of that to be honest, it's something to think about. I don't know why I find it so difficult, I think I'm scared that I'll try and open up and I either won't explain it right or they'll make it feel insignificant. 

    I'm glad you enjoyed reading my post, I feel a little less crazy  <3
  • Butterfly23Butterfly23 Miniposter England Posts: 810 Part of The Mix Family

    Sending you lots of love and btw I think you are really talented at writing, so you find that helps you? 
  • Evelyn360Evelyn360 Posts: 81 Budding Regular
    Hi @Butterfly23,

    Thank you, sorry it's taken me so long to see this. I think it does help writing things down, I just need to get them out of my head but it's difficult because a lot of the time when I try to pinpoint what I'm feeling or figure out why I'm so down, my brain just mentally shuts down.

    It's nice having somewhere to put things where people can respond if they want to, definitely highlights different ways of looking at things I wouldn't have otherwise thought of. Likewise sometimes I write things I didn't even know I was thinking which can be insightful. 

  • Butterfly23Butterfly23 Miniposter England Posts: 810 Part of The Mix Family
    Hey, no worries!

    I'm glad that you find writing things down is something that helps you, I understand what you are saying about you mentally shutting down when trying to pinpoint why you are feeling a certain way, i feel the same sometimes. I find it helpful to just be and accept that i'm feeling low or anxious or whatever emotion rather than putting the pressure on myself to find a reason why i feel that way, as sometimes there isn't one and that's okay! Is this something you could try in the future?  <3

    Hope you are doing okay? and keep talking to us,

    Butterfly x
  • Evelyn360Evelyn360 Posts: 81 Budding Regular
    Hey @Butterfly23,

    A lot of the time I do accept that I'm just down and feeling anxious, I guess it's the actual acceptance that's hard. It's a working process I guess  :) trying to figure out how to navigate the everyday.

    I'm doing okay, I've been less stressed and anxious than normal this week which is actually so refreshing. 

  • Butterfly23Butterfly23 Miniposter England Posts: 810 Part of The Mix Family

    I understand what you mean and it is a work in progress  :) It's amazing that you are really trying hard to work on the acceptance and so glad to hear that you have been feeling a lot less anxious and stressed this week. I can imagine that it is a much needed break  <3

    Keep talking to us,

    Butterfly x
  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 532 Incredible Poster
    Hi @Evelyn360

    Just echoing what others said, the way you expressed how you are feeling was amazing. You are an extremely talented writer and I really understood every single word. :heart: 

    You are so right, it is a working process. And it's important to remember that you can take all the time you need to feel better. The fact you shared this with us is a huge step and we are here to support you all the way. 

    I'm really glad to hear you are feeling less anxious this week. There are some really useful apps that can help you to recognise patterns in when you have been feeling certain ways  - you track how you're feeling and what you have been doing that day and a few other factors, and it helps you to recognise whether anything triggers certain feelings. I use one called reflectly. A lot of the time my anxiety feels bad for no real reason, and that makes me feel numb like you say, but this app made me realise that it's not always that way and there are things I can do to help myself. It might also be a helpful tool to show the doctor if you did decide to speak to one, whenever you feel ready :smile::heart:

    Take good care, we are all here for you :smile:
  • Butterfly23Butterfly23 Miniposter England Posts: 810 Part of The Mix Family

    Just wanted to check in and see how you are doing since posting this?  <3

    Butterfly x
  • Evelyn360Evelyn360 Posts: 81 Budding Regular
    Hey @Butterfly23

    I'm doing okay, went into a bit of an anxiety hole at the weekend so I've been staying off the boards and just trying to take each day as it comes. 

    It's just hard I guess, constantly flickering between emotions. 

    Thanks @coc0mac, I'll definitely take a look at the apps for tracking anxiety. Never expected there to be something like that  :) 
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