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  • Writer's picturePaige Harris

Headaches and Heartbreaks

You know that feeling you get when you realize there is a clock ticking in a room? All the other sounds in your head have been muted, and you finally hear the seconds going by. Everything just falls silent for a few seconds until all your thoughts come rushing back.


The first time I sat in an emergency room, I remember counting those seconds going by, like each one was my last, anxiously waiting to tell a stranger that I wanted to end my life. I felt ridiculous, almost as ridiculous as the fluorescent lights shining through a Plexiglas image of the sky, almost as if somehow everyone would be fooled to think that that was the real sky. But I was silly enough not to know if what I was feeling in my head was real or not. All I could think was how I didn't belong there. I watched people with visible injuries enter the waiting room. The things that are broken in me have no visibility, no blood, cuts, or bruises. The only thing I can say is, "I feel, like killing myself." After waiting 2 and a half hours, I was told: “it sounds like you're depressed." I am given a pamphlet and sent on my way, feeling even more hopeless than I did before I went there.

It seems as though no one can help you get better, except yourself. As much as you want someone to rub your back and tell you everything is okay and that the world is a better place with you in it, it doesn't help. It doesn't help the voices in your head believe it. The voices in your head will just give you more reasons why you aren't enough, more reasons why you don't matter. You have to go and ask for help, and work through your problems, be that in the past or future. You have to search out for what it is you think your mental health needs or doesn't need, do your research and stumble your way through it all.

A year later, I have seen one psychologist and two therapists, and have changed my doctors twice. I have been diagnosed with ADHD and severe depression. I’m now on two antidepressants and have changed my dosage about 3 or 4 times. I have headaches like a motherfucker and drowsiness about half the time. Some days are easy; some days, you feel like a normal person, going to work and going home like every other ordinary human being. But some days are hard, really fucking hard.

Some days, I just want to curl up in this hole I've dug myself. Before I know it, I've dug the hole even deeper than it was before. It’s not easy on days like this, days that you know you shouldn't be sitting in your room watching reruns of the Dr. Phil show, eating boxes of double-stuffed Oreos and crying yourself to sleep, but you do it all anyway. Waking up to a face full of acne and a stomach ache, you scrape your sweaty body out of your sunken-in bed and get ready for another day of trying to hold in tears at work. Those days, it feels like you'll never be a functional adult, selfishly stuck in a prison cell of your own making, constructed with the thoughts of your childhood, waiting for the next pity party to pick you up off the bathroom floor. But since you know that will never happen, you have to pick yourself up and work through the ridiculous ups and downs of this elevator you call your feelings, trying your hardest to make all the moments you're not feeling this way worthwhile.

Right now, I feel like a relatively normal human being. I have some easy days and some bad days. I try to eat.

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