Death and All His Friends

By Devin Alessi

Disorders are not beautiful. There is no silver lining, nothing attractive or sexy about them. They are toxic, their skin is thick and wherever they touch you, they leave a scar.
Having Anxiety makes you second guess your every move, as if there is a shadow with a scalding voice inside your head that whispers to your soul: “You’re not good enough.” It takes your insecurities by the hand and whisks them through your thoughts, step after step, dancing long into the night and keeping you from falling asleep. Anxiety flirts with all the ways that things could go wrong, disguises your loved ones as strangers and makes you put up layers and layers of walls until you’ve backed yourself into a corner with zero breathing room. When your mother says she’ll be home at 11:00 pm but doesn’t return until 2:00 am, she will find you curled up with Anxiety stroking your head and whispering in your ear all the scenarios of what could have kept her from coming home. When your boyfriend doesn’t return a call, Anxiety picks up the phone and answers for him. “He’s forgotten you,” It cackles, “He finally realized you’re not worth the time of day. I told you it would happen, I told you it would fade. I told you, I told you, I told you….” It goes on like that for ages, like a never ending nightmare in your head, slithering down the hallways of your thoughts and flipping off the lights one by one. And with each bulb that burns out, so does your grip on the hope you once had for yourself. One bulb, two bulbs, three bulbs gone until all that fills your head is a darkened labyrinth of fear and mistrust. Anxiety makes you think that your soul is a piece of one way glass, as if the whole world can look in on you and you have no idea what they see. You fear that they see the person you think you are; hideous, afraid, insecure, worthless. Anxiety is your only friend, the only one behind the glass that you can see. And It just smiles at you, unmoving, which twists your head even farther on your shoulders and threatens to make you collapse.
Depression is that dark eyed bitch who always told you to your face, loud and clear, that you aren’t good enough. It wraps its fingers across your face and only lets you see the world wreathed in shadows. Life looks unappetizing with Depression grasping your hand, refusing to let you go. It whispers to you in the darkness of the night; “How will anyone else ever love you if you can’t even love yourself?” It laughs, a low, pitying laugh that makes your skin crawl and causes your insides to feel dirty. It corrupts your mind, steals your confidence and demolishes your will to live. The light in your loved one’s eyes seem to burn out when they look at you, and the smoke trails that linger are sour and burn your throat. The sky seems like an endless gray, similar to the shade your future turns when Depression gets its hands on it. You stop thinking past tomorrow, and instead decide which day should be your last. Nothing seems worth breathing for any longer, not even yourself. Especially yourself. Depression takes a seed of doubt and plants it in your heart and then, with dainty fingers and a tone deaf hum, It waters it and cares for it until it is a full grown weed ready to devour your very soul. Piece by piece, it eat away at you until you’re only a skeleton of the person you used to be.
Coupled with Anxiety, the two are unstoppable. They have an immense love for one another, and once they collide within your body it’s hard to rip them apart. They hang onto each other like two lovesick killers and with them come their many offspring; Fear, Sorrow, Loneliness, Guilt, Hatred, to name a few. And if you let them keep residence in the deepest parts of you, their final, favorite child comes to visit, and once It does, It stays forever. “It” goes by the name of Death. And if I’m correct about any of this, you’ll welcome It with open arms. That’s what the Disorders train you to do; by making the deep unknown of Life look relentless, grey, and full of empty promises, you assume that Death will give you exactly what Depression and Anxiety have told you that you deserve; Nothing. A cold, endless nothing. And the only thing you’ll leave the people that you left behind will be a body and many sleepless nights wondering why you threw yourself away when they could have helped you. It’s sickening, but it’s the truth. Life doesn’t always beat Death, because Death cheats by getting help from Its friends. And by doing so, It makes you forget that you have friends, too. But your true friends never go away, they were always there behind the darkness of the labyrinth or beneath the greying sky. Reach out, break the glass that separates you from them, from your friends, from Life. They are waiting to be let in, just like Death. And if the time comes, I hope you’ll welcome the right ones in. I hope you don’t let your demons win.

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