I was told It can’t hurt me. That nobody had ever died from It before. I didn’t believe them. My mind turns on me, disabling my ability to inhale the oxygen required to exist. It strikes me down when I least expect; watching television, driving home or drinking a cup of coffee.
I sit with the people around me, my family, friends, existing inside a defective bubble that has so far failed to protect me from my inner enemy. The one I refer to as It. From the outside, it hurts me without people seeing. The only proof It exists comes from the pain in my words, and the torment in my face. People don’t believe me, think I’m making It up – but It’s as real as the crimson blood flowing through my veins.
It doesn’t care when; I just know that It will. It strikes without warning. Without mercy. It scares me. I’m frightened that It will never let me go. I worry It will kill me one day when It has taken all it can from my being. I have no idea why It stalks me, but I often wonder if I have done something to anger It. To disappoint It. Upset It. Surely, I must have done something.
It was like a demon sitting on my shoulder waiting to inflict psychological and physical pain. It draws tears from my eyes and attempts to hide my will to live, because living is too hard. I’m tired and drained from my battles, but how can you fight something that you can’t see or touch. Only feel.
I watch people laughing, having fun. Working, dreaming of success. But those trivial things other people take for granted appear so far away from my grasp. I want to cry, curl up into a ball and fall asleep because maybe… just maybe, when I awake, It will be gone. Like a bad dream with no entitlement to manipulate my mind and hurt me again.
And then I awake. The first thing on my mind – has It gone? And that is my first mistake. A terrible error I have made each morning for the past six hundred and thirty days, because the minute I wake I always think about It and the fear creeps back inside and threatens me.
I cling on to the lifeline that people have survived this before me, and that one day I will be able to watch people around me with the knowledge that I could soon enjoy life without anguish. That I will be able to experience healthy debate with another human being without being struck down with fright and ache. That every bone and muscle in my body will stop attacking me when I want to laugh out loud and enjoy something I once had taken for granted.
I pray one day my life will be back in my own hands, and that It will leave me alone. That my wife can keep me going, and that one day my dreams can come true⎯and I will find pleasure and fulfilment like normal people.