By Nicola Anne

“My biggest fear, is that eventually you will see me the way I see myself.” (Anonymous)

The most fascinating thing that I have discovered to date whilst on this journey, has been the overwhelming desire to protect the people I love. Protect them from what depression looks like… what it really looks like. It is so interesting watching yourself subconsciously omit certain details, or describe an event slightly differently, depending on who is present. It is the most wonderful of human gifts, to care so deeply for another, whilst simultaneously losing all capacity or motivation to care for yourself. That even in the midst of losing all hope for ourselves… we never give up on the ones we love.

And I have seen this in return – when someone gives up on life… the ones that love them rally around. They become the motivation. They become the protectors. They become the self-preservation instinct that has slowly been eaten away.

They become the hope.
Anyway. Still. Despite.

They cheer on with evergreen motivation; they get the armour out ready to serve and protect; they try to transfer the hope into the heart of the person who has misplaced it by sending absolutely gorgeous gifts, cards of well wishes, and giving the most precious cuddles I have ever been wrapped up in in my life.

But sometimes love does hurt. It hurts to be asked whether I have hidden a razor in my bag. It hurts to have my money taken away from me, so that I cannot buy food to binge on. It hurts to have people decide that they need to make these decisions for me. And it hurts even more knowing that they are right.

I wake up and ironically, swallow seven tablets out of a tiny plastic cup to try to make me feel ‘normal’. I see a dietician, psychiatrists, a doctor, and too many nurses to count, every day of every week. I feel like no one is really sure what to do with me… so they keep filling me up with different coloured pills; these make me sick, I get nausea and cold sweats, I get insomnia and anxiety… so they add something to stop the nausea… and another one to make me sleep… and all of a sudden my cocktail of six becomes a cocktail of eight, and I feel like a Guinea pig… a zombie… I go from not sleeping, to not being able to keep myself awake. I go from unrelenting nausea, to losing the desire to eat at all.

People often tell me that I look tired.
I know I look tired.
I am tired.

The company of this place is comforting. You meet people that are just like you. That see the world, just like you do. But then there are times when they are screaming, and crying, and it rattles you to your core because you know what that feels like.

You know what that sound feels like.

There is no escape here. There is not one moment alone. Every door has a window and every window has a curtain. I cannot shower without someone opening that curtain to make sure I am doing what I said I would do. I cannot have my dinner, without someone inspecting my tray to document how much of it I managed to eat. I cannot get back to my room with food, without it being confiscated from me. I have spent hours siting on the bathroom floor because it is the closest I can get to being with just me.

Just me.

And I try. I try to rewrite this story. My story. But the tears have smudged the words, and I can’t remember how it was all supposed to end… and the hope is lost once again.

And once again… I face a choice.

I have to choose recovery.
Over and over and over again.
Anyway. Still. Despite.

Reproduced with permission, originally published here

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