I feel alone tonight.

Originally Published on Medium - April 5, 2018

TL;DR: If you have 10 minutes to spare, please read about my contribution to #onebravenight. Sorry if it rambles.

Hey 😊
 Thank you for reading this. 
 I’ll start with: I struggle with my mental health

#onebravenight is about people being brave enough to honestly and openly discuss their struggles with mental health. Although it’s Thursday, it is my hope to share today, to help you share tomorrow.

I am terrified to right this. I don’t know what will come out, or how it will come across. For the first time in a long time, I am doing something from my heart, rather than my head. I have struggled with anxiety my whole life, and to be writing this and posting it without hours of analysis first, terrifies me.

I recently posted a video for a company I started about this topic. I created that video because this is an issue I care deeply about, and what to shine as bright a light on it as I can. But the way in which I was sharing it, felt so fake. And I don’t want to sell out a cause I care so deeply about.

Because in the video, it was academic. Talking about this openly and honestly with my closest friends, or even to myself, is one of the scariest things I can think of. I have a near incapacity to be vulnerable. My anxiety won’t let me be vulnerable, and is fighting back against me right now. It mostly won out in the video.

But I am going to try to be honest and vulnerable with you now. I struggle with depression sometimes, I struggle with loneliness a lot. When the two line up, it can feel like no one cares about me in the world, and it makes certain days tough.

I don’t even know what to type next, because that is where I am hovering at now. And the reason I have such a hard time writing this: I don’t know which of you would care about this at all. That I am struggling. I don’t know which of you would care reading it here, or would care if I called you and told you. I honestly sometimes feel like no one cares at all that I am struggling.

I don’t say that to get people to message me and remind me they care. I intellectually know that, but my anxiety and depression makes it mean that even when I know it, it doesn’t feel that way to me.

And that is the hardest part. Living with that feeling. Accepting that I do struggle with this, and sometimes I do take a gloomier view. Accepting that, and working with it, is the path to feeling better much more than fighting it.

And so today, when I feel so alone, when I feel completely alone. I am sharing. Because I know I am not alone. I know there are people who care about me. I know that many of you, even ones I haven’t spoken to in a while, even some that I have never met before. Care about me.

And for anyone who is struggling like me. To people who think and feel they are alone in this world. I tell you I am here for you. I care about you. You are not alone.

And now: my story.

I see therapy regularly now. And I still struggle with anxiety and depression, but they happen less than less. I battle myself consistently about whether or not I am a good person. That is because for a long time, I was not.

I was a bad person. I know this, because I felt it. Imagine spending most of your life, feeling like you are a bad person. I was so anxious about who I actually was, I am so terrified of being vulnerable and being hurt, that I built a character to play. You see, if people didn’t like him, that was okay. Because HE wasn’t ME. And so I got through life, dismissing what everyone thought of me, because that was really what they thought of HIM. And believe me, it wasn’t great what they thought of him.

And I knew that. I knew that people didn’t like him, could recognize that he was a bad person. I was so scared of being myself that it didn’t matter. Better they hate HIM than reject ME. But you can only act a certain way for so long before the claim that it isn’t who you are begins to wear out.

And so I lived, for years, knowing that I was acting in an improper way, knowing that I wasn’t happy with my own being. But my anxiety kept it going.

But I am working on it. I am working to battle my anxiety, battle my self-defence mechanisms, and be comfortable with myself. Because I truly believe that is the only thing I can change.

But now, I am 25, and had built an entire life around who I thought I was, what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know myself back then, so I feel like even the friends I’ve kept don’t either. And now I am trying to be this new, better person. And I feel completely alone. And writing this feels sad to me. Because why don’t I have someone that care’s enough about me to share it with them directly. That I think would actually be interested in hearing my story. Even though some of you can tell me that isn’t true. Even if I know that sometimes, it doesn’t feel like that right now. So I am double dipping. Trying to actually be vulnerable, and tell my friends that I feel alone and I need them, and using this as a way to tell other people that they can do the same.

Be vulnerable. Tomorrow, during One Brave Night, share how you feel with your loved ones. Share how you feel with people. You are not alone. We do care about you. I feel very alone tonight. If you are around tonight or tomorrow, lets be alone together. Because it is okay, It is okay to feel lonely, it is okay to be depressed. And accepting that is the first step to improving.

So this is my post. I am lonely, and vulnerable, just like you. But please, share your story. Whatever it is, in whatever format. Fight through that vulnerability however you can and share. Because the only way we win this fight is together.