To Whom It May Concern

To Whom it May Concern:

I have written many a post about depression and anxiety; I have explained it, described it, and defended it extensively in cyber space and real life. It seems, however, that despite all of this people still are unable to recognize it when they see it. This isn’t about me. This is about all of those around me that are subjected to labels by people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

The girl who stays up all night and sleeps all day isn’t just lazy. The guy who’s always on a screen of some kind, be it a computer, video games, or any other gadget that prevents social interaction, isn’t just addicted to technology. The people who keep to themselves for the most part do not think they’re better than others. Often, it is the exact opposite, and nothing is more terrifying than seeking help.

The girl who’s up all night is anxious. She can’t sleep, because all of the things that she thinks are wrong with her are running around in circles in her head. She is analyzing everything that she has ever done and is torturing herself over all of it, because she is simply incapable of moving on. Her mole hills are mountains she can’t climb, and when the sun comes up and she can see more than darkness, her mind finally lets her sleep.

The boy who is always staring at a screen is terrified of socializing. Crowds make him nervous, people make him anxious, and the real world is far more intimidating than the virtual reality he has created.

The girl who keeps to herself has low self-esteem. She compares herself to others and seems to always fall short. She looks down on herself and wonders why she couldn’t be as talented, smart, or beautiful as the people around her. It is easier for her to be alone, than to find herself in a position where her thoughts turn into self-deprecating beliefs that stick with her for life.

Just getting closer to God isn’t going to fix it. Being told that nothing is wrong with their lives, isn’t going to fix it. Telling someone that things are going to be okay isn’t going to fix it. Inserting our opinions and getting angry when the other person doesn’t get better isn’t going to fix it.

Telling people that it’s all in their head isn’t going fix it, because it is all in their head.

That’s kind of the point.

Sincerely,
The Guy Who Can’t Stand Your Type

Bet Your Bottom Dollar You’ll Lose the Blues in Chicago

I had the audacity to take a weekend trip to Chicago with some friends to see my brother. I anticipated a long drive, plenty of rest stops, and shit ton of money spent on gas.

What I did not anticipate was the fact that I would have a terrible fucking time, because I am legitimately stupid. I went to Chicago with two married couples, only to meet up with my brother, who is engaged.

Three couples, and me.

I should have known that things were going to take a very ugly turn when we were all getting ready. All the women in the apartment were busy putting on a shit ton of make-up, primping and bedazzling like they were on an America’s Next Top Model challenge.

It was like watching an ant farm. Three girls scurrying about, taking out curlers and liners and other objects I didn’t recognize. I truly didn’t understand why they were doing this. It didn’t change very much. They didn’t look any different, and all of them were already beautiful.

And as we took our first class-trip into the heart of Chitown for eighth class seats at Lolapalooza, my aro-ace anxiety hit me like a rusted freight train off its rails. They were all walking in pairs; Each guy had his arm around his girl, and I was just walking in the back all by myself. I was now officially intruding on couple’s night, and it fucking sucked. It was a mild representation of what my life is actually like: people pairing up around me, and me taking my phone for a walk.

What’s even worse, it was also a reminder that one day I might have to be like them, because I have to get married. I’m going to be stuck doing things like that, because he won’t have a clue what he fucking married.

It wasn’t resentment toward them. I was getting extremely anxious, and I couldn’t hide that with anything other than anger. I wasn’t mad that they had left me on my own. I love being on my own. I just couldn’t mask the anxiety any other way, and they bought it hook, line, and sinker. We turned it into a joke and went on about our business.

But then we got home, and every girl was in her guy’s arms, and I was sitting on my own, again. It’s not like I can be upset with them over it; They’re married and happy. There’s no reason they should disguise their love because I am disgustingly abnormal. The only thing keeping me grounded was my friend back on the East Coast, who was texting me the entire time. Even after everyone had slept, she was miraculously not tired, and we stayed up until 4 a.m. talking and messing around.

But she had to go to bed, eventually. She had work the next day. I was alone in the dark, now. I couldn’t ignore the anxiety anymore, and since there were people all over the apartment sleeping, I had to sit in the bathroom with the light off, music in my ears and trying not to cry.

How disgustingly pathetic is that?

I had zero reason to react that way. I had a panic attack because I was walking by myself among people who clearly just wanted to be with each other. So what? Why am I so uncomfortable being so ridiculously different, even after all these years? I am twentyfuckingfive.

People shouldn’t have to edit their lives just because I’m a mess. They can’t act differently around me simply because I might fall apart.

But I don’t think I can take this, anymore.

Never, ever again. Single friends only.

Time to get the hell out of Chicago.

Fuck off, Sinatra.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Looked into the DSM to check the exact criteria for anxiety, today. The handy dandy ol’ manual has shown me that I have almost every symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder except muscle tension.

Lol. Shocker.

…but I still won’t take pills. No thank you. I’m good. I’ll cope with a shit ton of Netflix.

But no chill.

Ace Ventura: Beard Detective

Is it terrible to make someone your beard without telling them? Is there any situation in which it isn’t totally unethical to basically use someone to protect yourself?

I’m dating someone I don’t want to date to keep my parents off my back about getting married and protect myself from being exposed as a flaming asexual. The Ace gene can’t be spilled to an Arab family.

That’s therapy. Immediately.

Well, full disclosure, I’m technically engaged to him, and he has no clue that I have no interest in marrying him or that he’s just a beard. He thinks he’s in a hopeless love story, and I want him the way he wants me.

I know how awful it sounds, but aren’t there exceptions? I mean this guy isn’t exactly great. He’s basically thousand dollars in debt and just keeps taking out more loans to pay back those loans and then doesn’t pay those back either. He’s taken money from me and my father and hasn’t returned it. He has a job, but doesn’t go. He’s stubborn, a loose cannon, and immature. And also, my friends hate him.

I would feel horrible making anyone else a beard.

Him, not so much.

Is that so wrong?

The Asexual Anxiety

These past couple of days, my asexuality has been following me around like a dark cloud. I thought I was over this feeling, but I guess I’m not.

Two of my closest friends are telling me all about how in love they are and how badly they want to get married. They seem so excited, so over-the-moon, about these guys. They talk to them day and night, and they get this special feeling of some kind when they see them. They rarely shut up about them. They’re willing to compromise their dreams, their vocational futures, to be with these men. I just can’t comprehend that.

And the more I hear about it, the worse I feel.

I know being asexual isn’t something that should be depressing, but it is for me. I have to barrel through life knowing that I’m missing something, and I’m already missing so much. All the things I can’t do because of my multiple illnesses. All the things I can’t try because of my medications. All the places I can’t go because there’s a risk that I might faint.

This feels like it’s another illness all on its own.

The more they talk about it, the more I am reminded that I’m going to do it because I have to. I want so badly to want it, but I don’t. I don’t want to ever have sex with anyone, but I’m verbally giving consent when in my head I’m practically screaming.

But that’s my cross to bear.

Graduation Bell Blues

My graduation is exactly two months away. I am exactly eight weeks from receiving a Masters Degree in Applied Psychology from New York University at Yankees Stadium. I have ordered commencement ceremony tickets, a cap and gown, and even a grad sweatshirt. I had been over the moon since the moment I applied for graduation.

But lately, things have been out of focus. I can’t see a happy picture perfect moment on May 16th. I don’t feel a sense of excitement at starting my life. I’m starting to question whether I should be proud of any of this.

I jumped into grad school a year after graduating from undergrad. I gave up my hopes for a writing career after just one year, and then I dropped the ball and went to NYU. I gave up. It wasn’t working, and I had this amazing opportunity at an amazing school that I never thought I could possibly get into. I should be happier. I should be excited.

But I’m not.

With a job around the corner and the next couple years already set for me, I’m starting to question whether I really wanted this, or if I just ran away to a sure thing. Is this going to make me happy, or am I playing it safe because I’m too much of a bitch to take a risk?

What would have happened if I had really stuck it out? If I had just taken a real chance and worked for it?

The fact of the matter is, I have never had real confidence in my writing abilities. I have always felt that the people around me praised my writing because they cared about me. They built me up because it was my passion, and they wanted to support me. I wasn’t really talented. I was mediocre at best. I wasn’t good enough to be a writer.

Maybe I would have never made it, and I would have been nothing, in the end. Maybe I would have been wasting my time trying. Maybe I would have become a complete failure for the rest of my life.

But now, I’ll never know. Now, I’m going to be something I never really wanted to be. Now, I take a job I don’t like, get married to someone I can’t love, have children I can’t be honest with, and grow old knowing that I have spent my entire life working on nothing.

Now, I’m the loser who chose to settle, and there’s no coming back from that.

Of Sleepless Nights and Anxious Messes

It’s four in the morning. I have been in bed for four hours, now. I can’t sleep. My anxiety is approaching an all-time high, and it feels like there’s a hole inside me that’s sucking up all the air I am trying to breathe before it gets to my lungs.

I’m exhausted, but not sleepy. I want to rest and forget everything, but my brain is buzzing. The only things contaminating my mind are the memories that remind me of all the reasons my life is so hard. And unfair. And just painful.

And I realize how juvenile it sounds. It’s as if I am a fifteen-year-old drama queen. I have so much to be thankful for–I know that. I know that I have so much to be thankful for, but that doesn’t make all the terrible things more bearable, and if you don’t believe me, I will list them for you. I will let you form your own opinion, as you read on.

I have Type 1 diabetes. I am epileptic. I wear flats in the dead winter, because shoes induce seizures. My memory is slowly wasting away because of my medications. I am fat. I am not pretty. I am not particularly smart. I am aromantic and asexual in a world that does not accept asexuality as a reality. I’m being dragged in the direction of marriage, and I am too deep inside the closet to protest it at all. I am alone in this, because not one person in my life has any of these problems. Not one. It’s just me, myself, and anxiety, and I’m struggling more than I can possibly explain.

I can’t breathe. I’m losing my mind. Even the things I’ve been told my entire life that I am good at have just led me to fall flat on my face. I’m a student at NYU. I’ve got that going for me. Hurrah for plan C, since A and B failed so tremendously. I don’t really want to be a therapist. I just failed at being a journalist, tanked my chances at becoming a writer, and needed something to do with my life.

And the worst part of all of this is, I am alone in a way that I can’t possibly explain. I am an anxious, depressed mess who covers it poorly with humor and sarcasm.

And for once, I’m not just being melodramatic. I’m quite literally seizing my days away.

And to fix this, I wrote a book loosely based on these experiences in a fictional story-line. Of course, my self-esteem is far too low for me to try to publish it.

I didn’t want to keep whining on here, but I can’t seem to stop.

Hend Salah–fucking up everything since 1991.

Decoding Our Depression

Depression is like being in an abusive relationship where the perpetrator, the controller you can’t quit, lives in your head. He can’t seem to leave you alone; He throws punches and takes shots coldly as you barrel along a dirt road that exists only in your mind’s psyche, holding onto the bumper that is the outside world. Your skin tears and bruises along the way, creating scars that would never fade.

You hear him yelling at you, telling you that you aren’t good enough, you aren’t worth the space you take, you aren’t useful. The air you breathe is wasted on you. You have no real place in the world. Everything you do is awful. Believing you can be good at something is deluded narcissism.

Your art is a mess of mediocrity.

You are a shell of a person. It isn’t simply sadness. There aren’t constant seas of tears falling from vacant eyes. You are empty inside. The hole in the pit of your stomach is hollow. You lay in bed, not seeking sleep, but not wanting to move because you know that this day will be no better than those that came before.

And when you aren’t laying there, staring pathetically at the ceiling, you’re filling your time with anything that will distract you. You don’t seek out people; just mindless activities that block out the emptiness. You spend hours watching television, playing games, or reading fantastic tales and living inside them. It was, after all, Mark Twain who said that books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.

And sometimes you want to pretend to be someone else, too. Just for a little while. Just for a little while, this isn’t your reality. That life is behind closed doors and you aren’t controlled by it, anymore.

But it never lasts.

You have to put the book down, turn off the television, put the phone away, eventually. You’re suddenly alone with him, again. He reminds you of all the terrible things you did. He brings back events and thoughts that should have been too far in the past for you to remember. He berates you for them. He tells you that you’re stupid, and that other people can see how idiotic and terrible you are. He controls your breathing. He controls your thought process. He controls your interpretation of the person in your mirror.

And you know, no matter how hopeful you become or comforted you superficially feel, he will never let you go.

Depression is when everything in the world is exactly as it should be, but everything hurts, anyway. It is a painful reality that forces you to hold a facade of peace, because people will change their perception of you if break the silence.

And nobody wants that.

The Egregious Effect of Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition that is too often misunderstood. A person writhing on the floor is not what a seizure looks like. It disregards the pain; the feeling akin to pins and needles after numbness, intensified so that it feels more like jagged knives digging into soft skin forcefully and repeatedly for long periods of time. But you see, the body doesn’t bleed, so it must not hurt.

But it does.

It is among the most obscure things in the world. You cannot see it. You can only feel it. You never stop feeling it. It is in your daymares and your nightmares. It is in the back of your mind during every single conversation, every joke, every laugh, every comment, every moment of every single day. It is omnipresent, looming, watching, waiting for the right—or wrong—moment to strike, because it knows that you have no way of fighting back.

It’s like being on an airplane. You are on a plane and you are the only one in the aircraft. It is wonderful, having no noise, no nuisances around you. You begin to fall asleep.

Then suddenly, it isn’t so wonderful. Just as your body dissolves into an effortless comfort, there comes a loud explosion and you are suddenly falling at break-neck speed toward whatever it is that is millions of meters below you. Your ears are popping like mad, and your screams are dying in the back of your throat, and you are only managing to take very short gasps of breath to keep yourself from suffocating.

And then, seemingly out of thin air, you are handed a parachute. You don’t know who it is that gave it you. You did not see them. They do not matter. All that matters is that you have this parachute, and you have the opportunity—however slim—to live. The plane slows down ever so slightly and you trip over your own feet trying to get to an open door; You put the parachute on, and you jump.

You jump, and you pull the ripcord and you look up, and your heart sinks, because there is a gaping hole in the very thing that was to save you.

You are still barreling down to what you now see are unforgiving tides of raging black ink lit up by a stifled full moon. The cold air harshly assaults your skin and your lungs have already begun to fail you, and you begin to recognize that you have reached the final moments of your life.

But just as you are about to hit the surface, you wake up. Everything fades away. There is no parachute, no water, no crashing airplane.

But you are still falling.