The Monster in My Head

The Monster in My Head

A Story by Haley Lynn Thomas

Why is there such a stigma surrounding mental illness? Why are people so uncomfortable discussing it? Don’t they realize how that makes people who suffer from a mental illness feel?

I know you mean well when you say things like “just relax”, or “don’t worry so much”, or even “it’s all going to be alright”. I know you care when you ask “what’s wrong?”

I have an anxiety disorder. I have depression. I don’t always know why I’m scared or overwhelmed or sad. Sometimes I just am.

Mental illness can be crippling. It can weigh you down. It’s a war that wages inside of your head every day. Sometimes I wish I could make people understand how I feel, but I’d never wish this on anyone.

The thing is, I am not anxiety. I am not depression. Those things don’t define me. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a niece. I am a cousin. I am a student. I am a writer. Someday I’ll be other things. I don’t know what’s in store for my future, and that’s frightening in itself. But you know what’s even scarier? Not believing that you can have a future. Not believing that you deserve one.

If you suffer from any kind of mental illness and you read this, I have something that I want to say to you. Something you may not believe right now, because a couple of months ago I certainly didn’t. But there is hope, and you are so strong. You’re strong because you’re here. To most people getting through the day isn’t a struggle, but for some even getting out of bed is a daunting task. If you got out of bed today, and you faced the world, and you overcame, then be proud. Be proud of every little thing you do, because each one is a triumph, no matter how small.

If you give up, then you’re not just hurting the people that you love. You’re depriving yourself of all the things that you could be.

It can get better. I know, because I’ve been in that place where feeling even okay seemed impossible. Getting help doesn’t make you weak. Those who reach out? They’re so incredibly brave. Facing down the monsters in your head isn’t easy. But it is so worth it.

So, don’t give up. Because you are strong. Because you have a future. Because somebody loves you.

Because you deserve to be here.

The following is something that I wrote on February 2nd of this year, not long before I began treatment for my anxiety and depression. This was, at the time, the best way I knew how to describe how I was feeling. I thank God every day I am no longer in this place, but it’s important for me to reflect back on this, because it shows how far I’ve come even in a short amount of time. Every day might not be a victory. Every day I still struggle. But every day I find a reason to want to be here.

Little kids are afraid of the monsters that live under their bed, and the ones that lurk in their closets. That’s why they have nightlights. Because light is the monster’s ultimate weakness. The one thing it cannot stand.

            As kids grow older, they stop believing in monsters. Because monsters aren’t real. Or, at least, they aren’t supposed to be. Me? I never stopped believing in monsters. Because I still have one. And he’s very, very real. I’ve never seen him, though. He lives inside of my head.

My monster isn’t afraid of the light, though love can help keep him quiet for periods of time. At least, it could. Up until recently. But even when the monster is quiet, he is still there. He never really leaves, you know, just sits in the shadowy corners, and then emerges at the worst of times. Right when you least expect him.

            When he’s loud he drowns out everything else. Every. Single. Good. Thing. Until he’s the only thing. He likes attention, my monster, and he’s been growing more impatient as of late. He’s begun throwing tantrums. He rages day and night. Ripping and slashing at my hope until it lays in shreds on the ground. Pieces so small you can’t even hardly see them anymore.

            My monster and I, we’ve known each other a long time. I can’t quite remember a time when he wasn’t hanging around. We’ve never been on friendly terms, though. In fact, I hate him. I hate him more than anything. I hate him because he is everything.

            He rules my life. He tells me where I can go, and when. He tells me who I can speak to. What I can do. How I react. He controls everything. That’s the way he prefers it. Sometimes I disobey him. Lately, though, that happens less and less. I know he’s happy about that. He’s happy because he thinks he’s won.

            But he hasn’t. I’m still fighting You see, I have something that he doesn’t. Love.

The monster isn’t louder than all of the love that I am surrounded by. It will never be.

            My monster isn’t afraid of the light.

            He isn’t afraid of anything.

            I am going to make him afraid of me.

© 2017 Haley Lynn Thomas

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Added on March 24, 2017
Last Updated on March 24, 2017


Haley Lynn Thomas
Haley Lynn Thomas

Columbus, OH

I write poetry, short stories, and novellas. Most of my poetry is inspired by real people and events in my life. more..