Tired; it was the only word to describe how she felt. She was tired of everything and everyone around her. She knew others had things harder than she did, she knew others had their own issues, but it didn’t stop her feeling melancholic. It didn’t stop her struggling to get out of bed each morning to pretend everything was all right.
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt truly happy. She couldn’t remember the last time her smile had been real. All she had was her mask, the smile that didn’t reach her eyes, and the laughter that sounded just a bit hollow. The mask fooled most people, no one caring to look beyond to see the pain inside. Everyone had their issues to deal with. They didn’t have the time or energy to get involved in anyone else’s.
She did though. She opened her heart endlessly to those around her, sharing in their problems and lending a shoulder when required. She cared and that was half of the problem. With caring came worrying about her friends to the point it often interrupted her sleep patterns. Others’ problems became so real to her they invaded her daily life.
It was hard to admit that she was so dependent on being needed. She knew it was probably some kind of mental health issue and it probably had some fancy name she didn’t know. She got her validation from those she cared about and when they didn’t need her she was stuck in a never-ending cycle of spiralling down into an abyss so dark finding the light was an impossibility.
It was a vicious cycle, an endless rollercoaster of ups and down. Each ‘happy’ cycle felt like the best one she’d ever had. Each ‘dark’ cycle felt like the end of the world. And all the while she painted on her mask and showed the world that she was a normal, functioning human being.
Sometimes she took the risk, reaching out to others, and showing them that she needed them. The problem with that was once she started talking she couldn’t stop and quickly the self-loathing would creep in. She hated being that person and would begin to doubt why those who cared about her found anything of worth in her. A thousand words of praise could be undone in one off the cuff comment that probably held no malice. That one moment would dominate everything though and cancel out every good moment.
Standing before the mirror, she tried to view herself objectively. She saw a non-descript woman, neither pretty nor ugly. She saw someone who was starting to look her age and needed to lose a few pounds. There was no lustre in the woman’s eyes; defeat was staring back at her.
How had she let things come to this? Where had she taken the wrong turn in her life? What could she do to fix it? If she hadn’t managed to fix it by now was it even possible? Did she even have the energy left to try?
Tonight the abyss reigned supreme. There was no light at the end of the tunnel; there was no one there to guide her out of her misery. She was alone, confronting the demons in her mind and trying to find the positives in her life. She knew she had some. Everyone had some positives but what were hers? She couldn’t think of one even though the people who loved her told her how special she was. Did they genuinely mean it? Could they see something worth loving in her when she couldn’t?
It was too much to think about, the melancholy rushing over her and almost bringing her to her knees. The tears began as they always did. Silent tears at first and then the long, wracking sobs kicked in. When would it stop? When would she feel happy again? When would the demons be slain so she could live one normal day without her mask?
As always, there was no answer to her questions. Crying she crawled into bed pulling the covers over her head to muffle the sounds. Not that there was anyone there to hear them. She was alone and had been for so very long. The night would pass as each one did and tomorrow would bring another day. Maybe that day would feel less bleak; maybe it would just be the same as this one. No matter what it brought, she would get back up and keep going, her mask firmly in place as her soul bled.
Maybe one day someone would see beneath the mask. Maybe…