It starts small. You don’t notice anything to be different at all. Sure, you passed on eating your favorite dinner that your mom makes – you just didn’t have an appetite – it was an off day; ‘perhaps it was the weather’ you think to yourself. You skip going to the gym despite your almost religious commitment to leg day. You miss your weekly coffee-date with your best friend – “I’m sorry girl, I just don’t feel up to it today.” You feel off, you don’t feel okay. This off day is turning into weeks, into months. What is going on? Your work starts seeming impossible – how could this happen? You were such a go-getter, how are you struggling to suddenly do the bare minimum? You sit in your room and scroll mindlessly on your phone – looking but not seeing. You feel tired, sick, empty and isolated despite your family and friends being a mere phone call away. Never having trouble with sleep, suddenly you’re up at 5 AM every day – waking up full of pure dread at nothing more than another day.
You spend hours cleaning every inch of your home in search of clarity – you’re assured that once everything is spotless you will feel better. Yet Mr. Clean and Lysol weren’t enough to drown out the aching in your chest. You commit to creating an aesthetically pleasing Instagram grid– this occupies you for a week? For a month? It looks great – so what? You buy hundreds of dollars worth of skin care products. Surely, people with flawless skin aren’t unhappy. Yet you sit there with tiny pores and clear skin feeling more hollow than before. You take up reading again. You read and re-read the same sentence over and over again – seeing but not understanding. You think taking up a new hobby – like cooking – will help. You head to the grocery store, buy all the ingredients and that’s as far as you can go. Once you’ve done the groceries you realize that a full stomach won’t help you feel less empty.
It starts small – then hits you all at once. You will spend days emptying oceans you didn’t’ know you had in you. You will spend hours in voids so deep, they put Marianas Trench to shame. This emptiness, the holes within your chest, the rips and tears that you suddenly bear cannot be filled by anyone but you. This fight is one that you have with yourself. Ironically, you need the strongest armor for this is the toughest battle you face; however, this fight can only be won with the most tender, gentle touch. You need to fight ruthlessly for self-love. Somewhere between loving yourself enough to try new hobbies, between enough compassion to invest in skin care products you will fill an abyss inside you that could put black holes to shame. You will laugh again. You will go for hours without ruminating. Days will begin to pass with no tears. Suddenly, you’re interested in the new coffee shop they are opening down the road. You will wake up well rested one day, ready to start a new day. You will fill yourself with so much light that the fervor of supernovas will be dimmed. Recovery starts small too – then hits you all at once.