Written by Mallory Gothelf
The images were scattered, the night blurry. The hour was indecipherable. It could have been 5am or 5pm. I couldn’t tell if the thrashing in my head was from the force in which I was crying, or from hitting my head after throwing myself to the floor in tears.
I remember I stayed on that dirty carpet for hours. My chest felt as though it would explode from my heart, hammering at a rate that I thought would require medical attention. And I swear if I sobbed any harder, the little food I had in my system was going to come back up. I vaguely remember something breaking, I think that was my fault. I don’t even remember why I did that or with what intention.
Was I scared?
Was I frustrated?
Was this simply an attempt to punish myself for being this damaged?
These questions remained unanswered. I managed to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I crawled towards my bed. Who was I even looking at? There was no color in my face, the corners of my mouth were turned down, and dark circles encompassed my eyes. I dared to glimpse into the depths of my eyes, but I only saw a dull pool of brown, utterly lifeless. Was this the end? Was this really how I was going to go out?
I must have fallen asleep. I woke up the next morning with little memory of the disbanded events from the previous night. They felt separate from me. But that didn’t matter. I woke up. I lived to fight another day. “I’m alive”, I kept muttering. And even now I’m still racking my brain.
How did I make it?
Why did I make it?
But truthfully the how and why really don’t matter, because the fact remains that I’m still here. My heart still beats, my lungs still take in air, and I can without a doubt see and feel the grey and blue bruise forming on my forehead. “I’m alive”, I said one more time. I kept saying it as a reminder, because I was determined to accept that beautiful and slightly mysterious fact.
What I realized, walking outside later that day, made me remember a few things. I become agitated when people walk exceedingly slow when I’m late, Boston smells like there is a never ending gas leak on certain roads, and melting snow is significantly less awe-inspiring than when its first fallen. But on the other hand, the slow walk allowed me to breathe in fresh air for the first time in days, Boston can smell delicious, especially walking past the various food trucks that line the streets, and watching people dodge slush falling from the trees can be pretty entertaining.
The point is that I’ve learned that my life will toggle between the darkness and the light, depression and elation. I can either embrace it and live fully or choose to give up on it and never know what could have been. And as difficult and complicated as that choice can be, here I stand, knowing that living another day will always be one of my best decisions.
Some days I’ll truly hate that decision to live, and other days I’ll shudder at the thought that I would have missed out on my life.
Luckily the latter always seems to edge out the former. •
Mallory Gothelf is a beautiful, strong, fighter, and might I add, very talented writer. I had the amazing opportunity to connect with Mallory through our very public journeys with depression, sharing our common goals of encouraging others through our suffering, and leaning on each other, as well as others who may be personally battling a mental illness, or are support systems for those who battle mental illnesses. Her instagram account is a blessing to my life and I’m sure to many more people who can relate to her. She is currently attending Northeastern University, in Boston, MA, and is defying all kind of odds by achieving her goals in life, in spite of her diagnosis. She is bravely walking through this very ‘mental life’, full of unpredictability and strife, yet showing the world what the strength looks like.
I am very grateful to have connected with Mallory and I am so very thankful for her telling her truth on ‘A Mental Life’ blog.