1:25 AM

I lie with my back pressed against the soft cotton sheets, noting that my back is willing itself to spasm itself into oblivion. I’m staring up at the ceiling, watching the occasional glimpses of light trickle through the curtains hanging at the windows. I pick up the starving yowls of a dog in the near distance, pausing only to catch his breath in the cold wind that is whipping ferociously outside. The trees outside of my window are trembling.

So am I.

Well, to put it more accurately, my body is weak and having chills, partly from the dip in the temperatures of this late summer night, but mostly due to lack of sleep, exhaustion, and the aching of my head from the three-thousand thoughts speed-racing through my mind at any given moment.

I’m just so tired.

6:36 AM

“Did I turn the stove off?”

“Did I respond to N.J.’s email about her submission in a timely manner?”

“What if D.T. decides to not follow through with our collaboration idea? How, then, will we be able to gain a larger audience?”

“If we aren’t able to reach a wider network of people, how will we make any money on our product, and if we make no money on our product, how will we be able to keep the website running? The subscription fee will be due before you know it, what if we aren’t able to renew it, what if…”

“Did I remember to respond to that message on Instagram? What if they think we’re ignoring them?”

“Do we have enough groceries for the week? Suppose we run out, what then?”

I open my eyes with a start, still groggy from only being able to sleep for a couple of hours, but already knowing that the sinking feeling in my chest is already present and reared up to follow me for the rest of the day.

It’s almost excruciating, that feeling. I never really know how to describe it to my partner, but the closest I’ve come is likening it to a large hand reaching inside my chest cavity to grip all relevant organs in one swift go, squeezing quickly, slowly releasing, then just when you think you’re about to get some relief from the heaviness, he suddenly re-energizes his grip, knocking your breath out of you over and over again.

The hamster wheel of thoughts continue, not giving me me any time to appreciate that, despite all that could have gone wrong, I did wake up anyway.

10:12 AM

My neighbor gave me a less-than-pleasant look across the fence this morning, and quite honestly, I’ve been ruminating for two hours about what it could possibly mean.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“Did I accidentally speak too softly so that she didn’t hear me respond to her morning greeting as politely as is possible. Why do I have to speak so softly?”

“I wonder if she talks about me with the other neighbors, lamenting about the awkward woman that lives just across the way. What do they say? How will I know?”

There’s a letter in the mail from some official government financial authority. I have no idea what this could mean, or what it could be about, but I instantly feel the weird, heavy, gripping, fluttery feeling in my chest sink even further into my body.

My racing thoughts are now accompanied by visions of being pulled away by masked officers shouting to the world (and my neighbor) that my desolate bank account has finally been bad enough to throw me in jail.

2:35 PM

I feel like I’m losing my breath.

I can hardly see clearly through the fog that appears to be clouding my vision.

“You spent all that money on so many degrees, and look at that, you’re still no better off than when you first started.”

“Was I foolish to believe that I could actually make this entrepreneurship thing work?”

“Why does it always feel like nothing I do is making a dent?”

“Why would anyone want to patronize a business surrounding mental health when the owner is obviously having her own issues?”

“How can I help anyone else, when sometimes it feels like I can’t even help myself?”

“How will I be able to get anything done with no money flowing in?”

“I make no sense.”

I love the business that I have been building from scratch. There have been so many obstacles that we’ve found our way through, even if that has meant crawling through the fog that it seems that only I can see.

Despite that, I’ve found myself, once again, staring at the blinking cursor on the screen in front of me. My daily focus-lists have been helping me to power through my days, keeping me on track with all the tasks, projects, and ideas that need action.

The logical part of my mind knows that I’ve been doing good work. It knows that my propensity for organization, structure, and planning has resulted in huge benefits for myself and my fledgling business. I have been able to utilize my past experience as a recruiter to build a talented pool of writers for the website. I have used my genuine interest in helping others find ways to live a better life to thoughtfully create a product.

And yet…

Right now the blinking cursor in front of me looks more like a haze. I have overwhelming feelings of I-Cant-Do-Anything-Right and I-Will-Never-Find-Success-Or-Make-An-Impact-No-Matter-How-Hard-I-Try dancing in my chest, caressing a hollowed-out sensation that is becoming more pronounced by the minute.

6:20 PM

I just spent the last couple of hours curled under two thick blankets on my bed, staring into an abyss that swallows another inch of me the more that I look into it. My mind is racing, but it is also blank. I can’t explain that phenomenon. It just is what it is.

Have I cried? A bit. But the lump in my throat and the heaviness in my heart makes crying feel like attempting to run a marathon immediately after sitting on your couch, unmoving, for two years.

I am feeling so much, and I have no idea how to explain it to myself, much less to anyone else.

I feel like a bum.

10:45 PM

My evening felt like more of the same. A seemingly never-ending spiral into the dark abyss of feeling worthless, inferior, unintelligent, and marked for struggle.

Someone once said to me that people who experience anxiety, or even depression, are doing nothing more than feeling sorry for themselves, and all they need to do is to “get over it.”

It has never, and will never, be that simple.

There is no get-over.

However, while I lie here once again, feeling the familiar pang of discomfort in my back, as I stare into the ceiling watching streaks of light enveloping shadows from the tree outside of my window, I think about the “Why” behind why I started my business. The “Where” we are going is firmly rooted in a desire to make an impact, but the “How” to get there is often rife with struggles that sometimes feel insurmountable.

I’m not sure if tonight will be as insomnia-filled as it is prone to be.

Do I feel better? I’m not sure I feel anything honestly. I may be exhausted from the crying, the brain-burning racing thoughts, and the energy needed to feel through it all.

Either way, all I can think about is the next best step: making it to tomorrow morning to keep working on the mission. I have a vision, and it’s grand.

If someone you know appears to be experiencing negative mental health experiences, even if they appear to be functioning in their days, please reach out. Sometimes a listening ear can be the start to a journey towards seeking out the professional help that is needed.

If you you are experiencing negative mental health experiences, reach out to a loved one to be your first step towards sourcing the professional help you need.

You are not alone.

Originally published at medium.com


  • Shanice J. Douglas

    Founder, Witted Roots

    Witted Roots, LLC

    Shanice J. Douglas is the Founder of Witted Roots, a mental health + emotional wellness platform for millennial women of color. She exists at the intersection of passion + purpose to help millennial women of color find the tools necessary to have a more proactive about their mental health + emotional wellness. She creates and curates content via WittedRoots.com, as well as produces an ongoing docu-series, "Rooted: The Docu-Series" to highlight the vulnerable mental and emotional wellness experiences of millennial women of color. She is also a Freelance Writer, Ghostwriter, and Content Curator who assists individuals and businesses share the most relatable, practical, and relevant messages about holistic health to their core audience. You may connect with her on Twitter @ShaniceJDouglas | @WittedRoots.