Welcome to our first ‘By Anonymous’ column, where we give you the opportunity to tell your story without fear of judgment.

But our first author actually made a special request: to publish her name. She told us,

“A huge part of my healing journey is being open and honest about what I’ve experienced.”

So below, please find the poem ‘Behind The Scenes Of Mental Illness’ by Ayesha Noor. Please note: the following may contain a trigger warning.

Don’t tell me I’m being dramatic
That I just need to stop being lazy
Laziness isn’t what kept me up all night, every night
Laziness isn’t what kept me from taking a shower more than once a week
Laziness isn’t what made me skip final exams and not care at all
Even though as a student my only job was to study
Laziness isn’t what made me pull on an abaya on top of the same pair of pajamas
Everyday to go to class, if I even made it to class at all
Laziness isn’t what made me make plans and cancel them last minute
Laziness isn’t what made me stay in bed all day, other than to go get food from the delivery guy
Depression is

Don’t tell me I’m being irrational
That I just need to breathe and calm down
If it was as easy as breathing
I wouldn’t have spent hours spiraling
My mind was a tornado I couldn’t  outrun
So I would just lay in its path
Waiting for it to tear me to pieces
The agony so strong that it started to affect me physically
My stomach started churning
And I could feel the bile trapped in my throat because it started
constricting as I began to have trouble breathing
And my body was covered in sweat as if I had  been training for a marathon
When I hadn’t even moved an inch
Only for the entire cycle to start again, only a few hours later
I wouldn’t have spent so many days telling myself
Don’t panic, brain
Shut up, brain
Give me a break, brain
What is wrong with you, brain?
Just let me get home then you can break down, brain
Why do you cause me so much pain?
Will there ever be an end to the pain?
Maybe I should just end the pain
Beating anxiety isn’t as easy as breathing

Don’t tell me you understand me
But then ridicule me anyways
because it’s all just too much
You don’t know what too much is until
You’ve been in so much pain
That you have imagined using
The butcher knife that sits in the kitchen drawer
That your father used to sacrifice the goat
On your own carotid artery
Your blood pooling on the kitchen floor
And leaving a stain
Like the blood of the goat did on the grass in your garden
You don’t know what too much is
Until you’ve had yet another panic attack, in a car
And imagined stepping out of the car
into oncoming traffic
Hoping you would finally find peace

You can find more work from Ayesha on her Instagram @avn_poetry
All art credit goes to Stephanie Deangelis, who you can find on Instagram @steph_angelis

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