I remember those 3 dots on the ceiling when I used to lie on my bed, looking at them, trying, hoping to drift myself to sleep. Maybe those dots were the paint that came out or maybe it was something that got stuck on the ceiling. I never checked. Every night I would go through the routine, Doing exercise — Check. Taking a shower — Check. Drinking chamomile tea — Check. Reading a book — Check. Putting my phone down — Check. And when nothing worked, I would resort back to looking at those three dots on my ceiling, shining in the streetlight coming through my window.
I would try to make a figure out of them, like if they were part of a human face or an animal body. Or maybe an object. I would do anything to stop those horrific thoughts from coming to my mind. Thoughts of being a failure or of fears or even regrets. Or maybe it was just plain sadness, deeply ingrained inside me, hiding behind those secondary emotions. There was nothing more terrifying than fragments of memory from the past or glimpses of the future. In the process of escaping them, those 3 dots on the ceiling became my only companion. I didn’t realize when they became my happy place. I couldn’t wait to leave everything behind and go to them. I stopped my night routine and would go to them directly and stare at them until my body would take over and I would drift off to sleep, only to be awake in a few hours.
I would despise waking up every day. Going through the day was the hardest thing. Meeting people and talking to them was even tougher. Concentrating on work was out of the question. My hand would shake the entire day as my mind would get all jumbled up with what it was going through. And I was doing all this while pretending everything is normal and I am living the dream life. I can’t even imagine now the toll it took on my body. And the worst part was I didn’t realize that it was not normal. I accepted that phase of my life as any other phase and did nothing about it. Except suffering. Day after day. Night after night.
Moving between mindless scrolling of social media feed and making a figure out of those 3 dots became my life. I thought maybe one day those dots would move or maybe they will give me a vision of something profound, giving meaning to my life. But that never happened. Soon I had my first panic attack. I remember the first one came when I was about to enter my apartment and I just couldn’t breathe or walk or think. I thought I was dying and somewhere I felt relieved that this cycle of pain and suffering would finally stop. But mostly I was scared. That was the first time I called my friend. That was the first time I asked for help. The first time I realized I don’t have to face my life alone. The first time I felt that asking for help doesn’t make me a failure, but a much stronger person. This was just the first step, though. But that changed everything.
I reached out to friends and family. I consciously changed how I was living my life. Going back to sleep was still the hardest thing, until one day it was not. The next day I woke up and the first thing I did was take a piece of clothing, and I wiped those 3 dots. I felt sad about erasing a part of my life, but I told myself that my life belongs outside of this confine of 3 dots. The meaning of my life exists somewhere outside, but not here. It’s been 3 years and last night I saw a few dots on my ceiling again. I was thinking if I should wipe them off as they serve as a reminder of the hardest period of my life. Or should I stare at them to see if they hold any meaning this time? I decided to leave them be and went back to sleep.
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It’s a true piece. It happened to me a few years ago. I normally avoid writing anything biographic, but something inside told me to write this piece out. If you are going through it, don’t think it’s normal. Don’t think you are alone. Reach out to people. Some people won’t be able to get it. Some people might judge you. But there would be few who you would find and would help you with this transformative journey. Make sure you would try to do the same for them. It would be a long process. It would be the hardest thing you would ever have to do. But trust me, once it’s all done and dusted, you will be a changed person. You would be a better person. And if you want to reach out to me, feel free to message me anytime. I may not be able to heal you, but I can share some resources that helped me. I wish you all the strength and love while you go through this journey.