This is me having a panic attack. 

If you could see my feet you would see them tapping on the floorboard. If you could see my hands you would my tells. You would see my fingers scratching at themselves, at my arms, at my legs. You would see me running my fingers through my hair 0ver and over to the point of pulling out clumps of strands. You would see the small tendrils of blood coming from my lips, tongue, and cheeks as I bite them to keep from crying.

If you could hear me you would hear the jagged breaths in and out. You would hear raspy intentional inhalations in an attempt to regulate my racing heart beat. You would the exhalations catch as I try to breathe out every ounce of fear and pain. You would hear the crack in my voice as I lie and say, “I’m okay.” 

I say that as a mantra. Like the repetition will sink down and drown out the voices in my head that tell my I don’t belong (I’m okay) I’m weak (I’m okay), I’m stupid (I’m okay), I’m a failure (I’m okay). Bad mom. I’m okay. Bad wife. I’m okay. Bad daughter. I’m okay. Bad friend. I’m okay. Bad teacher. I’m okay. Bad writer. I’m okay.

If you looked at me you would think there was nothing wrong with me. I have no reason to be tired all the time. I have no reason to cry. I have no reason to be angry.

But if you saw me you would see that I’m just trying to be the best me I can be in difficult circumstances. If you saw me you would see the person I am. You would see the invisible illness that I wear like a cape. But that cape is not me. That cape does not wear me. I wear it. And I am cutting it into smaller pieces every day. I doubt I will have a day when I don’t wear this cape of depression and anxiety but hopefully, it will be small enough to carry in my pocket instead of big enough that I have to wear it on my back.

If you’re reading this, I hope people see you. And I hope your illness becomes small enough to carry in your pocket. Until then, let’s don our capes and become our own superheroes.