My Struggle

By Antonietta Gutierrez • March 1, 2016

My life was picture perfect for the first 10 years up until my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Those following two years were hell for my family. With in and out hospitalizations, chemotherapy and a lack of financial support I was slowly breaking as my dad's fight was deteriorating. I hid my pain and destructive thoughts from the world but overtime I broke. I still have a constant feeling of being lost in a hole and sometimes even the simplest things like someone taking about their dad or bringing up my loss pushes me to my dark place. I become paranoid when I'm in a crowd and I focus on the worst thoughts and scenarios. It tries to consume me everywhere I go but somehow I always find my way out. I'm afraid of everything and scared to open up about my struggle. i don't want to be labelled or diagnosed with a disorder. I don't want to be put on meds.

I just feel like I'm living in a cage when I go to my dark place and I'm depressed. But when I'm on a stage performing dancing playing my instrument writing and doing a presentation I feel no pain. I feel untouchable and indestructible. But when I'm not doing this I feel so alone, different and nothing. I really don't know what to do about it. I'm shaking writing this, but I felt I need to share this with the world. Although it may have been a year since my dad's death I am still grieving. I thought I would find closure at this point but I haven't. The thing is I wish people would understand, and acknowledge that my pain is real. Im not trying to get attention or exaggerate. I am pleading with those who may be struggling with what I'm dealing with to come out and talk.

But you see everything I just told you all those dark feelings went away thinking about all of the good things life has given to me. I had a first grader at my school come to me the other day and first asked what's your name and I told her and then she said you are such a good dancer and my performance was really good in the cutest voice possible. That one sentence replaced all my pain with happiness. I had a teacher also say to me what I do on and off the stage is inspiring. I don't know how to explain how much that means to me but it seems whenever I feel like I'm drowning something keeps me floating. I've realized just because I am struggling doesn't mean I'm weak. Just because I cry all the time doesn't mean I'm crazy because I can't hide it anymore. Never hide your shame, feelings or struggle with a smile. Believe me it can destroy you. You become stronger once you accept what you are and how you are feeling. There is no perfect day unfortunately for humans and there definitely isn't always happiness. But no matter how dark your life or situation becomes you are not alone. You are not alone. no matter how much anyone around you doesn't seem the same everyone struggles. But know your struggle will and you should never let it uphold you from the light, that in truth is always near.

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