Taking Strength From an Ant

Right before it hits me, I get the ants in my pants. It’s the reaction my brain sends to my body saying “move now or you won’t get up again”. It’s taken me years to realise this.

As a child, after every argument at home, you’d find me – or rather not find me at all – walking aimlessly around my hometown, normally through the woods or fields that are situated around it.

I would move, walk, run and do whatever it took to get away from everyone and everything that was hurting me.

Some nights, just after midnight I would sneak out and walk all night. I’d walk miles into the pitch-black night; exploring abandoned buildings, playing in empty parks and fuelling myself on cheap chocolate and energy drinks, bought with money stolen from my older brother as payment for each and every mark, scar and bruise he left on me physically and emotionally.

Many nights I walked until the sun came up. Sneaking back into my house before everyone woke up was harder than sneaking out.

Looking back now, it’s easy to see this was a coping mechanism that I hadn’t understood at the time. It was just my reaction to feeling crummy.

On the days where I couldn’t get away, when my family would lock me inside so I couldn’t run away again, it boiled over. I attempted suicide, more times than I can count.

I’ve cut myself, stabbed a 6-inch kitchen knife into my chest, sat on a train track, climbed on bridges and cliffs….and I’m still here. It’s hard to recall all these incidents at times but it’s important to try in order for me to see how far I’ve come.

You might think that I’m just running away from my problems. You might be right but unfortunately, I’m an ‘imploder’. Like a nuclear bomb, the chemicals crash in my brain and build up to create devastation. Where do you go to test a nuke without harming anyone? The answer? As far away from everyone as possible.

When I’m ready to implode I like to be in an open space or high up. It helps me to find perspective. It shows me that the world is so vast and the universe is never ending.

Yet, here I am ready to end it all over some bullshit that pales away to insignificance when you compare it to every blade of grass in a meadow or every star twinkling in the night sky.

It takes me getting the ‘ants in my pants’ to realise this. The days when you turn the alarm off, pull the duvet over your head and sob uncontrollably are the days where the depression wins.

Once I resign myself to that place the hardest step is just getting out of bed. The simple act of throwing the covers back and placing two feet on the floor feels like climbing Everest. All of my negative thoughts and anxiety come crashing towards me like an avalanche rolling down mountain.

From the summit of the mountain the perspective saves me. However, it’s only because I’ve learned to understand this phenomenon that tries to cut me down that I can build myself back up again.

I’ve battled with it, it’s beaten me before but I know I can beat it again.


This article was written anonymously. 

You can find more articles like this in our Experiences section.

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