It’s terrifying, how hard it is to see behind someone’s surface. I’m full of roiling emotions with a pretty, confident, put-together exterior, and I don’t know how to cry for help. And besides, who would love and accept me if I showed them all of me?

It’s terrifying, to be full of difficult emotions and dealing with them all on your lonesome. Afraid to ask for help. Afraid to ask for clarification. Doubts turned into full-blown worst case scenarios by anxiety. Anxiety and Depression, the twin demons of self-destruction, ready to pull out all stops until you’re dead.

They sneak up on you, sometimes. They know when you’re wearing down, when something else has pressured you too hard, when your normally well-wrought shields have a crack here, growing thinner there. And then they shove themselves in there and leave you gibbering in terror, but not where anyone can see. No, your physical body is a robot, going through the motions as normally as possible — hiding in your room is just as much an introvert quality as it is an in hideous pain and fighting to survive quality — while inside, deep in the pit of your soul, you’re howling, crying, banging against the chains Anxiety and Depression have bound you with. Grasping hard on the whisper-thin cords leading to the promises you’ve made, the ones that tell you to stay here, now, to keep fighting, because we love you, because I love you enough to make you promise to stay with me—

It doesn’t always feel like enough. But it is. You curl up in bed and you survive another day, ready to fight again the next fight, storing up all your energy to one day, again, break free and reinforce those shields. Until again they come back for you, and the cycle continues.

And you just keep going, and no one knows the battle you’ve fought and won. A thankless task, sometimes, this staying alive. But you’ve made those promises, and you won’t break them. You won’t. And that’s what gives you the strength.

You’re strong for fighting this fight. Those demons have so many more tools at their disposal, and you just have you. I’m so amazed and proud of how well you’ve done.