The Downward Spiral – Kim Cheel – Medium

Goodbye, Brave Face

Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

I didn’t think too much of mental health in my younger years. When I was in the church, it was explained as demons attacking.

It wasn’t until the last few years that I’ve come to acknowledge the anxiety that was a part of my life since I was a child.

But it wasn’t until I was laid off from my regular job about 4 years ago that I dealt with depression.

Being laid off was a huge fear of mine. I had meager savings, student debt, a car; not to mention all those bills like rent, electricity that I was handling alone. While I was working, I didn’t worry. I wasn’t struggling. I wasn’t rich, but I didn’t have to worry about living in my car.

That all changed when I was laid off. I got a severance, but I had only been there for 6 months, so my severance paid one month’s rent. I did everything I could to get money, save for selling my panties.

My bank, after 16+ years of banking with them, decided my lack of money was me misusing them. I had too many NSF fees. So they dumped me. I could no longer bank with them. Within a month, my credit card and line of credit was sold to collection agencies.

I was hounded. Told I would go to jail. Told I wasn’t trying hard enough to make money. My mental health was hanging on by a thread. I would have panic attacks in public. I would have suicidal thoughts. I almost killed myself on my 34th birthday because I had nothing.

Well, that’s not true. I had debt.

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I’ve been working hard at my mental and financial state. I moved into my friend’s basement. I pick up every single odd job I can. I pay off (ever so slowly) my two big debts. I pay for my car.

It’s slow, but it’s progress. And I feel more in control. My anxiety rears up, but my depression seems at bay.

Today it’s knocking down my doors. My walls. Despite my best efforts, a loan that started at $5,400 is now $10K. Because of fees. I don’t even know what that is. All it seems to me is that a bank who dumped me because I was poor is trying to get double what the loan is worth.

And my optimism is faltering. It’s failing. I feel useless. A scourge on society. Why do I even exist? I’m a drain on resources I can’t even contribute to.

I want to lie in bed. I want to cry. I want to shut out the world.

But I have to get up. Stick that brave face on with crazy glue so it doesn’t fall off when I’m teaching kids. When I’m learning tech for a show. When I’m working at the office.


I have to function with my depression. And I’m tired. I’m so tired.

I’m glad I no longer believe it’s demons attacking me, because that’s messed up; but the alternative isn’t any better either.

I don’t have a fancy concluding paragraph. I don’t have an uplifting redemptive arc right now. I have the weight of everything pressing down on me, cutting off my air.


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