3 min
When I was six, a seed took root in my body. Though small, it had a profound effect. I was young and naïve, and this new part of me was like a new toy for me to break in. I fed it, watered it and gave it all the sunshine in the world. I tried to explain to my parents about this seed, but not being able to see it, they brushed it off as youthful energy.

This allure did not last longer, however, as the seed soon grew a mind of its own. It rattled and shook whenever I did not pay enough attention to it. It begged for water, needing constant nourishment in order to flourish. It grew as I did, at first slowly and then hitting a major growth spurt. Somedays I couldn’t control it. My youthful mind and body being too inexperienced and young to grasp the changed happening inside me. A seed, growing, growing, growing without my permission. I had no say in it, the seed took on a life of its own and threw me in many directions. Some days I would kick and scream so loud, begging my mom not to make me leave the house. I grasped onto the banister so hard, I could feel it trembling at its base, afraid of the tenacity this six-year old monster possessed.

The outside world full of too many unknowns and uncertainties. If the wind blew a certain way, the seed within me would shake and rattle, causing my core to crumble. Curled up in a ball in a puddle of my own tears, my parents not understanding how their precious blue eyed, blonde haired daughter could turn into a waterworks of emotions. Thunderstorms were the seed’s favorite. It would move to and fro, like a seesaw unhinged. It was getting too much to look after.

But it kept growing and growing and growing. Some days I thought it would grow so much it would branch out from my hands and feet. No longer a seed, but a tiny bush. Now 13-years old, I was able to understand there was a bush in me. I didn’t understand where it came from or what I did to deserve it, but I knew we were connected. I knew this bush would always be a part of me. I was old enough to articulate to my parents the nature-being I had been gifted with. I told them that I was not able to care for it on my own and burst into tears. I explained to them that some days I just wanted to rip open my chest and untangle the beast from its roots. A being once so small as a speck, now festering inside me like an unwelcomed guest.

I didn’t want it anymore. It hurt. It was tearing me apart mentally, emotionally, physically. I felt disconnected from my friends, feeling like no one truly understood me. But the issue was, I knew the being inside me recognized me for me. It understood me in a way that no one else did. I both detested it and loved it at the same time. In a way, it was what made me so in tune with myself. But I knew this wasn’t normal. I knew I could no longer keep this a secret.

I was an adult now and had a tree within me. A deep-rooted, tall-standing tree with branches that twisted and turned within me. At such a pivotal age, I felt like I was constantly struggling with what I wanted to do versus what the being within me decided for me. Its leaves seemed to only pull me down, the weight of the world often too much to bear. Yet, when it shed its leaves, I felt naked and open to pain, like the whole world could see within me. Every part of me on display, like an ornate piece of art. For some, it would be too complex and abstract, its multiple levels and layers leaving them confused and put-off. For others, it would seem inauthentic. Like there was a life within the frame whose story was not being told.
I was missing balance. Teetering on the edge of despair, the tree now growing too strong for me to control. My grasp was weakening, I no longer knew what to do.

I wanted to destroy this thing inside me. I longed for the feeling of taking an axe to it and decimating it into nothingness. It was a battle for power that I no longer wanted to be a part of. I no longer remembered what it felt like to just be me. Who I was. The things I enjoyed. The people whose company made me happy.

I was numb. I was shaded away from the light of the world. I was in darkness with the tree pulling me down and under. I was slipping, falling further and further.

I knew I would not be able to destroy this being in one fell swoop. I would need to break it down branch by branch. Tops of the trees were the easiest, for they were not that sturdy. As I moved downward, it took more effort. The branches were thicker, the roots were deeper.

Self-esteem, self-doubt, pain, anxiety, depression all stored in the roots. Tangled up in each other, one turning into the next.

It took a while for me to realize that it was not the tree that was the issue. It was my rejection, my inability to see it for what it was. Depression and anxiety are not a joke. They are not mere sadness that one experiences in flashes, but a force too strong to be reckoned with.

You must grab it by its roots, the parts that are so deeply ingrained into your brain that the pain it takes to untangle them is sometimes worse than the pain they create. But it will be worth it. No longer pulled down by the heaviness of darkness, you’ll be able to stand.

Like a tree.

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