white male with handgunWearing my pillow as protective headgear, I was pinned to my couch. I winced at the seizure-inducing flickering light of the TV and my blanket was pulled around me like a quilted cocoon.

It was the end of the world and I was making sure I was taking care of myself. I didn’t dare step off the sofa as the sound of my feet hitting the hardwood floors would alert the evil genius to my presence and his finger was already on the button. One mistake and…well, I didn’t want to think about it.

Earlier in the day, before the evil genius had pinpointed my location, I had been desperate. The evil genius’ slithering sidekick had been snaking around nearby and I knew it was only a matter of time. Fear screamed through me, my hands shook and I sweated as it circled me.

I thought about raking a knife across my wrist, ending it all before it could get started. The arrival of the snake meant its companion was not far away. It hissed and haunted me, herding me into hiding. If only I had a gun, I could put an end to the torture to which the evil genius was subjecting me.

I knew this had been coming and I hadn’t prepared. No shower to ready myself for this day. I had tried to sleep, but how can you sleep when you know you’ll be facing the end of the world in the morning?

I had tossed and turned. Considered and reconsidered every option. Rehearsed and practised every way I knew how. I wrenched my brain inside-out trying to outwit the genius and his sneaky assistant, but to no avail. The morning would come, and with it, the end of the world.

My heart pounded, my head ached and my thoughts raced. My breathing was shallow and forced. There was no mantra to bring any calm.

The snake coiled once, jarring me bolt-upright. I grabbed my head and covered my ears, eyes shut tight, willing it to just go away. Just leave me alone!

I wanted to run, I wanted to scream, I wanted to rip the flesh off my bones, knowing the evil genius was getting closer.

Around me and around me the snake wove, slithering closer and faster. It moved up my leg, around my chest, wrapping itself around my head.

There was no escape. Immobilized, I laid there silently screaming to myself. No one else knew of my predicament. No one else knew of the snake. No one else could save me. I was alone. And the end of the world was coming.

The snake tightened its grip on me. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like everything was caving in all around me.

I gasped and sputtered. I tried to fight. I tried and I struggled. I tried and tried.

I collapsed under the weight of my efforts, and the snake slithered away.

I rested, not knowing how long I had until the evil genius would appear. But I could feel him, he was near. While I could, I rested.

Then, out of nowhere, with a whoosh, the evil genius rushed in toward me. He surrounded me and possessed me. He wore me down and belittled me.

I holed-up on my couch, thinking if I didn’t move, I could keep him at bay. The TV was on, so he knew I was there. I pulled my blanket up over myself and put my pillow over my head like a helmet.

The evil genius was here. The evil genius had his finger on the button for the end of the world.

The evil genius is depression.

Anxiety is his snake.

And the end of the world, well, it’s the end of the world.

One in five people will suffer from a mental illness.

Mental illness is real. Mental illness is scary.

Mental illness feels like the world is going to end.

Many of us suffer the end of the world every day.

Jason Large,

Daily Zen.

Jason has suffered from depression and anxiety for over twenty years. He writes to bring light to mental illness and the ways that those who suffer from mental illness can work to improve their lives. You can reach Jason via Facebook or at www.jasonlarge.com.