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Within the Mind

A series of digital paintings designed to bring awareness to various mental illnesses.

Published onSep 20, 2023
Within the Mind


Imagine the world closing in, the walls far too close for comfort. The feeling of claustrophobia in one’s own life weighing down upon your shoulders. Your heart beats hard enough to hurt, and you swear you might have a heart attack soon. You’re trembling, sweating, and barely able to hold in the scream that threatens to break through your mouth. This is what it’s like to have an anxiety or panic attack. This is something that up to 30% of adults will experience at some point, and some may experience multiple attacks like this in a single day.


You look in the mirror. Despite all the weight loss you’re told about, you still see rolls where you wish it were smooth, and it smooth where one would want ripples. You hate what you see, disgusted even. With despair, you eat yourself into a frenzy, grabbing all the comfort foods you can. All to try and feel okay for just a moment. You rush to the bathroom when you are finished, and purge it all into the toilet. The entire time hating yourself for your weakness and promising yourself the next time it will be different. This is Bulimia, one of many eating disorders that plagues both women and men alike.


Depression can hit anyone, and when it does, it hits hard. This is not just being sad, but empty and weighed down as if by a ton of bricks. One’s mind completely absorbed by the faults and trials of life. All the joys in existence seems to have vanished, and you feel bogged down and lifeless. You know you should move, get going, put on a happy face, but the idea of even lifting an arm seems too much to bear. So, in silence, you suffer and dive deeper down the rabbit hole. In 2021 there were an estimated 1.7 million suicide attempts. Of these, 48,183 were successful. Those are lives completely lost, souls in pain never heard.


You try to ignore the whispers, but the more you do so, the louder they become. You feel your hand start fiddling almost of its own accord. “Do it...just do it. If you don’t, they pig…do it.” the voices hiss with malice. You start mumbling to yourself, desperately trying to ignore them. You don’t want to do it, but the voices are strong. Furthermore, you could swear the telephone pole you’re leaning against is watching you, waiting to see if you crumble. Meanwhile, your heart beats, and the mumbling now mixes with the sound of your own panic. This is schizophrenia. While rare, it can be a debilitating disorder. One that can strike and change both the sufferer's lives and the ones they care about forever.

Ryan Nightingale currently writes under his pseudonym and has had 6 short stories and select poems published in both online and print literary journals. He’s also had a variety of digital paintings published. In Ryan’s spare time, he enjoys painting and other creative works.

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