Creative Contest Winner: A Hundred Reasons to Fight

The following piece was selected as one of the winners of this year’s Refuat Hanefesh Creative Expression Contest. Age group: College And Up. It has been lightly edited. 

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I have a hundred reasons to be happy. Hundreds of moments that should smear a giant smile all over my face. A hundred jokes and ridiculous things to laugh about. A hundred students, sweet, adorable bundles of joy, rushing at me. But their joy stops there; it doesn’t reach me. There’s a thick glass pane separating us, teasing me. I see the joy on their faces; I hear it in their laugh. It’s that twinkle in their eyes, saying that they’re up to trouble. But I don’t feel it. I don’t react; I can’t react. I have no reason to react. I’m somewhere else. My body and my head are in two different places. I don’t know where my head is.


I have a hundred accomplishments looking me in the eye, but I can’t see them. My anxiety blinds me like the bright lights of a car heading your way, about to collide with you and wreak havoc. All I can see are the failures, everything I didn’t or couldn’t do. The projects that didn’t succeed, the failed attempts.


I have a hundred reasons to stay and keep working, but my anxiety says I should surrender. I’m not doing anything anyway. I’m getting nowhere; I have nowhere to get to.


I have a hundred loving people surrounding me, supporting me and trying to help. A hundred family members and outstanding friends always by my side. I can reach them with the push of a button. But I’m alone in the world. They’re there for me, but I can’t call for help when I need it. I know they’re there, but I can’t access them.


I have a hundred reasons to be calm. I’ve double, triple-checked the dozens of lists I made. I did everything that needed to be done. But I can’t calm down and rest. There is something I have to do. Somewhere I have to go. Someone I must speak to. Something I have to say. But there’s nothing to say or do or see or go to. It’s my anxiety, ensuring I don’t get a moment’s rest.


I have a hundred reasons to sleep soundly at night. A roof over my head. A comfortable pillow on my bed. An engrossing book and a cup of tea. But no. My tired and weary brain can’t shut off. It torments me through the night, leaving me with puffy eyes and a tired face, an exhausted body. It presents me with a hundred reasons to fear, a hundred reasons to cry or cringe or scream.


I have a hundred masks. A hundred cover identities, people I pretend to be so an outsider won’t notice what is happening inside. How my brain is tormenting me. A hundred costumes for different occasions. Painful to put on, very realistic, but they are excruciating, they take a toll. They manage to satisfy and reassure others, but they don’t convince me. I know there’s a shattered soul, a broken person hiding behind them, afraid to speak up and ask for help, afraid of being discovered.


I have a hundred voices in my head, telling me I’m not enough. Not kind enough. Not capable or competent. Not strong enough. Not put-together. Telling all sorts of awful things that I don’t want to hear. But these voices are amplified, playing at the loudest volume and on a repeating loop. I hear them constantly and can’t escape their echo. Sometimes I can recognize them for what they are, the voices of monsters inside of me, the demons that possess me. Other times, I can’t tell who’s talking. But it doesn’t matter if I know who’s talking: I hear it anyway. I can identify it’s source, shout and plug my ears but I still hear it. I believe it. The voices are there to remind that I’m not good enough. And they remind me time and again that they’re in control, not me.


But more than all, I have a hundred reasons to fight. A hundred students looking up to me. A hundred loved ones rooting for me and there to help me through my struggle. A hundred funny moments to be laughed at, a hundred smiles waiting to appear across my face. A hundred voices to defeat and conquer, decimate and destroy. A hundred dreams to be dreamt while soundly asleep, enjoying every minute of fantastic imagination.


So I will fight. I’ll fight and persist, even if I need to fight a hundred times. I will scream and yell at those voices, try to yell louder than them. And sometimes I won’t yell loud enough, but sometimes I’ll hear it and get a little relief. A little peace of mind. A little of the old me back.


Adira Schorr

Adira Schorr is 20 years old and lives in Alon Shvut, Israel. After her first year of Sherut Leumi (Israeli National Service), she spent nine months in treatment for PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Starting Hebrew University in the fall, she hopes to continue to use her writing to find her own clarity and help those who are fighting to know that they are not alone, that recovery is possible. Adira is thrilled to help fight the stigma surrounding mental health.
Adira Schorr

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1 Comment on “Creative Contest Winner: A Hundred Reasons to Fight

  1. Incredible piece. I feel your pain and can relate to all you wrote myself. It’s so real. Thank you for articulating so well and sharing this piece of yourself with us. I hope the coming year brings 100 things to bring you peace and healing and 100 things that will give you strength to keep going forwards.

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