On that night I died and woke up the next day

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And I have done it again. The days counted revert to none. And just like that, I go by zero day after day. Every step I took in the days I counted, I stepped on again backwards like a retrograde had pulled my body in a force where the things I gained, I lost—and the things I let go of, I possessed once again.

One Thursday night, just before the clock struck midnight, I was standing in the “men’s hygiene” isle at a 24/7 drugstore near my apartment, looking for a razor. I scoured through the shelves only to find ones that have handles in them, typically used to rid bodies of undesired hair and dead skin. 

But the one I wanted the most, the familiar companion I once promised I would never meet again, is out of stock. 

I was in no place to talk, but I was desperate. I approached the lady working that night with my tongue struggling to pronounce every word uttered. 

“Out of stock,” she said. 

I wanted to ask: “When will you restock?” But instead, I turned my back on her, walked past the “men’s hygiene” section, and left without having razors scanned at the cashier’s. 

As I stood on the empty street, I knew that in that drugstore, behind the pharmacists’ counter on the medicine section at the far end, there is a drug that could help me with my own “bell jar.” Instead, I crossed the street to the convenience store on the opposite side, finding what my fingers once held on to. 

I checked out four bottles of Smirnoff mules and one pencil sharpener. I also asked the cashier for a pack of Marlboro blue displayed behind her, despite how expensive they have become since the last time I smoked. 

My non-prescription medicine was bought at a random night in a convenience store. No fuss. Quick and easy. And just like that, I was back to my old habits I thought I bid farewell to. 

I knew I needed help. I realized that on my third time consecutively reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. 

Here is a battle I fought silently and repeatedly. And here is a bottle I sought for, in hopes of absolution. 

On that night, I died and woke up the next day.

Being able to write about that night in this moment may mean that I have won before. But I also fear that as I age, I get weaker and weaker. Until finally, it catches up and it would mean that all this time, I was meant to lose in the end.  

It could mean that my “bell jar” stay closed. The roses had gone rotten. The butterfly—one flick and everything turns to ash. 

At 11, I built my own bell jar, on the same night I was scolded by my parents for not passing the entrance exam of a science high school. I slept that night wishing there would be no tomorrow to wake up to. My head surrendered deep into a pillow, soiled of bitter tears. 

I prayed to God his kindest of sparing me a little life. I begged God for a perpetual salvation. And on that night, I died for the first time and woke up the next day. 

That was the first of many laps, and it certainly was not the last. For most nights, I pray to not wake up the next day, and I held solace from the thought of abandoning this flesh I face in the mirror—the very body my soul occupies. 

It has been 11 years. I am 22 as of this writing. Through the years, nothing had changed. Only a bit. Nothing new but the pain getting fainter yet more profound at the same time. 

I wish I had an inspiring message that came out of my experience with depression, but this is ugly truth I had to face daily, and nothing could change the harshness of it. 

All of it is because in those nights I uttered the same prayers, something in me had died. And I wake up in the morning, rising from ashes and tears more bitter than a gin. Since then, my life had become a redundant allegory to Lazarus, the saint who rose from the dead. 

In each night, I die and wake up the next day, only to die more—one night at a time. 

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Patrick V. Miguel
Patrick V. Miguel
Patrick V. Miguel, 22, is a writer and a journalist. He has a BA in Literature from the University of Santo Tomas, and won 1st place for essay in the 38th Gawad Ustetika Awards.


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