I am so, so scared. I am so, so confused. I don’t understand my mind anymore. I spent a long time trying to understand how my eating disorder and self-destructive behaviours functioned and served me, but now, in this current place, I am lost once more. I don’t understand why the smallest trigger can send me into a suicidal spiral. I don’t understand why I wake up feeling content, and then become depressed, and then anxious, and then have a panic attack, and follow that up with self-harm all in the space of a few hours.
I’m a person who knows thing. So who am I if I can’t even know my own mind? I said the same thing about Ana. I didn’t want to recover because I thought she defined me, and that letting her go would leave me helpless and confused.
This is both identical, and different. I am the person who knows all the answers. I am the tutor who is paid to for that purpose. I am the worker who knows where everything is stored, which products are vegan, and the ingredients in every loaf of bread. I am the daughter who knows how to avoid conflict, the sister who shies under the weight of her siblings, the Christian who believes that not even God can possibly forgive her for the things she’s done.
So if I can’t answer simple questions about my own mental health – questions like, how are you – then what does that make me? I’m someone who is struggling.
I am someone who is hurting.
I am hurting myself, and also I’m deeply hurting. From the outside, you will only see the scars, but cut open my thoughts and the true darkness is revealed, the utter despair and blackness that clings to my cerebrum like an oil spill. Just as slippery is this illness, which quivers as I try to grasp for answers, and slithers away whenever I get close.
It’s hard to know myself as a series of abbreviations, but knowing I am not defined from them. It’s hard to recognise my own inner strength, when I lie shattered on my bedroom floor every night, gasping for breath and clasping a sharp object and clenching my fists and banging my head as if that specific combination is the only thing that will make the thoughts stop.
I’m not even sure what I’m writing anymore. This has no direction, no trajectory, not unlike my current perspective, current prospects, as I watch others around me succeed, and crumble inwardly with every inhale.