i put myself to bed early last night, you know? wiped the tears off my eyes with the sleeve of my sweater. and i dreamed of something strange, and cold.
got lost. in these long, winding roads, lined in an endless funeral procession of cornflower and yarrow.
and as the tendrils of smoke start to tighten around my throat, the chickadees beg for help. and i will try to let go.
try not to listen too closely. as the walls press in around me. and the monsters under my bed to scream, and shout, spittle dripping off their hungry, serrated mouths.
the riptide lashing against my flimsy island of blankets and pillows. a thousand empty sentences, and mismatched syllables.
Ever since I stopped seeing my therapist, I’ve had to do a lot of coping on my own.
I know that sounds sad, but honestly, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I feel a lot more confident just knowing that I can manage myself, even when my friends are off their phones, and when I don’t have a mental health professional to turn to.
On a good day, I can do it. I can care for myself the same way I would a small child, with compassion, and patience, even when my brain is at stubborn and slow. But… on a bad day; when I’m so deeply consumed in my own mind, well, that tends to go out the window.
This is the thing with depression: you have an army of supportive, loving friends and family surrounding you, and yet still–it has this way of making you feel so alone; distorting your reality in whatever way it pleases. I’ve heard people describe depression a loss of interest in things they used to get pleasure from, but for me it’s more like I can’t remember, in the moment, what those things even are–and nor do I care enough to try and remember.
For the record, in no way would I recommend just trying to cope on your own before having seen a therapist. I tried using small mental health blogs (rather like this one, now I think about it) as a substitute for therapy for a very long time–and the fact is that reading this post will not help you manage your illness. Working really hard with a professional, for a really long time will help you manage your illness. I spent about two years in therapy before I started going it alone. I’m not writing off therapy forever, just taking a break for the foreseeable future.
Even if you can’t afford to see a therapist–which is totally reasonable–there are always crisis lines you can call to talk anytime, anonymously, for free. Here’s a masterlist, which should have something in your country. 🙂
Next year, I’m going to be starting my sophomore year of high school.
And I had my last day in therapy yesterday.
I write stories. I have a podcast. This November, I spoke at WE Day Vancouver about mental health, in front of tens of thousands of people. It was one of the most terrifying, exciting, and freeing experiences of my life.
I really love animation. I’ve been an avid reader since I can remember. I used to be a huge Potterhead. I write fanfiction.
I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and dysthymia–a form of depression. It’s been almost two years now, since I first sought out help. But it feels like it was only yesterday I texted a crisis line, hiding in my room after school, trying to cry silently. It wasn’t long after that I ended up in therapy.
It feels like my whole life is blurring around me as I speed through the years. How did I end up here? Why does everything have to be this scary?
Sometimes, I think I’m not a good person.
Sometimes, I think I don’t deserve to have anything.
Sometimes, I think I’m perfect. Think the entire world is rolled out before my feet, ready to be conquered–but I never really believe that.
I feel like I’ve spent my whole life, wishing to be someone else–someone perfect. Whatever that word even means.
When I was five, I wanted to be a princess–not really because I wanted to, but because the other girls thought it was the cool thing to do, and because I wanted to fit in with them more than anything. I bought pink dresses from the thrift store, and tossed rose petals down the aisle at my aunt’s wedding.
When I was six, I wanted to be a grown-up. I wanted to be smart and successful and cold. I wanted to be angry and bitter and callous. I wanted to be a coroner or an actuary or some other similarly well-paying job, and marry a rich man, even if I didn’t love him. Because then, no one could push me around–right?
When I was seven, I wanted to disappear. Wanted them to stop looking at me for just one second, giggling as my breath grew faster and faster, and the blood dripped down my chin.
When I was eight, I wanted to normal. I wanted to be just like the other girls, with their makeup and trendy Justin Beiber backpacks. I wanted to have crushes, and giggle behind stairways, and be loved. So loved.
When I was ten, I wanted to be funny, and frivolous, and just a little bit mean. And maybe I was just a little bit miserable, but only in the way I ever showed to a few select people at the climax of the story.
When I was eleven, I wanted to be a fangirl. I wanted to write fanfiction and fanart and have braces, and big, frizzy hair, and stay up until 4am. Because wouldn’t that make me happy?
When I was twelve, I wanted to be beautiful. At least, in the typical sense of the word. Did yoga workouts, and counted calories and cut carbs out of my diet for… two months, or so. I think before I cracked. I couldn’t do it anymore.
When I was thirteen, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to say profound things about capitalism and the state of our society, and write pretentious short stories and win awards and be interviewed on the radio.
And now, at fourteen years old… I want to be professional. I want to be a businesswoman, constantly “on the go” with Starbucks in her hand, walking around in stilettos all day and somehow not falling over. I want to stand my ground at meetings; I want to change the world. I want to see my face in billboards. And know that I built this empire up from the bleeding ground.
But don’t you see? None of those things are real. None of those things would really make me happy, in the end.
I’m so focused on the future I barely notice the present, passing right by me. So focused on building up images of myself I’ll never be able to attain that I never bothered to figure out who I actually am.
Yesterday, my therapist asked me if I even wanted to get better.
And I don’t even know the answer to that question.
I mean, in theory, if course I do. Of course I’d like to not feel so terrible all the time; or be able to walk through a school hallway without having a panic attack. But when it actually comes down to it, I’ve never not been like this. I’ve grown up so entangled with the the monsters in my head that I don’t know how to live without them.
So what do I want?
Do I want to be a writer; throwing myself into a career that might not even work out? Do I want to post my stuff online, and get myself into a career in social media, knowing there’s a chance it might not be sustainable–even though some days, it feels like being online this much is slowly destroying me.
I feel like I’ve slept through most of my life. Because if I live with my head in the clouds, I’ll never have to think about what’s going on around me–never have to actually take the steps necessary to get to those places I want to be so desperately.
Like I’m waking up, three seconds before a full-on collision, paralyzed at the wheel.
And I don’t know what to do.
I always slip into talking about my mental health in the past tense. Like it’s something I’ve conquered, and you can do it too, if you just believe in yourself and find a support network and go therapy! And stuff…
But I tried those things. And they didn’t work–not in the way I thought they would. I mean, yes, I’m better. But that doesn’t mean I in any way consider myself “recovered.”
I am confused and scared and lonely. And life just keeps throwing punches, every time I think it’s done with me.
But… I want to live. Despite all of the times I’ve questioned it. I want to advocate for better mental health support, especially with young, elementary-school aged kids. I want to write stories and poems. I want to make public speaking a part of my career. I want to make spoken word tracks. I want… so many things.
I want to live in an apartment with the people who make me happy. Really, really happy. I want to go travelling. I want to meet people and learn their stories. I want to know what it’s like to be happy.
And right now, I have all of those things, still ahead of me. All the possibilities in the world. Which is you know, terrifying. But… it’s also freeing, in a strange way.
I’m alone in this, now. I don’t have a therapist to hold my hand. That’s my job.
This is up to me.
And I can choose to be like those before me. Who sat around feeling hopeless, trapped in their own indecision. Or I can stand up. And step outside. And try.
I can try.
Maybe I’ll fail. But… I mean, at least I’ll have given it everything I’ve got, right?
last night, i crashed my bike. on some stranger’s driveway. i cried, like a one year old.
like a little kid. with her crocodile smiles, and her eggshell bones…
cried, because i love too deeply. and because i don’t want things to change. i don’t want to say goodbye. cried myself a river, like was fucking going to die.
and watched as the bruises grew wider; creating something of an abyss.
last night, i stared at myself in the mirror. wiped away all the blemishes, and did my hair. pinched my cheeks, until they looked like wrinkled up newspaper.
I’ve read before that getting upset by small things you wouldn’t normally is usually a sign of depression. Which explains a lot of how I’ve been feeling of late.
I lose my keys, and I started crying yelled at my dad. I fall off my bike and can’t stop crying. I can’t find my shoes, and I feel useless and stupid.
Most days—especially since I’ve been going through a pretty nasty rough patch of late—have been hard. Not gonna lie. I am holding myself together, and I am doing what I need to do. But I am doing it by a thread. And the second one thing goes wrong… I lose it. I fall apart. And I pick myself back up again.
And in all honesty, it’s been feeling… like the odds are just tilted against me these days. Like fate, or whatever, is just doing everything it can to make sure I fail. Like I’m just being slammed against the rocks, again and again, and sometimes it just gets so exhausting to keep fighting.
To get out of bed. To take a shower. To get dressed. To pull myself out of the deep end every single day. It is exhausting, and boring, and stressful.
i… i am a dried up riverbed, burning alive in the heat of summer, as the crickets chirp, and the people laugh. eyes stained dark with wonder.
teeth long and crooked, voicebox trembling with strange, frantic desire. and what came first? the witch, or the pyre. how many more skeletons i can stuff in my closet, before they catch fire?
and i think that the animalistic shudder of your voice will always win. the endless hours stretch on, stained with pixelated colours, peeling skin…
and that familiar, acrid smoke. an age-old enemy; eyes soft and rosy with the aftertaste of thunder. his words a neverending din.
and maybe it’s self-care. but… maybe it’s just giving in.
I don’t really remember what I posted in quarantine, honestly those three months just felt like one big blur.
But if I was being honest, which I try my best to be on this blog, I would have told you about how much I was struggling to process all the things that were going on.
Throughout the lockdown, I was only able to keep myself out of a depressive episode by denying it was happening at all. I told myself that I was staying home because I wanted to. That my friends had left me, or moved away, or died. And over the months, they became little video game characters, dancing across my phone screen–weak imitations of what they used to be.
Was it great? No. But it was the only thing that got me through those four months without slipping into a really dark place–with no one there to help me see the light.
I told myself, then, that once this was all over, I would deal with it. I would sit down with my therapist, and let it all out, and I would give myself the time I needed to process from a safe distance.
But, I mean, you can only hold it in so long, I guess. Because that time I thought of in March… well, that time is now. I am more scared of COVID than I was during the actual lockdown, and whenever I hear about it on the radio I go into a panic. And it just… it all hits me at once; everything I held in back then.
I don’t know if I made the right decision. Or if, given the option, I would make it again. But… I do know that it feels like I’m drowning sometimes. Reliving it, a thousand times more terrifying than it actually was. And I don’t have a therapist to help anymore. I’m all on my own.
For better or for worse.
I go back to school tomorrow. (Tomorrow as I write this, today by the time you read this.) I’m in Canada, although to be honest with you the whole reopening plan for regular school seems iffy at best. But because I do my work via a computer, and I can set my own hours for how much I want to go into school, I’m not too worried–you have to sanitize your hands before going into the computer lab, everything is socially distanced, and honestly it’s sounding pretty great from my perspective. I mean, if I have the option to share a computer lab with the only other person who signed up, and never have to get within twenty feet of them, I am down for that. Still a bit nervous though, to be honest–because change is scary. Because facing this stuff is scary. (Also, yes, that is why there weren’t as many posts this week!)
But I know that… sometimes, the thing you’re afraid of is a lot more dangerous in your mind than it is in the reality. That sometimes, when you face it, it’s not really as bad. That living with anxiety is facing your fears every single day. I’ve done it before, and I will do it again.
the mesmerized city whispers its name. and it all makes sense, suddenly.
aching shoulders, and the ground beneath my feet. breath in my lungs, wind in the trees…
so just let it go. and leave it be. and let the bridges crumble. surrender my body to the ever-churning lies of history.
force your eyes wide open at two in the morning. hold the crushed glass in your palms, and tiptoe through the debri.
i prick my finger, like a half-ass sleeping beauty. but… i’m old enough to know now that no one’s coming to save me.
If I had a dollar for every time I’d been told to stop worrying about the future and live in the present, I’d be rich enough to… I don’t know, buy so many plants that they would gradually consume my entire house and eat me alive in my sleep. Okay, yeah, that metaphor is not helping prove the point.
Aaaanyhow. My point is, I am the type of person who’s financial planned out into my thirties; who’s got a monthly budget and an earning goal per month to help me save up to afford to rent or buy an apartment when I’m older. I am the type of person who freaks out when plans change, and who goes insane not knowing what exactly I have to do in a day. I like to know how my future is going to look.
But I get so caught up in that sometimes… well, I know this sounds cliche, but I lose sight of what’s actually happening around me.
I’m just so terrified by the passage of time. By the knowledge that I’ll only get to do this once, and I could mess it up, but… I mean, you can’t mess it up if you can’t do anything at all. Right?