We Share A Name and A Life

This piece I wrote a little over a year ago. It is the first real writing I ever did as a depressed and anxious teenager trying to figure out the mess that is my brain. Originally, it was a harsh letter written in first person, but after revisions and editing, it became somewhat of a story in third person which I personally prefer. Most of my writings are in third person as it gives me a way to detach myself from my experiences so I can analyze them and attempt to think rationally about it. The writing in this one is a little rough, but I thought I would leave it as is. It gives it a level of raw emotion and struggle. I would also like to say that it is quite lengthy and has heavy content, so be prepared…

There’s this girl I know. She is just a girl who is struggling under the overwhelming weight of life and responsibilities and trying to be strong. I’ve known her for quite some time now, and I know she needs help with her daily battles. She’s at war with her mind and feels like her life has no meaning. Often, she wishes she could just end it all. She battles her mind every day and is getting tired of living like this. Her demons beat and bash her until she is left lying on the ground hoping they just finish her off. She is desperately trying to survive. She feels like everyone is judging her and feels as if they don’t like her. Even though she has so many dear friends who care for her, she feels so alone that she doesn’t know how much longer she can go on like this. She wants help, she needs help, so she can live her life, not just barely survive.

This girl is always on edge, ready to flee at any moment. She’s scared of people because of what they might think or say. She’s afraid of judgement and criticism. She’s not quite sure she knows why, but they both bother her immensely. She figures that she may never really understand why, so she must accept them and try to live with them. Before she realized what they were, she tried to ignore them to keep them at bay, but this constantly exhausted her. Often, she feels the need to run and escape any situation that causes any amount of anxiety. When she interacts with others, she can’t help but feel shaky and nervous. She can barely speak for fear of saying something she doesn’t mean or messing up her words and sounding ridiculous. Most times her voice won’t even work, and it prevents her from making a single noise. If she does manage to speak, her voice sounds croaky and hoarse; it’s barely audible and often annoying.

On the rare occasions she can speak and not sound like a complete fool, she spends the rest the day or week or even month replaying the conversation over and over again trying to remember if what she said was really what she should have said or if she said it correctly. Her mind will replay it so much and distort it, so she can’t remember exactly what she said causing her to overthink and worry about it. Her mind convinces her that she said something else that was wrong, and now the person with whom she was speaking now hates her and thinks she’s an incompetent fool who can’t carry a conversation correctly.

Whenever she’s around anyone, she can’t help but to feel like no one actually wants her around, that she’s not needed or accepted, that no one really cares about her. Her friends often tell her that they are glad to see her and that she’s hanging out with them. No matter how many times they reassure her about this, she can’t fully believe them. She feels that it’s better to just leave them alone, so she isn’t a burden or a bother to them. Even though she feels this way, she still participates in things because she doesn’t want anyone to get suspicious of what’s happening with her. While she participates and pretends she’s okay, she believes nobody wants her around. She has these nagging thoughts that she’d be better off dead. Whenever anything goes wrong, even if it’s not her fault or doesn’t affect her directly, she gets all these thoughts and feelings about fleeing and isolating herself from everyone and taking the blame for whatever is going wrong. When this happens, she tries isolate in order to give herself time to calm down and feel normal again.

Whenever she walks past a group of friends and they don’t see her or acknowledge her,she feels hurt. She’s overly sensitive to everything and is dramatic in her mind, but then blames herself and feels bad for being like this. She walks past her friends several times to see if anytime they say hi to her. She’s too nervous and anxious to say hi first or even make eye contact with any of them, but so desperately wants them to acknowledge her existence. She knows that if she wants to be friends with other people, she needs to at least say hi to them first because she can’t always rely on them to speak first as it’s unfair. But she also knows that the times she did greet friends first, they either didn’t hear her, or she felt so awkward after speaking to them. She feels as if she is so lowly that she shouldn’t speak to them because she doesn’t want to bother them. When she walks past her friends and is unnoticed, she feels invisible and unwanted. But then again, she understands why no one would want her around. She doesn’t even want herself around. The rational part of her mind tells her that her friends didn’t see her and were just busy with whatever they were doing. The irrational side counters with that they didn’t see her and were too busy because she’s not important enough to be seen or acknowledged. 

For several years, she has felt like this, and she has forgotten who she really is. She doesn’t find interest in the things that once made her happy. She wants to do things but is so exhausted and tired from her battles, that she has no energy to do them. On a normal day, she will be lying on her bed staring at the stack of her favorite books on the floor, wishing she had the motivation to pick one up and escape into her favorite story to feel better for a little while. Next to her favorite books, are her textbooks and homework. She used to love homework, but the effort it takes to study and start her homework is too exhausting, so instead she lies on her bed questioning her existence. Along with her books is her laptop and bullet journal. She wishes she could just pick up her journal to plan out her next week to feel some sort of accomplishment. She wants to take her laptop and type up everything that she’s thinking and experiencing to feel better, but unfortunately, she hasn’t seen her motivation in weeks.

Instead, she lies on her bed while wondering and worrying if she will ever enjoy anything again. Then she gets a text from a friend asking her if she wants to hang out or come over. She will look at the screen and so desperately want to be with them, but she feels so awful and tired that she ignores it for a few minutes until responding. Sometimes she responds telling them she will hang out with them because she knows she will feel somewhat better if she’s around people. Occasionally, she will make an excuse like she is doing homework or not feeling well, because she can’t find the energy to socialize or really do anything. Some think that she’s a procrastinator and neglectful, lazy and irresponsible, but she’s really just tired and broken and can barely handle what life throws at her. She thinks these critical thoughts of herself all the time, but she knows she needs to try to be gentle with herself because she’s mentally ill.

Often she feels so badly mentally and physically that she doesn’t want to participate in things. She doesn’t enjoy watching sports games, plays, people dancing or hanging out or listening to them sing or seeing their art and creations. Each of these remind her of what she can’t do because she feels like she is so untalented at everything as well as too nervous and afraid of trying anything. She’s certain she will fail at anything she tries, no matter how much effort she gives. She feels like everyone is so much better than her because they can do those things or at least try to do those things. But then she feels so selfish for judging herself against everyone and for not wanting to see these things because of how they make her feel. She knows she should be happy for the people who get to do all these things and have fun, but she can barely find the happy part of herself anymore. She shows that she is happy for them, but deep inside, it just reminds her of how incompetent she is. People will sometimes tell her how good she is at things, but she can never believe them because in her eyes, nothing she does is ever good enough for her standards, and she is never satisfied with her own work.

This girl worries about everything all the time, so much that it physically affects her. Most of the time she feels as nervous as one would be before giving a speech or the like. She is so anxious that often she feels nauseous and shaky and has trouble breathing. Her breath is quick and strangled when she’s overly anxious. Her hands tremble and shake while her shoulders tense up and can’t relax. When she gets this bad, her mind is clouded with overwhelming thoughts of self-criticism and deprecation and thoughts to escape. Whenever she is out in public around people, when she socializes with anyone, sometimes when she is alone in her room, and occasionally when she is sleeping, she gets all these uncomfortable feelings. She has to battle the demons telling her to flee and hide to where she will be safe. 

When she sits with one of her groups of friends and they’re all in conversation, she just listens and occasionally spaces out. She wants to be a part of the conversation and group, but she lacks the social skills and courage to engage in conversation. Instead, she just listens and waits. Eventually, someone might ask her a question, and she does her best to answer, but it ends up being a quiet answer, and she soon regrets ever speaking aloud. She overthinks about these kinds of interactions for so long after, hoping no one remembers how stupid she sounded when speaking. She tries to forget these situations, but her mind reminds her at the worst possible moments, making her question why she’s still alive.

Every morning, she wakes up and realizes she’s still alive. She’s disappointed that she’s made it through another night. All she wants to do is go back to sleep and hope she doesn’t wake up the next day. She wishes she was dead, so she doesn’t have to suffer and fight any longer. The voice in her head tells her that she doesn’t deserve to be alive. It reminds her of all the mistakes she’s made and tells her so many lies over and over again that she now believes them as truth even though she truly knows they are just lies.

Waking up also comes with the realization that she’ll have to bear another day and another night fighting with her demons and her thoughts that will slowly destroy her no matter what. These thoughts and demons convince her that she doesn’t matter and that she’s worthless. They convince her that she’s unworthy of love from anyone and everyone, including herself. She thinks that everyone would be better off if she just got it over with and killed herself, then no one would have to deal with her existence anymore, and their lives would be better. But she knows that truly they don’t feel this way and killing herself doesn’t end the pain. It just passes it on to other people, and they don’t deserve to feel the way she feels. She wishes no one else would have to endure the pain and battles she fights every day.

This girl hates herself so much that she can barely look in the mirror because she’s filled with so much disgust when she does. She sees herself, and immediately, her mind says “Ew, gross.” She picks out everything that is wrong with what she sees. Once she is filled with enough disgust to look away and further her depressed mood, she continues her day wishing she wasn’t alive and wondering why people even stay around her. She hates having her picture taken because she knows she will just look gross and disgusting. Even if she does get her picture taken, she can’t bear to look at it because she knows she will hate it, so she just avoids looking at any picture of herself. She can’t even see her own shadow without wishing she were skinnier and less awkward.

Every time she walks past a window or mirror and catches a glimpse of her reflection, she wishes she could destroy the window because then her reflection will be gone, or at least she would hurt herself, so it would take her mind off her image. By destroying the window, she can destroy the image of herself while simultaneously hurting both her reflection and her own physical self. She hates herself so much that she just wants to rip her skin apart and hope she can change at least some aspect of how she looks. She scratches and cuts her arm and thighs because it takes her mind off things, so she can have some peace from the demons in her mind. She cuts her skin deeply enough, so it bleeds but not so deep that it leaves too permanent of damage.

Any mistake she makes triggers her urges, and every day she fights them along with the rest of her demons. She wishes people would see her cuts, scratches and scars, because maybe if people saw them, they would see what she’s going through and somehow get help. She doesn’t know how to ask for the help she needs from her family or friends without sounding like she’s seeking attention or hurting those around her. At the same time, she doesn’t want anyone to see her cuts because they may see her as attention seeking, disgusting, and pathetic. She knows that there are some people who won’t feel this way, but it still scares her to know that there is a possibility that they might. She’s also afraid to tell her family about it because she’s afraid of the judgement. She was able to tell a few people about it because she needed support in order to recover. But because they know about her problem with coping this way, she feels so ashamed because she’s so messed up and knows she shouldn’t be hurting herself. Even though she knows of other ways to cope that help, she feels like it’s the only one that truly works.

Along with these feelings and thoughts is the realization that things could escalate more and become so bad that she might try to kill herself. This scares her and makes her feel worse for even contemplating such things. She thinks about how it would hurt those around her even if she feels like the ones she cares about don’t care. Thinking about hurting them like this makes her feel worse about herself, so she’s stuck in this cycle of self-hatred trying to survive.

She hates herself so much that she can barely eat or drink anything because she feels like she doesn’t deserve it. Her body begs her for nutrition, but her mind tells her “No, what have you done today to deserve that? All you have done is lie in bed all day; you don’t need that, and you definitely don’t deserve it.” Even if she has been out all day being productive and responsible, her mind still tells her that it wasn’t enough. Most of the time her body will win, but her mind is still in control, only allowing her to eat and drink the bare minimum. Sometimes her mind will be so clouded from hunger that she forgets she’s not supposed to eat and end up eating so much so quickly that it’s unhealthy. After she eats, she feels guilt and shame. She tells herself that it won’t happen again and that she’ll just starve. This only lasts until the next time she’s so hungry that she forgets, and the cycle begins again.

She goes through all these things almost every day. Some days are better than others, and some are worse. She has felt like this for several years, and she doesn’t know who she really is anymore because she has fought with her mind for so long. She has been at war with herself and is somehow always losing. She’s so exhausted from her battles, but she knows she must keep on living and trying because if she doesn’t, she knows she will just be even more of a failure. This is what her life is like to her, and she can barely keep on going like this.

 I know this girl. She needs help and support because she needs to live, not just survive. You now know this girl too but not who she really is. Everyone I know knows her as well, but they aren’t aware.

I too know this girl. In fact, we share a name and a life because this girl is me.

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