Thoughts On Feeling Inadequate

I intended to post this on Friday (the 7th), but in a stroke of cosmic irony, my inadequacy peaked that night. Writing this after the fact is… more powerful.

I hit a low point when it came to feeling valid as a human being. As in, I didn’t feel like I deserved to be alive. (Don’t worry, nothing happened aside from a crying session.) I felt inadequate in every aspect of my life: physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, romantically, sexually… The list goes on, but it was generally in that order.

There are so many ways to feel like you’re not good enough.

I shrunk one of my favourite shirts in the dryer, because my memory wasn’t good enough to remember it was in the wash; because my attention wasn’t good enough to look out for it when I changed the load over from the washer to the dryer; because my body wasn’t good enough to fit into a smaller size.

I had been feeling like crap for the entire day, but when it was 10:00pm and I was folding laundry, and there was one of my favourite shirts I’ve had for half a year… The domino toppled and so did all of the pent-up inadequacies I had lined up. It was one thing after another, a catalogue of how I wasn’t good enough at anything.

That was a few days ago, and I still haven’t picked up the dominoes and put them in a box. I haven’t lined up the things I’m good at. I haven’t lined up the reasons why I’m good enough. I haven’t had a chance to reflect on why I’m okay as a human being, and why I don’t have to be The Best to exist.

I’m going to play the mental illness card again: my PTSD makes me extra hard on myself. I’m significantly reduced compared to the “normal” or neurotypical standards. I feel like less of a person because of things that happened to me that I, for some reason, can’t let go of. How is it that things beyond my control come back to haunt me? Why does my brain hold on to things that hurt it? What do I need to do to make myself good enough to see that I’m good enough?

The standard to which I hold myself is unattainable. I can never reach it. Yet my mind and self-perception constantly reflect back to those standards, to the aspects that will make me worthy.

It’s times like these that I transcend my body in the worst possible way. Dissociation acts as my safety blanket, but it’s the same as starving yourself in order to avoid food poisoning. Haven’t we all learned that “abstinence-only” tactics aren’t the same as being informed about hazards? Living is a risk and dissociating is my way of avoiding risk. Dissociating is the closest I can get to separating from life without committing suicide.

It has been a significant amount of time since I said aloud, “I want to die,” and meant it. I hold back tears now as I look back at myself curled on the bed, weeping around the words. I see myself holding the worn out domino pieces I played with before therapy, before getting help, before putting effort into my well-being, before my diagnosis that explains so much of myself—before valuing myself even a marginal amount.

I’m better now, in the relative sense. It’s not like I’ve put away all the dominoes, but they’re no longer strewn, encircled, around me and keeping me hostage. They’re shoved to the side and I can see past them a little bit. But they’re still there. They’re still within grasp. I still want to set them up again and watch myself topple, because lining up these pieces and seeing how far the line goes seems to be the only thing I’m consistently good enough at doing.

Mindfulness for My Mental Health

The biggest thing I took away from my therapy was how mindfulness can help me. It isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely for me.

“Mindfulness” means something different to everyone. For me, I’m being mindful and aware when I don’t have dozens of thoughts swirling through my head. I’m mindful when thoughts come and go easily. I’m mindful when I’m not replaying memories without control. I’m mindful when I’m not instantly forgetting information after repeatedly taking it in.

Ways I practise mindfulness:

Bullet journalling

Through planning and being aware of my days, weeks, and the future, I get a better grasp on myself. I find I dissociate a lot less when I’ve got a solid plan—or even a loose one—than when I’m just flying through life spontaneously. I don’t do a lot of journalling in the traditional sense (anymore), like a diary. But the bullet journal is still one heck of a journal.

Tarot reading

Doing a few spreads and asking the cards a certain question (“What can I expect from my day?” for instance) or doing a quick check-in for my body, mind, and spirit lets me hone in on myself. I can see what’s bothering me or what I want in the subconscious while also attaching those feelings to something more tangible. The symbols, metaphors, and long-standing history of tarot give me a place to translate my emotions. I don’t aim to read the future or anything like that—but tarot is a great way to reconnect spiritually with myself.

Guided meditation

One of my favourite websites for guided meditations is Fragrant Heart. I will also occasionally do a self-guided meditation, either in silence, or using atmospheric sounds like rain and wind. Meditation helps the most. The best analogy for meditation is that I’m sitting in a car in the passenger seat and watching my thoughts like trees along the side of the road. I can acknowledge the trees without focusing on them or distracting myself from them. The core to meditation is not to let your mind go blank: it’s to acknowledge your thoughts and let them pass by.

Yoga

Psychosomatic treatment was a focus of my therapist’s, and yoga was something I started doing before I went to therapy. Yoga combines the meditation with awareness about my body. Yoga isn’t a workout for me. It’s how I connect my emotional, bodily, and spiritual parts.


All of these ways let me meditate on myself and, in turn, let me be more in-tune with myself. I have less brain fog and feel more present. I’ve lived most of my life being dissociated and disconnected. Finding ways that make me feel real and whole are valuable and irreplaceable.

My PTSD

I first started seeking help for my mental health in 2011 when I said to my parents, “I think I have depression.” My father then revealed to me that he has depression (something he has been successfully managing since 2013!) and mental illness is frequent in our family.

A year ago, in February of 2016, I saw my third therapist: a trauma counsellor with a focus on spirituality, psychosomatic medicine, and cognitive behaviour therapy. She was a fantastic fit. I can’t stress enough how therapy is most successful if you have a therapist who actually helps you.

I had seen two other therapists who specialised in treating depression, and though I could have gone on antidepressants (I fully support them!), I didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like I was being treated the way I should have. I didn’t feel like depression was the end of my mental health struggles. I felt like there was more that I needed to figure out.

During the standard first meeting with my most recent therapist, she instructed me to get comfortable. In retrospect, when she saw me assume the Lotus Position in my socked feet, she knew exactly how to approach my treatment. I remember having doubts about how successful our work would be, and she challenged that. While sitting on the couch, I told her in detail about my life and the experiences that mattered to me. She told me I have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that it might be complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). She told me how a traumatic life, specifically childhood, can lead to PTSD in adulthood.

Everything clicked for me. It made sense: I wasn’t just depressed. I was traumatised over decades. I developed PTSD.

Often, I feel like saying I have PTSD is a sham. I’m not a military vet, I didn’t grow up in a war-torn country, and I haven’t experienced sexual assault. There are so many “poster child” representations of PTSD that feel more valid to me than my own—hence why complex-posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) has been proposed. I grew up and experienced more frequent trauma, on average, than people my age.

But I still have PTSD. I say PTSD for simplicity’s sake, though it’s really C-PTSD. I haven’t found much difference between the two for me personally, but I know others have a different experience with PTSD and C-PTSD.

So that’s why I’m writing this post: to share my experiences with my mental illness.

My PTSD and experience with it mean that I am…

  • prone to violent anger.
  • prone to psychotic episodes, where I can’t discern reality from imagination, dreams, hallucinations, or delusions.
  • unable to regulate emotions, particularly strong emotions.
  • afraid of developing dependency on substances like alcohol and strong painkillers.
  • terrible at sleeping normally.
  • terrible at remembering things without having a record of them.
  • dissociating frequently from my body, to the point where I can wake up, go through an entire day, and not remember what happened by the time I’m in bed again.
  • triggered when events, sounds, and images are similar to the traumas I’ve experienced.
  • unpredictable and a lot to handle emotionally and mentally, especially for myself.
  • comorbidly suffering from depression and anxiety.
  • struggling with grief.
  • suicidal and ideating suicide more often than not.
  • controlling, with very specific preferences.

Like all mental disorders and illnesses, it’s impossible for me to separate myself from mine. I have PTSD, and I expect the rest of my life will be a journey of coping, surviving, and managing my mental illness. I have lots of resources and good methods for working through it, but I’m always struggling.

Therapy Diary: Mindfulness

Blue and white paint splattered and dripping down a black wall.

When I was in therapy last year, my counsellor told me that the goal for our sessions would be creating mindfulness. There were a number of ways we worked through being aware of my body and my emotions. Because my PTSD is very dissociative, it means there’s a mind-emotion-body disconnect. I often feel “outside” of myself in varying ways. Sometimes I am a floating balloon being held by my body. Sometimes I am a suitcase being dragged. Dissociation is a beast in itself and I wrote a short blog post on it a few months ago. This post acts as a bit of a follow-up.

Along with the exercises we did, such as identifying where an emotion existed in the body and describing it (anger being in my throat, or despair being in my belly—that kind of thing), I use or have used these tools to become more aware and mindful of my entire existence:

  • journalling
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • tarot reading

I don’t journal as much as I used to while I was in therapy. I think this is because I’ve gotten better at being mindful/aware/in-tune/etc. Journalling was a very explicit way of creating awareness of my emotions and my body, and the relationship between the two.

These days, I lean toward yoga, meditation, and tarot reading. The yoga helps with my mind-body connection, with a focus on my body and how it connects within itself. The meditation points me toward the relationship between my mind and body while emphasising my emotions, feelings, and thoughts.

Tarot reading is a new one, though. I grasp onto symbols and metaphors, and that’s all tarot is. I don’t use a classic tarot deck, with Major Arcana and whatnot. Instead, I use regular 52-card playing cards with numbers and suits. There’s an additional layer of abstraction with these cards. The symbols and metaphors come from interpretation of the numbers and the suits. Instead of seeing a moon or a sun, I have to consider my own intuition and understanding for the numbers and suits.

When it comes to the tarot reading, I do a combination of reading cards for in-depth interpretation of a single card, or I do a self-reading with a 3- or 4-card spread. Some spreads require a question to answer, and others are assessment or guidance spreads. I don’t read the cards for prophecy or fortune-telling. I read them so there’s somewhere I can project my worries, concerns, desires, and intuitions.

On the whole, creating mindfulness has been the key to lessening my dissociative states—whether by frequency or intensity. I have been plagued by a constant disconnect between my mind and body because connecting the two was dangerous during my traumatic childhood. There’s been a lot of learning, trial and error, and patience involved. I have to constantly work in order to hinder the PTSD from dictating my life, but I’m finding ways that let me progress.

I’m Not Doing Great

This is a spontaneous blog post.

But I’m not doing the greatest lately. I’d say since my rabbit died. PTSD makes events like death, loss of other forms, and stress a whole heap harder. This hasn’t been my first grief and mourning. That’s probably what makes it hard. My sadness has been compounded.

And I am one of little faith. It’s hard for me to hear the phrases, “They’re in a better place now,” and feel comfort. I struggle to be a spiritual person, despite the fact that I know it helps me. Not religion–never religion. But spirituality… I need it. And I haven’t been able to practise it in any way.

I’m trying to find places to lay blame. Sources where I can say, “Yes, if I stop this, it’ll stop the flow of horrible lethargy.” But the thing is, there are no sources outside of my head. It’s all in my head. It’s all going on in the mush in my skull. My boyfriend is on anti-depressants and thinks they would benefit me.

I don’t think anti-depressants would help me.

The ball-and-chain isn’t just the lethargy. It’s a long metal linkage of trauma, paranoia, hallucinations, forgetfulness, depression, and lethargy.

I’d go back to therapy, but it was offered through my school. And I’m no longer in school. I don’t think I have the funds to seek out additional therapy–and let’s be real here, I don’t want to have to unpack two decades of crap again to someone who might not be helpful.

I’m trying to remember the things I learned from therapy. I’m trying to remember the things that helped me. I’m trying to remember that I have the tools to get better. I’m trying to remember. I’m trying to remember how it feels to be a person again. I’m trying to feel okay again.

Bullet Journal for Mental and Chronic Illness

I’ve been using my bullet journal as a way of managing and being more aware of my mental illness. If I had a chronic physical illness, I’d be doing some similar things to see if there are trends and to overall manage it.

Currently, I’m looking at the mood aspect of my mental illness. In my monthly tracker—which you can see in my October 2016 monthly spreads—I’m looking at the following:

  • Overall “quality” of the day, with a legend
  • Binge-eating
  • Self-harm or thoughts of self-harm (including suicide idealisation)
  • Self-care
    • Washing face in the morning and evening
    • Brushing teeth in the morning and evening
    • Yoga
    • Meditation
    • Exercise

On the daily pages this month, I’ve been looking at my energy levels throughout the day. I use a bar graph with the time on the X/horizontal axis, and a 0 – 5 scale for the energy on the Y/vertical axis. Here’s the long-form description of those numbers:

  • 0 = asleep
  • 1 = very low energy; sluggish; desire to lie down or sleep
  • 2 = low energy; begrudgingly doing things; not very aware of surroundings; habitual tasks
  • 3 = normal energy; doing things; not really leaning toward laziness or excitement
  • 4 = good energy; feeling a bit peppy and not feeling tired in the slightest
  • 5 = high energy; I’m hyper and excited and playful

I also have a weekly tracker that repeats some of the self-care aspects. I’m very bad at taking care of myself, so having the boxes to fill in give me some motivation outside of “I need to take care of myself.”

Other Ways to Manage Your Illness

Your illness is unique to you. You could be suffering from multiple illnesses and need something more intense. Like the post mentioned later, something could show up and you need to figure out what triggers the pain or fatigue or migraines. Here are a few more suggestions of what to include in your bullet journal for your health. Something here might be relevant to your situation!

  • Fill a page with affirmations.
  • Fill a page of self-care ideas and activities.
  • Write journal entries before and after appointments with doctors, therapists, etc.
  • Create a calendar to show your appointments, or when you need to schedule them in the future.
  • Log eating habits, such as when and what you eat. You can also track blood sugar levels and your feelings of energy.
  • Track medication to make sure you’re taking them all at the right times; or, to see what happens if you miss a dose so you aren’t thrown for a complete loop if you do.
  • Track symptoms and their intensity, like headaches, migraines, fatigue, pain (generalised or localised), anxiety, other moods. Like my energy levels, these might be easier to track on an hourly rate, or if you create a table to note the start and end times of certain-intensity symptoms.
  • Track activites and their duration, such as commuting and driving, sitting, walking, standing, or more vigorous activities.
  • Track quantity and quality of your sleep, as well as when you wake up and fall asleep.
  • Track sunrise and sunset times, the hours of daylight, and your energy (for seasonal affective disorder, or to check into your circadian rhythm).

These are just a few ideas for what you can consider in your bullet journal. One of the posts that inspired me was from Ruth at Delightful Planner. She started using the bullet journal after suffering intense back pain. She used the bujo to track the pain, various activities, and medications. Her post is incredibly thorough and was an eye-opening for how I could become more aware of my own health.

Hopefully this helps inspire you!

Your mental health and your physical health are important, and there are so many ways you can manage it. Use this information for your own direction, to help doctors with diagnoses and management plans, or to create more awareness in your mind and body. You’re worth the effort.

Therapy Diary: Dissociation

Blue and white paint splattered and dripping down a black wall.

My dissociation manifests in a few different ways and feelings, and I can compare it with a bunch of metaphors. But it all boils down to a single feeling—of rather, lack of feeling.

My dissociation means I’m not part of reality. I’m not fully in the world I’m interacting in. My body is doing one thing, but my consciousness is distanced.

Sometimes my dissociation is heavy and sometimes it’s light. I’ve described it as half of my existence floating behind me like a helium balloon; or half of my existence being dragged like a suitcase with a broken wheel.

You’d think that being dissociated is easy to notice. But I only notice the way it feels—the heaviness or lightness or distance or closeness—once I know I’m dissociated.

So the disconnect is something that shows up as irritation or lethargy. It’s only after a bit of wondering, “Why am I reacting like this?” that it dawns on me: “Oh… I’m not all here.”

And then what? What do I do once I realise my consciousness isn’t within me?

I try meditating for a few minutes. I try doing a vinyasa or two. I try lighting a scented candle. I try taking a warm shower or a cold shower. I try reading a book. I try playing a video game.

But none of those are fool-proof, sure-fire ways to reassociate with the world. They’re only baby steps.

It’s almost impossible to eliminate the dissociation the day it happens, or even the day after. Sometimes it lasts for a few days. I’ll power through it, but there are days I just can’t. I need to sleep and let myself succumb to another reality (the surreal of dreams).

My therapist told me that it takes time to feel safe enough to “come back” after being dissociated. So I don’t push progress or obligation on it.

Mental Illness and Writing

Mental illness and writing do not go hand-in-hand.

But then again, mental illness doesn’t particularly go hand-in-hand with anything productive.

It hits hard against writing and creative work, however. There are so many thoughts and so much subjectivity that it’s hard to separate from your mental illness. There is also so much production necessary in creative work. And when you’re in bed, depressed, or having a panic attack from your PTSD, it’s nearly impossible to receive anything, let alone produce anything.

A quick list of the things I suffer from:

  • PTSD (as described by my recent counsellor)
  • Depression (as described by my doctor and my previous therapists)
  • Disordered eating (as discovered by lots of googling and common sense)
  • Body and gender dysphoria

So life is difficult. Everything is difficult. Words are difficult and washing my face is difficult. And yes, I say suffer, because fuck do I suffer.

As writers, we’ve heard of and experienced writing burnout. We hustle so hard until we reach a certain point and need to stop. We know there’s something wrong, and we know that continuing at our current pace will spell certain disasters for us.

Having mental illness means I have a reduced capacity for tasks, whether they’re mundane or creative or whatever. Not every day is the same, of course—some days, my mental illness sits and doesn’t bother me. Other days, though, I lie in bed without the energy or desire to brush my teeth, wash my face, or eat something.

When I’m being told constantly that “writers write” and I need to “write every day” and I don’t have the capacity for it? I kinda feel like shit. I already feel guilty for not being able to do things “normally.” Hygiene and eating are such simple tasks, but they can become difficult when my mental illness flares up. Adding writing to that? Adding any kind of creative art to the list of things I need to do? I can’t handle it.

If you have a mental disorder or suffer from a chronic illness, you don’t need to write every day. You don’t need to hustle until you burn out from writing. You can be slow and write small amounts. 5K days aren’t always feasible. Write 100 words if you can. Hug yourself for not writing today if you can’t.

I know I can’t write every day, because 1) I’m a busy student; and 2) I have mental illness and need to prioritise other tasks than writing.

Thoughts On Fluid Sexuality

Decorative image of an overcast sky and brown sand beach.

This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while. I suppose I prefaced this post by writing Types of Being “Out”, but though the topic is related, I’m touching on a different aspect.

Fluidity. Change. I’m not going to spout some bullshit about fearing or embracing change, because that’s not what this post is about.

This post is telling you that sexuality is fluid. It changes. Your sexuality can change as you change. I’m not talking about you realising you’re not straight. I’m talking about you picking a different sexuality to the one you originally came out as.

My personal history

My first memory of being exposed to sexuality identity and sexuality occurred when I was 7. People called me a lesbian.

Through puberty, age 10 – 14, I questioned my sexuality. I settled on bisexual.

In high school, I was exposed to more gender identities other than cisgender man/woman and transgender man/woman. There are more genders than those binary ones. I realised I was pansexual because gender did not influence my choices.

Nowadays, I’m questioning my romanticism—am I demiromantic? Aromantic? I’m not entirely sure. I’m still learning more about myself, and that isn’t just from growing up. It’s from being exposed to other versions of romantic lifestyles. It’s from having relationships with people—romantic or platonic. It’s from learning. There are so many ways for me to think about “romance” and “love,” but there are more that I don’t know about.


What I’m getting at is sexuality is fluid. I grew up with nobody to tell me there was something other than the perceived norm: heterosexual and heteroromantic. Then, I learned about homosexuality, and then bisexuality. I didn’t think about different genders, though I did question my own gender identity. I didn’t know about transgender and non-binary and other genders.

Your identity changes and grows as you learn more about other people’s experiences. I don’t believe anyone who says they’ve never had a questioning phase. There has to be a time where you think, “Wait, does this label apply to me?” You think of your own life and everyone’s lives around you, whether you know them personally or they’re in the media. There’s so much to learn and so much space your mind has to expand into. There are so many ways to love and live.

All of that knowledge and experience is why I think it’s important to teach young people about gender identity and sexuality. I was seven when people started calling me “lesbo.” These were my peers. They knew about something I didn’t. And yes, seven is a young age—but it’s better to be knowledgeable about things.

After all, if someone tells a child that knowing or understanding a concept is wrong, taboo, or “not for them,” how will they look at it when they don’t have a parent censoring what they’re exposed to? How will they react to information when they’re older? Communication is important, and I wish I had it when I was younger so I didn’t have to feel so ashamed of who I was attracted to, who I thought I was, and who I loved.

I wish there had been someone in my life to tell me that I’m allowed to change my mind about my identity. That I didn’t have to stick with the cis I was labelled as, the lesbo I was labelled as, the bisexual I started with, the pansexual I’m at now. I might learn something else. I might decide that, hey, maybe I really am heterosexual. Maybe I’m asexual. Anything goes. I will become someone different than my twenty-something existence now. I may change my mind to better suit and find peace with myself. I wish someone had told me that I didn’t have to decide on a sexuality to have and to hold till death do us part.

So that’s what I’m doing for you.

You can change your mind. You can continue figuring things out. At one point, you didn’t know something. You learned. You formed opinions. You may have eaten mushrooms as a kid, but now you don’t. And that’s okay—just as okay as deciding that, hey, maybe you aren’t what you thought you were. Maybe the shoe doesn’t fit.

Sexuality changes because you change. There’s nothing wrong with figuring out something new.

Decorative image with the post title "Thoughts On Fluid Sexuality" with an overcast beach photograph.

“If I Can Do It, So Can You”

Now to Then

17-year-old with a chance to get away. Where is far enough? Where is too far? What can be achieved while there?

16-year-old with a sibling, recently deceased, a month away from 19.

Police officer.

16-year-old astonished by broken glass shining like a sea on wooden floors.

Police officer.

16-year-old watching a tray of homemade cookies dumped into the trash. Right there. Watching it happen.

16-year-old with a red handprint smear on a cheek.

16-year-old trying to protect the brother who would die next year.

Police officer.

16-year-old and 15-year-old and 14-year-old and 13-year-old and 12-year-old with self-inflicted scars. Grounding. Reconnecting. Punishment, because everyone else was right and this pain is deserved.

14-year-old who told lies about smears of red.

10-year-old curses and more redness smears on a cheek.

Police officer.

10-year-old in a dingy swivel chair, hand placed on a grimy Bible, a coat puffy and protective in a stuffy room. Face the camera. Tell the truth.

8-year-old hiding from broken glass.

Police officer.

A child’s parent wanted The Brady Bunch. A child’s parents tried to make it on their own, tried to avoid debt, failed and failed again. A child strategises, attempts to survive before puberty, and then through it, and then they want to know what the child will do at the beginning of its 50 years of adulthood.

Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt & Guilt

Everything is my damn fault and I need to do everything by myself and nobody helps me and how am I ever going to get a job when I can’t live properly let alone interact with a customer and I sometimes lie catatonic in bed because my mind makes poison in order to feed me and I’m made to feel bad for trying to do anything and for needing help to even get to a job because I live in an inaccessible place and brain.

Now

I saw a chance to get away when applications to colleges and universities were thrown at me. I took it. I took it and didn’t think of the loans. I moved away, free, still not legal (#OctoberBaby), and then the money hit me. It still hits me.

There I was, carving a path for my future while my tools continued breaking and I needed to rent them repeatedly. I’d get the money back somehow. I’d pay for the tools I used, the years it took me to carve through this mountain.

Do not judge my adulthood existence by your journey toward your adulthood. A tree planted in unsuitable soil cannot grow tall and strong, but this isn’t evident until it has grown up some.

Existing is a battle when you have mental illness and are an abuse survivor. In my first year of university, I was almost forced to withdraw from school because my grades were so poor. In my second year of university, I wanted to commit suicide.

It’s hard to consider making money when you’re simply trying to live. To breathe. To wash your damn body. How can I put on a face and say, “How can I help you?” to a customer who might yell at me? Especially if every yell at me brings back memories of trauma.

I sit on 40K and will never have children until I can ensure (and insure) they don’t go through the same financial strife. The same guilt of being another indebted child as I am. My mind and its pools of poison tell me that I owe something to everyone.

And sometimes society tells me I owe something to certain people. I owe nothing to people who biologically created me, but failed to take care of me. Who failed to repair a link every time it was broken. Who failed to say sorry when they hurt me. Who failed to acknowledge that they hurt me.

I owe no explanation to people who managed to work their way through high school, and then college or university. I owe no explanation to people who question my anxiety about finances. I owe no explanation to the acquaintances who want to know why I don’t want to pay $7.99 + tax at a restaurant for a shitty entree, and thus do not want to go out.

We can’t all work through the strife. When you’re a child and all you do is work on living… when you’re a child and your life is only strife… when the glimmers of pleasant memories come so infrequently that you think they’re just nighttime dreams… You can’t make your adult self part of the economic sector without wanting to die. Without waiting for something to jump out of the bushes and tear you apart. Without beating yourself up for not doing everything correctly, for slipping up, for accidentally breaking something at work, for getting an order wrong, for working overtime, for crying in the break room, for snapping at a customer, for avoiding people because otherwise you’ll break under the weight of your own guilty and traumatised conscience.

I am very unemployable, and it isn’t my fault. I’m trying to be better.

I am very much in debt, and it isn’t my fault. I’m trying to work through it.

I chose to go to university. I chose to go into debt. I chose to try and earn something—to earn a degree in the hopes of learning more about myself and about a future career field. I chose and I chose and I chose, and my priorities (1. not dying; 2. not hurting myself; 3. wanting to not do either number 2 or number 3) aren’t the same as yours.

I am not the same as you. We do not have the same story. We do not climb the same mountains. You, with a tall mountain of responsibilities. With crags and nooks that require effort to ascend.

I, with a tall mountain of responsibilities. With wolves and banshees chasing after me. With avalanches called upon by the demon of my childhood. With crags and nooks like yours, but just out of reach of my stunted motivation.

I am not the same as you. Your journey—where you gained something through hard work, by hustling, with careful planning—is not my journey.

My journey—where I needed to work hard to continue going, where I gained an, “Alright, if you want, but we can’t help yet,” and self-doubt, and where I had no rest since my memories began—is not your journey. It is mine. And you have no right to wonder why it is so different from yours as you sit on a rocky outcropping, eating organic trailmix, and ask why I’m still so far down, battered, bruised, with the handicaps of scars and pain slowing me down. The least you could do is shut up. The most you could do is offer some help.

In unrelated thoughts, a happy birthday to my brother today. You would have been 24 and that blows my mind—not the age, but how long you’ve been gone. You stopped ageing when you died and now all of your siblings are older than you.