i hear it, skittering around at night. feel it gnawing on my fingers while i sleep sometimes. and when i wake up, there is blood on the sheets. but it’s all right…
i see it, out of the corner of my eye. its teeth sharp; red eyes glowing in the dark. it is quiet, and polite. and it reminds me of myself sometimes.
on those endless, burning summer nights. when i stare into the mirror, and i look like someone else. but maybe i’m tired… maybe it’s just a trick of the light…
i can feel it. as the the mouse scrambles up onto my shoulder, and stares back at me, smiling crookedly.
and i hate it. as i lie still as a statue, allowing it to deconstruct my body. tunnel swiss-cheese holes into my chin, as it chatters happily.
but… maybe i can’t help but love it, too. in all honesty.
I feel so broken, sometimes. And I think the worst part is, that in all honesty, I’m not good at hiding it. In theory, I’m sure I could–but I’m too busy for that, and also a shit liar.
In my mind, though, I am a careerwoman. A beautiful, golden success. I am professional, kickass,, and okay, and keep mental health as far away from my work life as possible.
In reality, though, I mean… I did a little gardening gig for a family friend a few weeks ago, and he would always offer me water, on these really hot days when I’d been in full sun for hours on end. And I’d always say no, until I literally thought I might pass out. I worked faster and faster, out of fear of costing him too much money. I purposefully put out my back one time. And I couldn’t help but get obsessed over these little things that weren’t quite right, and what started out as “attention to detail” quickly became toxic perfectionism. I don’t know if he noticed or cared; could see my mess of a mind peeking out from beneath the paperthin mask, but it made me feel awful.
You know, it’s funny. I’ve only cried in front of my best friends a couple of times. I cry in public a fair bit to be honest–potentially more than I cry in my house. (By public, I mean at nine o’clock on my street with two people in sight, but still.)
And yet in front of friends or family; people who could actually hurt me in a meaningful way if they wanted, while I’m in that state of vulnerability–that’s what scares me. That’s why I never let it happen, and why I always try to brush it off, say I’m fine, even though I know perfectly well I’m not fooling anyone.
Despite how far I’ve come in terms of dealing with my own internalized stigma, despite all of my inner circle of friends knowing about my mental illness, I still desperately want to come across as fine, and healthy to them. No matter how obvious it is I’m not either of those things.
Lots of love,