I am only 23. I am already tired of being alive.
I don’t know when it happened, or how, but only that it’s never taken a moment to rest, to let me rest. I watch those I love go through phases, bouts of mental illness. Something triggers it. Something changes. Shortly after they seek treatment, their symptoms lift, the fog lifts, they feel as if their baseline is not so far from present.
I watch others enter and leave the room I’m in. I, however, feel shackled to the walls, only able to peer past the glass boundaries to the world I could be living in.
I want to think that the cause is the impossible standards I place on myself, the rape, the pain, the unmanaged symptoms, the academic rigor, the burden of a mind with dual interests, a seemingly split existence. I want to think it’s because I can’t form stable relationships. Because I isolate myself. Because I shut people out. Because I covet solitude until it’s taken from me. I would love to imagine that the blame is solely on that which is out of my control. And partly, I’m sure it is.
I once was in an IOP program where I learned some very valuable coping skills. I learned to predict when and how it would happen. I learned to stop trying to kill myself in ways that ultimately were never going to work. I learned to acknowledge and embrace my need to kill myself. To think through it logically. To understand when i meant it in my core.
I learned to separate the person I am, the person I think I am, and the person others think I am. I know that when I must speak about myself publicly, applications, etc, I must tap into the person others think I am. I must pretend to be an attractive, interesting, talented, intelligent woman. I have to be sarcastic, but only because that’s my sense of humor. Not because it’s the only way I can cope.
I must wait until I am alone, to scream, to cry, to wait until the urge to hurt myself passes. I must wait for my mindful, logical brain to tell the pathetic parts of me to stop. Pull yourself together.
I’ve learned to do a lot of things to keep myself alive. To be resilient. To work through moments of difficulty, and mostly to do it alone.
I am trying to enter into a field and career where the goal is to make sure everyone has the ability to reach a baseline. Where they can find health in order to pursue that which makes life valuable. I am trying to be a person whose sole purpose is to keep people alive because they find life valuable.
But I don’t even value my own life. How can that be.
I want to explore the notion that everything will not be okay, depression, bipolar, anxiety, borderline, schizophrenic, whatever ails you, it may not be okay. I think you just have to find a point where the things are manageable. Where you can be purposeful despite your circumstances. If that never happens, it’s also okay to be selfish about it. No one should experience this much pain. Especially when it originates from inside.
I’m struggling with that last part.
S., age 23