I want to tell you that lately, I haven’t been doing so great. I want to tell you that I exist on a spectrum of emotion (and lack thereof), and how it is constantly teeter-tottering from one extreme to the next. With me, there is no middle ground. No. Instead, I’ve been living on the edge, on the precipice that overlooks the surf spiralling beneath me. And sometimes, I let my toes hang over just enough to feel the ocean spitting against my flesh, close enough to flirt with the chaos below.
I often find myself in this place, this place that straddles the border between life and death. I come here when I am feeling too much, when destroying myself seems to be the only way to get rid of the thoughts that occupy my mind. The thoughts that clash against my skull violently, telling me, “Nobody wants you. Nobody needs you. Nobody loves you. You are worthless. You are Nothing”–this has become my mantra. This is the song I hate but play on repeat anyway, its mournful chorus echoing painfully throughout my psyche.
And every night, anxiety waltzes with depression across the headboard. Because where one goes, the other surely follows. They’re lovers, you see, bound together in holy matrimony. Inseparable, they recite their vows to each other while I sleep, reminding me that only death may do them part. Maybe this is why I toss and turn so much. Why I wake up in a panic for no apparent reason to an oppressed heart palpitating in my chest, bile festering in my stomach and an awful coldness seeping into my bones. Maybe that is why I always seem to greet 4:00 AM with a trembling body and a face full of tears. Maybe that is why I feel the need to take four melatonins every night even though I am only supposed to take two. And maybe that is why I start drinking before the sun comes up, sipping vodka from a bendy straw as I sway wistfully to sad music.
Some days it seems like my only friends are a Chewed-Up-Pencil, the Lined Pages of my Journal, and a Sharpener. Because I know that the Pencil won’t crumble under the weight of my words and that the Pages will listen to me without hesitation. But sometimes, writing poetry isn’t even enough to alleviate this pain. That’s where the sharpener comes in. And, no, I do not use it sharpen my chewed-up-pencil. Because, for me, it has other uses.
I’m afraid I’ve had a relapse. I’m afraid I was eleven weeks clean, but then I wasn’t. You thought I stopped, but I hadn’t; I have simply gotten better at hiding it. I have become accustomed to keeping secrets, to sweeping things under the rug, letting them grow heavy with dust. But you have to understand that some days, I can’t stand being in my own skin. Because some days, I want to tear myself apart until there is nothing left.
But there are also times when I can’t feel anything, times when I am so helplessly empty. There are times when apathy decides to devour me, picking his teeth with my bones once he’s finished. And maybe this heart of mine is just looking for a little bit of peace from all the hurting. But in the midst of snuffing out all that hurt, she has also made any hope for happiness seem impossible.
I want to tell you that I am not happy. I want to tell you that I paint a smile onto my face only to disguise the fact that my mind is a war zone–so far, the casualties have been great. And I do not know if I can keep living like this, constantly teeter-tottering from one extreme to the next, incapable of finding middle ground. I can’t keep living on the edge, I can’t always be an onlooker of the sea fermenting furiously below me. Because one day I will fall in, and on that day I will no longer be flirting with the chaos. No—I’ll be fucking with it. And that will be the day I drown.
I need someone to hold me. Someone to steady me when I begin teeter-tottering. Someone to help me find middle ground. Someone to pull me away from the edge. And, if it came down to it, someone to catch me if I were to ever fall.
Do you think you could be that someone?
Because if you are, then I have something I want to tell you.
“Where does it hurt?” you ask her.
“Everywhere,” she replies.