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When I was a little girl, I used to write in journals…that is, until my mother found them and I’d abandon them. I stopped writing for a long time…and writing is like breathing. Privacy is a huge deal to me.

I started this Tumblr four years ago chiefly as a way for my friends to see how I was doing mentally when I was symptomatic and didn’t feel like talking (and to a much lesser degree, so I could work on my creative non-fiction). It’s always been easier for me to compose myself on paper. I would either give these trusted people the web address personally, or I would link posts to my locked Twitter account. Over time, I started linking posts to different Tumblr hashtags, and I met people through them. It’s fine if they read what I write, because by tagging posts I invited them in to the conversation.

I intentionally don’t use my last name here, and try to avoid major identifying details, because I don’t want my family to be able to find this. (If you’ve been reading for a while, you understand the bigger story why.) I cannot possibly write honestly otherwise, nor can I be honest about my feelings to myself. And the first person we lie to is ourselves. This is a very, very, very personal space that I make semi-public only so I can a) interact with other people who have my disease, b) keep my dear friends, who are my family, updated, and c) just get these emotions out of me. Making a Tumblr was by far the simplest solution to all three.

This is not the first time I’ve written about the importance I place on privacy.

But I’ve also had a stat tracker on here from day one. I can tell how you found my Tumblr, whether it’s through hashtags, a link I put on Twitter, or if you just googled until you found it. I can tell locations, service providers, times, and IP addresses. I can tell many things.

And someone in Tuscaloosa has been reading this blog A LOT this year—at one point upwards of seven times a day. It backed off for a while, so I kinda let it go. I like to think it’s because they realized that reading someone’s blog about extremely personal things without them knowing or giving access is, at best, an ethical grey area.
But this person’s rearing up again.

I don’t know anyone who lives in Tuscaloosa. And I know you sure didn’t find my blog through hashtags or via Twitter. I have suspicions.
If I’m right, I’m furious.

I would love to know who you are, how you found this space, and what your intentions could possibly be. I’m almost positive you have no business being here or even reading this. This space isn’t for you.

What mental illness feels like.

You’re stuck in the middle of the ocean. You never asked to be dropped here, but you found yourself there just the same. If you’re lucky, you have different life preservers there to keep you afloat—medication, therapy, friends—and to keep your head above water. But things below the surface pull at you from time to time. Your legs get so tired from treading water.

Sometimes, people who don’t have mental illnesses come by in a boat. “You can get in the boat if you really want to!” they’ll say.

But the truth is you can’t get out of the water—the current’s too choppy, and things beneath the surface try and pull you under. People in the boat can’t see them, can’t feel them, and sometimes don’t believe they even exist.

You know the truth and feel the terrifying coldness trying to pull you under. There’s no getting out of the water. It’s not possible.

There’s only hoping you could outlast the darkness lurking just beneath the water.

I don’t think anyone reads this anymore, and I can’t blame them. It may seem like I’m whining and rambling, but I cannot think of what else I should or could even do. I don’t really feel like writing, but I have to get this out of me and my hands won’t stop shaking. Tonight is a night where I’m terrified, dejected, upset, and deflated all at once. I am so utterly powerless. Admitting to any of this means owning up to very unattractive emotions…but none of that matters anymore. It’s pointless.

I want so much to drink myself into oblivion, but I have too much self control for that. I’m not bragging. Self control is annoying.

Several bad things collided at once this afternoon to the point where when I left to go home, I turned off the radio and started sobbing and praying out loud as I drove. It wasn’t depression—I could name every reason why my heart was screaming. But that didn’t help me at all.

That I didn’t crash my car surprises me.

I got very, very honest with God: “I don’t know why this year has been the hell that it’s been, why people I love dearly keep getting sick and dying, why I’m still stuck, why I pray so hard about my life, ask for direction, get direction and follow it, and then watch it all fall apart. I don’t know why my prayers go nowhere. I don’t know why things just keep getting worse.”

"I don’t know what I did or where I went wrong. I made every right decision along the way…every single one. I’ve been fighting the feeling that I did something wrong or that I deserve this (that’s past abuse whispering in my ear.) I have been trying SO hard to hope anyway, to have faith anyway, and nothing has changed. I don’t know why I am trapped in this, no matter what I do. Why does this keep following me? What am I supposed to do???"

I kept praying: “Me praying all these prayers and nothing changing at all makes me feel so stupid and so crazy. I don’t know if You’re listening at all to me, because it sure doesn’t appear that You are. I don’t understand why nothing actually changes. I can’t see any of the ways You’re working; I don’t even know if You’re working in my life anymore. I have nothing left…nothing. I don’t even know what to say anymore.”

Recently I prayed very specifically for a nudge, for a sign, that I shouldn’t give up believing in something. And I got one. But getting that sign and having nothing about it change at all simply makes me feel bat-shit insane, like my prayers are just the garbled ravings of a mad woman. Faith is so excruciating when you have to constantly double-check that you’re not believing the lies of your own mind. I can’t count the times I’ve prayed, “Lord please don’t let me believe things that aren’t real.” I fear that prayer falls on deaf ears, and I’m doomed to be crazy and alone no matter what I do.

I’ve long since exceeded my ability to handle any of these problems, much less all of them together.

I’ve felt for a long time that the reason I’m still alive isn’t for my benefit. If I’m being honest, all I truly want to do is go to sleep and not wake up. But I know me hurting myself would devastate my parents, and I don’t want that. I just can’t help feeling they would be better off without me, the daughter who cannot get her life together, and don’t know it yet. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m perpetually in the way and am just a waste of space.

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