Normal.

I think I was in high school when I first had the thought. Or middle school? I remember I what road I was driving on in my home town when I visualized it.

I wished I could take a syringe and plunge it through my skin. I wished I could extract pain. It was this clear liquid, a little more dense than water. And I would take out enough to fill this clear, glass box that didn’t have a lid. Then, when someone came by and touched it, they could feel what I felt. And they could tell me if they felt pain like that too or if mine was different. They wouldn’t take the pain, it would still be mine, but they’d be able to understand.

I thought of that again today. And this time, I’d add doctors. Doctors and biologists and chemists and psychologists. They could touch the pain and feel it and test it and study it. Then they could tell me if it was normal. They could tell me that if what I’m feeling, what I’m experiencing, is normal and I’m just being dramatic and making a big deal out of nothing. Or they could tell me if it wasn’t normal. They could tell me if I needed help.

I feel like my mind shut me off to something the other day. Like this giant, metal garage door came crashing down, trapping me in this room, this box. And the sound was deafening. I feel like I’m reeling from the shock of that door hitting the cement ground and sending shock waves up my legs and my body and into my brain. And now I’m dazed, wondering what the hell to do next and if that giant, metal door is even real in the first place.

How do I explain that to someone? That feeling? Because it’s not going to make sense to anyone. It doesn’t even make sense to me.

If I could just extract the pain and allow you to just briefly touch it, you could tell me if it was normal.

-Melissa

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Count.

1
2
3
4
5

I’m supposed to count
Calories now
Apparently

The doctor looked at me
Told me he hadn’t meant
To make
Me cry
Told me eighty percent of my diet
Should be fruits
And vegetables

60
70
100
250
790

But I didn’t know
About calories
How many one needs
To
you know
Live.

So I almost passed out in the shower this morning.

Doesn’t seem fair
I was trying to do
What I was told
eighty percent
But I almost passed out in the shower this morning.

She called me
My blood results were in
Everything was normal
Perfect
But he’d still like me
To eat eighty percent fruits
And vegtables

And also:
No meat
No gluten
No dairy
And stay away from
All that processed sugar
[thanks America]

320
450
590
630
800

I’ve been doing my best
Though I don’t know
What the other twenty percent is

And I almost passed out in the shower this morning.

And there’s ice cream in the freezer

My plate, full of fruits and vegtables
A little bit of cheesy rice

I told him
“I almost passed out in the shower this morning”

He looked at my plate
“I don’t think you’re eating enough calories”

“Well how many is this?”

He looked at my plate again,
He doesn’t know
He guesses probably
four hundred

“How many am I supposed to have?”

“Probably around seventeen hundred a day”

I’m trying to do what I was told
Trying to eat
eighty percent
Trying to track my food

Now I have to count calories too?

500
650
900
970
1000

Yes.
Because I almost passed out in the shower this morning.

 

-Melissa

They.

They tell you if you eat better, your mood will improve. That your brain is attached to your gut. That if you eat healthy foods, the negative feelings will lesson.

They say if you go to therapy, it will help. They say if you talk about things, you’ll start to feel better. That if you fork over that co-pay every week, you’ll start to reap the benefits.

They say if you exercise, you’ll start feeling more positive. That exercise releases endorphins and you’ll be happier. They say your mood is connected to your body and, if your body feels good, your brain will feel good too.

I think they (whoever they are), I think they’re right. I know there’s science they could stack in front of me and say, “See! Ha! There’s the proof!” I don’t doubt it.

But I am eating better. My doctor has asked that 80% of my diet be fruits and vegetables and I am following that to the best of my ability. But it’s only been a week.

But I did go to therapy. She and I didn’t click and the techniques she used are too experimental. I went. But I only went twice.

But I do exercise. It’s not vigorous. I walk about five miles a day. And I have been doing so for at least the past year, if not the past year and a half. But that’s all I do.

I just… I woke up this morning in the weight. My bones feel hollow and laced with exhaustion. My thoughts are slow. My body feels silent.

I want to sit somewhere quiet. Somewhere comfortable. I want my phone to be muted. Somewhere warm. I want to sit somewhere where I don’t face any expectations. Where no one is demanding or asking anything of me. Where someone I care about is sitting next to me. Where I don’t have to think or speak.

I wish this feeling could be helped. But honestly? I don’t think it can. Maybe it can for others. I know how ridiculous and narcissistic it sounds – I know it sounds like I think I am the double standard to the rest of the human race – but I don’t think it can be helped for me.

-Melissa

Didn’t.

I didn’t want to go back.

I didn’t want to go back to be bombarded with responsibilities. I didn’t want to go back and have people who didn’t know me talk to me. Talk at me. Ask me questions. Expect something I can’t give.

And, if I got past that, I didn’t want to go back to the quiet. I didn’t want to lay in bed. To try to sleep. To then not sleep well.

I didn’t want to wake up tired or angry or sad or numb or any combination of those things. I didn’t want the fight of knowing I should get out of bed and staying anyway. I didn’t want the pressure of having to leave my bed, my safe space, and move through another day that would be tiring and long and taxing.

I didn’t want to go back.

I went back anyway.

– Melissa

Blackout.

I could seee
A bit
Fragmented light peering
Cautiously
Over blackout shades
The ceiling bland
Staring
Dejected
In and through grey
Thinking of the day

Ahead
There’s water
In my eyes
how is it
That a normal day
Can make me weak
Without even
Stepping foot in it?
How is it
That this bland
This darkness

Is more appealing?
Promise myself
I will get through
There won’t be
Any need
To perform
To be
Anything
At all
Where I can
Where I will
Only lay in quiet
My only friend

Sleep
To keep me company
Promise myself
I’ll make it
Back
To the blackout shades

Muddled.

Thank you
Smile
I’m grateful
Let’s laugh
And sing
Strengths
Positivity
Growth
Hope

I can still feel it
The weight of something
My brain muddled
Softened
Sensitive
Anger soothed
Over a thick layer
Of sadness

I wonder
If this is who I am
Who I am now
If I am bound
For hopelessness

The sky is peaceful
The chill is calming
Our footsteps are soft
The snow is slick
Our breathing slow
The stars begging
The darkness revealing

Sadness is unbecoming
So I’ll keep mine quiet
Sadness breeds quiet
At least in me
In my
Muddled mind

I wonder
If this is who I am
Who I am now

-Melissa

Out.

You said I should say the words in my head out loud. So here it goes.

Today when I had a few minutes to myself, I decided to stay in for dinner. As soon as the door shut behind me, I could feel that thing in my chest. That thing where it feels like my whole chest is tightening.

I paced around my apartment for a while, eating an apple. I told myself it’s because I needed the steps but really it was because I needed the energy to wear off. When I settled a bit, I turned on the tv. The noise helps. I don’t know why the noise helps.

This happens a lot. I can be alone for a minute and the feeling hits me. Sometimes I’m with people when I feel it. Sometimes it makes me shudder because I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin. Have you ever seen me shudder? I try to be subtle about it so people don’t notice me.

It hurts, you know? It makes me feel restless and tired at the same time. All I want to do is stay in bed all day, every day. But that’s frowned upon.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t be alone because the silence is pressing in on every side of me and threatening to suffocate me. So then I either try to distract myself or be with other people. Sometimes I go and sit with you or others while you’re working – not because I need anything, but because you’re safe and I need the presence of someone who is safe. And I’m really scared that you’re going to get sick of me coming to sit with you or that others will and I can’t really explain to you why I need to or want to, just that I do. And I do. But when you combine that with the fact that I always assume my friends are on the verge of leaving me… well, it’s fucking miserable.

You said I should say the words in my head out loud. But I can’t. So here they are: written for the world to see but not for anyone I know to read.

-Melissa