Things I Wish I’d Said Earlier

tw, cw: mental illness, suicide, eating disorders, loss

Hey, you.

Yes, you.

You in the corner over there,

Hiding behind your long hair

So that no one can see the desperation in your eyes.

I just wanted to tell you:

It’s okay.

It’s okay that you have to hide.

Hide behind your long hair. Hide behind your long hair because you’re so afraid the world will hate what’s behind it. It’s okay.

It’s also okay that you no longer look in the mirror because you’re so terrified of the judgment in your own eyes. It’s okay that you spend way too long in the bathroom each morning, trying to work up the courage to face the world outside. It’s okay that you stayed up too late last night and your concealer’s still visible around your eyes. It’s okay that you didn’t get to go to that party last week because you were too busy editing and re-editing that paper that’s due next month. It’s okay that you didn’t want to go to the party, anyway, because you’re so f#cking tired of making small talk with people who are only going to judge you no matter what you say. It’s okay that you think about what they say a little longer than you should, and it’s okay that sometimes, when you’re around them, your blood feels like liquid fire that could burn a hole through your chest. It’s okay that the last time you slept more than six hours was when you drugged yourself to sleep with that stupid cold medicine you stole from your mother’s bathroom and that your typical diet is any consumable form of caffeine. It’s okay that you’re always tired and that sometimes you fall asleep in the middle of the day and miss a hundred thousand deadlines. It’s okay that you stare into space for hours at a time, pulling out your skin and your hair, drawing blood, and not knowing how to stop. It’s okay that you have that bald patch, and that your mother wants you to cut your hair so there’s less pressure on your scalp and it’s okay that you don’t want to because you like to hide behind it. It’s okay that your thoughts are a jumble that make no sense and have no particular order and that you can no longer separate your fear and anger and sadness and worry and uncertainty. It’s okay that you contradict yourself sometimes and your identity is unclear because all the personality you have is stolen from the last movie you watched. It’s okay that you spend so much time trying to understand what you feel that you can’t focus on what you should be focusing on. And it’s okay that when you do focus on your stupid homework, you develop tunnel vision and obsessive tendencies so you end up being the only person in the entire class who can recite Shakespeare’s works in their entirety — and that you get mocked for it, of course. It’s okay that your friends think you’re a nerd with no life because you haven’t gotten a B in 5 years, or that you’re a loser with no future because you just failed that class after putting off the homework endlessly because it stressed you out so much. It’s okay if they don’t understand, because they think you do this to yourself willingly. It’s okay that years of their “friendship” taught you to act strong when it felt like your world was imploding, so that you wouldn’t dare tell anyone even if you were actually, physically bleeding out.  It’s okay that you end up crying to a stranger in the drivers’ seat of an Uber. It’s okay that you won’t explain how you feel to the only people who actually understand, because why should you burden them with your gloom and doom when you see how happy they are and why can’t you just be like them?It’s okay that sometimes it feels like the walls are closing in on you and there’s no escape and you have nothing left to hope for. It’s totally okay.

More than that, it’s also okay if:

You’re angry all the time and have no idea why but you’ve shut everyone out and have no one left to talk to. It’s okay that you let people walk all over you because you’re too tired to stand up for yourself. It’s okay that everyone around you is falling in love when you’re too busy just trying to imagine how to feel that way about a person when you can barely tolerate yourself. It’s okay to feel guilty because so many other people have it worse, and why can’t you just feel grateful? It’s okay that your pride is a façade you use just to hide the fact that your self-esteem is so low you could limbo under it for sport. It’s okay that you try so hard to make everyone else happy because it’s easier than fixing yourself and because that voice in your head doesn’t shut up if it knows you failed to make a good impression on your neighbour’s cousin’s f@cking hamster. It’s okay that you lied to your mother last night about how you’re feeling because you don’t want her to worry. It’s okay that you spend most exam days puking into toilet bowls, hoping the stink doesn’t pervade through your false bravado. It’s okay that you’ve not gone a month without a day that doesn’t end or begin in fits of hyperventilation or nausea or a racing heartbeat. It’s okay that you’re always sick and can’t seem to do anything about it. It’s okay that you have to cry yourself to sleep and that you wake up with puffy eyes, a dry throat and a stuffed nose. It’s okay that you go months without crying no matter how badly you want to feel the release of a tear. It’s okay that you have that weird, unhealthy relationship with food and that the sight of your gigantic stomach in the shower makes you hate yourself. It’s okay that you either eat everything in sight (bonus points if it’s chocolate!) or nothing at all, for days on end, and that the growling in your stomach makes you feel powerful and light. It’s okay that you hate yourself for not being perfect and f@cking pray to God every f@cking night that you could be in someone else’s skin — anyone else’s skin — because goddammit, you’re crawling in your own. It’s okay that your GPA defines your self worth and that an A- wreaks havoc on your mind for months. It’s okay that the slightest of mistakes makes you crumble on the inside and that you’re sure your skin is curling in on itself, crushing your organs — especially your brain, which is confined by thoughts that go around and around and aroundandaroundandaroundandaf#ckinground. It’s okay that your friends think you’re melodramatic and your worries are stupid. It’s okay that you’re 18 and lying in bed panicking that in 15 years, when you’re working two jobs, you won’t be able to afford the life you want because you did all the calculations, and predicted the inflation rates — and f@cking hell, will your disposable income really be that low? But most of all, it’s totally, totally okay that you don’t know which makes you want to die the most: the past, the present or the future.

                                                                       But do you know what’s not okay?

What’s not okay is you thinking that somehow

It’s easier to get through years of bleeding scalps,

Chewed up nails,

F@cked up coping mechanisms,

Shitty sleeping habits,

Twitching hands,

And unhealthy obsessions

Than getting help —

The same help you refuse to admit you need less than you want.

What’s not okay is that you’d rather kill yourself.

What’s not okay

is that you think taking medicine for a medical f@cking condition makes you weak. What’s not okay is that you think there aren’t people out there who will support you. What’s not okay is that you think you’re alone and there aren’t thousands of people out there wishing they could be someone else — anyone else — just like you do. What’s not okay is that you think you’re invalid because you emote differently than they do. Because your depression- anxiety-OCD-BPD-ADHD-eating-disorder is not the same as theirs.

Most of all, though, what’s not okay is that you’ve forgotten how utterly f@cking lovedyou are —

And how it kills useveryday that you did.

 

Fight the stigma. Speak up. Tell a friend. Get help.

Some resources on campus:

  1.      Professional Help:
Counseling and Psychological Services
Brown University
J Walter Wilson Room 512
69 Brown Street
Providence, RI 02912
Phone 401-863-3476
  1.     Project LETSEraseTheStigma PMHAs:

The Peer Mental Health Advocates are trained students with lived experience of mental illness & disability committed to supporting their fellow students navigate the process of self-advocacy. PMHAs provide peer counseling + advocacy services, connect students to resources both on and off campus, offer emotional/social support, and offer accurate information regarding mental health, illness, and healing. PMHAs meet with their peers on a weekly basis, allowing them to form different individual partnerships and provide personalized care.  Follow this link to request a PMHA: https://projectlets.typeform.com/to/zY5DnS. For more information about LETS at Brown itself, follow this link: https://www.letserasethestigma.com

 

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