“Feeling on the Verge”

A lot of times whenever I sit down and talk to my therapist I often at times can reflect and tell her about the moments where I had a breakdown, often telling her that I could “Just tell that I was on the verge”

But how does one explain these feelings?

On the verge is feeling as though you are standing on the edge of a cliff, half of your foot over the edge already – the arches and your heels remaining on stable cement while your toes hang right over. It is standing there and knowing that one simple gush of wind will send you over.

It is feeling the tears well up in the backs of your eyelids and constantly pushing them back – but also knowing that if one person says the wrong thing that it will release the tears.

It is a constant burden on your chest with an accelerated heart rate that beats almost too quickly against your chest wall.

It is sweaty palms – always.

It is feeling the quickened heart rate, the sweaty palms, and it is the burden on your chest – but you are also feeling numb and the constant switching between the two of them.

It is feeling the work you have to do physically piling on top of you – and you feeling as though that no amount of time in the world could get it done and knowing that one more paper is going to push you over the edge.

It is the feeling of begging something to happen, so you could just get over with it already.

Being on the verge means that you can feel yourself almost to the point of no return. On the verge it is the difference between crying and being okay. Being on the verge is knowing you just need one final push to send you spiraling. Sometimes it can feel as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Some of us live our daily lives on the verge – almost waiting for that straw or for that gush of wind to send us over.

While we can be on the verge, we also know how it feels to come back down and to recover from our falls. That is what is most important to try to remember.

Why it is Okay to be Selfish

The word selfish is typically one that is looked down upon and looked at in a negative light. Not one person likes to be described with the adjective of selfish, but ultimately, in the world of mental illness and health – it is an adjective that is one of the most important things to be.

There are a lot of people that suffer with a form of mental illness, whether it be anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ptsd, or so on. Some people have it in the slightest forms while others suffer in a more extreme way.

Those that suffer are typically those that you do not expect as mental illness can affect anyone – it does not matter your age, race, or gender.

Most people, like myself, give and bend over backwards for everyone and anyone – often at times putting others peoples needs before their own. So much so that they wind up shoveling emotions and feelings underneath almost convincing themselves that the needs and wants of others are more important than their own. Often at times they will put their needs on the back burner, convincing themselves that the needs of someone like a friend is most important, more important than their own emotions and feelings.
This leads to the burial of emotions and stress that eventually boil up – ready to be set off by the most minuscule things.

Not only does the selflessness of mental health mask our own feelings, it also is extremely exhausting. Some of us will hold ourselves to an insane number ,of standards when it comes to being there for others. We are not catering to our needs but to the needs of others and ultimately draining the energy needed to keep ourselves afloat.
I read somewhere once that the development of mental illness can also contribute to a development of a selfish personality.

Do I consider myself selfish? At times. Am I open about my need to be selfish? Always.

For those of us that have mental illnesses we need to constantly be aware of our wants and needs as humans due to the smallest change causing what could be a downward spiral.

Not only do we need to be aware of our bodies, but our mood as well.

Sleeping and eating on a regular schedule are vital to keeping our mood as stable as possible whenever it comes to self care.

For example, in mental illnesses such as Bipolar Disorder, tracking your mood is essential in staying up on it. It is noticing the most minute of changes in mood. It is essential to notice the changes so that those who are medicated can report it to a psychiatrist which may require change in medications as soon as possible.

You must be extremely aware, not only in your alone time, but when with other humans while being social.

Is my speech slurring due to talking too quickly? Are my conversations bouncing from place to place constantly due to my inability to focus on one topic? Are my responses appropriate? Is this how I act on the daily?

We must be in constant awareness of our mood and how we are feeling, why we are feeling, and to try to judge how long we will be in this state of feeling.

Mental health may also come with a selfish behavior, but that is okay.

I am not telling you to only look out for yourself and no one else, and to push people around for your own advantages – being selfish does not always have to be that negative.
So be selfish. For those that know you and love you – they will understand your need to be selfish and will be there to support you and will still be there whenever you come back.

A New Calendar Year and Expectations

The beginning of 2018 started with a strong mentality. I was convinced that a new calendar year equaled out to a new me. I told myself that it was going to be the best year yet and that this was my year, that this year would top everything else – and definitely not be like all the other ones.

Who doesn’t begin every new year with this mentality though?

2018 began great – I was involved in my first serious relationship and was happy in it, I was back into dancing, and I had started a new semester at college. A bad blow hit our family whenever my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and would have surgery and radiation to get rid of it.

Due to the stressors of life, I had slacked on getting my college loan situation figured out and before I knew it – I was getting emails essentially telling me I was taken off all rosters until I paid tuition or got a loan. Every place I attempted to get a loan from rejected me and my parents when they tried to co-sign. Within the week a professor told me that I could no longer sit in on their class, despite knowing my situation.

I wound up dropping my minor which was computer science shortly after those first few weeks at school due to the way that particular professor treated me.

That rattled my second semester quite terribly – after I got my loans figured out, I dropped the class with said professor and that wound up taking me down to just 12 credits, barely reaching the required amount of credits to remain full time.

It was also around this time that I became obsessed with the way I looked and began to overwork myself in an attempt to lose weight and have a better body. I pushed myself so hard that I wound up in the hospital – essentially pulling the muscles and enflaming the tissues within my chest wall. This ‘injury’ set me back not only in my workout journey but also affected my daily life for a long while.

Around this time my mental stability began to dip and I returned to therapy after not going for several months. It was the first time in a long time that I felt as though I really needed to return and talk to somebody and for a while it helped me.

My mother had her surgery which was successful, she began radiation, I performed in my performance at my old dance studio, I was still happily in a relationship, and eventually I scraped by in my second semester of college.

Most notably, with my depression and anxiety, I do not get seasonal depression in the winter months like a large majority of people do. I have noticed that I get my most depressed come summer months and I have never been able to figure out why. I cannot seem to grasp if it is the large quantities of ‘free time’ which gives me too much time to think or if it is because I work so much that I push my mental and physical strengths too far.

My summer began with a lot of concerts and a lot of work. I had seen the big names such as Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Weezer, and The Pixies. Come July I had met my favorite Youtubers, Dan and Phil, and began to gear up for the last year of Warped Tour – and many more concerts to follow that.

This was around the time that my anxiety began to come back and the things that were not big worries for me began to return. I found myself not wanting to go into convenience stores and I found myself retracting and not wanting to leave my home. I stopped going to my boyfriends’ house and generally stopped socializing. I began to work more and more and was working two jobs at the time. On top of going to concerts near weekly, juggling a relationship, and two jobs, I quickly overworked myself to the point of exhaustion and wound up missing work due to overworking myself into exhaustion.

The months of July and August have mainly been repressed. I was still working and enjoying life, but my mental state was at the worst it had ever been. I can remember going to concerts – laughing, smiling, having a great time, just to get home and cry myself to sleep for reasons that I did not understand or comprehend.

What started off as weekly therapy appointments turned into considering going twice a week which eventually turned into several visits to the psychiatrist – along with several shifts in medications.

After an extremely life changing week or so, I began to change near the end of August. I returned to both of my jobs, began to consider teaching dance at my old studio (and getting hired), and I got to start up my third semester with a schedule where I only went on Tuesday and Thursday.

In September I had turned twenty surrounded by my family. I spent a nice day shopping and at lunch with my mother, came home, and then had a nice dinner with my entire family. The following Friday my best friends and I got to enjoy a nice night out. A night where I was no longer stressed, I was carefree, and this was the night where tings took a dramatic turn – and even though I didn’t know it at the time, it was for the better.

October was whenever I began a true transformation. I was attending therapy by the weekly. I began to talk to those I hadn’t in a long time. I began to stabilize the relationships I had neglected for many months and essentially returned to a form of normalcy and general happiness.

I was dancing like I used to in high school and was doing another performance. I now not only had my family, but my dance family as well. I began to teach at my dance studio – falling in love with my little children more and more every day.

After our performance in November, I made it through midterms, and I got to enjoy Thanksgiving in Maryland with my family. I got to go back home and work Black Friday with my favorite retail team. November was filled with family and friends – all that I could have ever asked for.

December began preparations for Christmas. By December 14th I had finished my third semester of college – with perfect attendance for my 8AM class. I finished with all A’s and B’s – a new accomplishment. By the end of finals I had started at a new job, my third job, and already loved it.

In December I got to build relationships with unexpected people and got to spend time with those people. I began to feel myself opening up more and becoming less guarded and less anxious as time went by.

Now, it is the end of December.

I am ready to move on from my worst year, 2018, but I am also grateful for all that it taught me and all the things and relationships that came out of it.

2018 was by far my most heartbreaking year filled with confusion, sadness, anxiety, and stress.  It, of course, was filled with heartbreak and loss as well.

I sometimes choose to look at the negatives of 2018 and how horrible it was – breakups, my mothers diagnosis, psychiatrist appointments, therapist appointments, hospital visits, etc.

Instead I can focus on the two most important lessons that 2018 has taught me.

In this year I have ultimately learned how I will allow myself to be treated (and when to recognize if and when someone oversteps my boundaries), and I have learned that even in the most heartbreaking of moments – so much more can come out of it.

I am leaving 2018 with stable relationships. I am leaving 2018 healthy and smiling.

In the year of 2019 I would like to continue the relationships I have made with others and build on them. I would like to stay positive and truly happy – not just to front it for social media and family. I expect to continue to know and understand my self worth – and to realize whenever people cross my boundaries. I expect to recognize red flags and to not brush past them continuously in hopes that people will change.

Most importantly, I expect myself to remain strong and to remind myself of who deserves to be in my life – and to be okay with letting go of those who no longer aid in my happiness.

2018 Review – In Spotify Playlists

Music has forever been my time capsule to take me back into time in terms of memories and moments that are most important to me.

Certain music can take me back to things like a car ride home with friends while others can take me back to making it through my senior year of high school as an outcast.

One morning when I woke up and began to get ready for my commute to school, I saw that Spotify had created a brand new playlist for me that was being recommended on my homepage.

Your Top Songs 2018

Instantly I was intrigued. I wanted to know what songs I listened to the most this year, seeing as my rotation was constantly changing with my music tastes for several months now. I was interested to see if Spotify could pick up on the songs that always made it back into my commute playlists and if they knew what songs seemed to be my favorites.

I found myself laughing at a few song titles such as those that belonged to Youtubers like Tana Mongeau and Gabbie Hanna, songs that I listened to ironically (enough to end up on the Spotify list haha).

I was enjoying the laughter and memories that came along with artists and songs by Rick Astley, Stacked Like Pancakes, Queen, and music from movies like Moana and Beauty and the Beast. I was taken back to all the good and pure moments of 2018. Songs that reminded me of singing in the dressing rooms before a performance and songs that took me back to car rides and singing with my sister.

That was whenever I heard the low whistles of “Asleep” by The Smiths that took me back to my lowest moments.

Immediately I was taken back to sitting in my bathtub – listening to that song during a depressive episode. I knew that the song would make me feel worse and more upset – but I hit the loop button so that it could play repeatedly without me needing to hit the back button.

There was a large chunk of me that wanted to hit the next button in that moment, maybe move onto a happy song from Moana to make me sing and dance in my seat as I drove to class.

I felt as though I was taken back in time and like I was back to sitting in lukewarm water, uncertain as to why exactly I felt so down.

Then there was “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron.

That song already had an emotional place in my heart due to the appearance of the song in 13 Reasons Why. It was introduced to me my senior year of high school and I can remember listening to it to get through it to the best of my ability.

The song followed me through high school, summer, my first year of college, and through my relationships.

It was a song that was forgotten about until the month of June and July where it was played, sang, and danced to on repeat. After July it fell back out of my cycle and had completely been forgotten about – it hurt too much to listen to and carried too many memories of my mental states and relationships beginning to take a major decline for the worst.

The vastly different types of music on my Spotify playlist was a great wrap up an example of how the year of 2018 went for me.

Some moments were pure and filled with laughter and smiles. Music such as Teenagers (My Chemical Romance), 21st century Liability (Yungblud), and You’re Welcome (Moana) come to mind for these songs. Songs that played as I sang to my nephew as I visited him and my sister in Maryland,  songs that were performed in the hot warped tour heat, and songs that I could jam out to in my car while driving to work and school.

The other moments were better suited for songs like “Asleep” (The Smiths), “The Night We Met” (Lord Huron), and Pictures of You (The Cure).

A large portion of 2018 can be explained by my sadder songs, where lyrics such as “Sing me to sleep, I’m tired and I want to go to bed”, and “Crying for the death of your heart” seem to fit better in my narrative than other ‘happier’ lyrics.

2018 was the worst year of my life thus far.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I struggled with major depressive disorder, I went spiraling backwards in all the steps I took towards getting better in the world of anxiety, my grades suffered, I was overworking myself in an attempt to distract myself from the amount of depression I was dealing with, I went through a horrible breakup, and I felt as though I lost a lot of myself for several months.

2018 was also my best year.

It was a year of self-discovery, a year of meeting new people that were like me and accepted me (and didn’t judge me for my short comings), I stood my ground and stood up for myself many times, I fell down ( a lot )  and got up each time, and I learned what I will and will not tolerate in terms of my self-worth.

2018 had been filled with way more downs than it was filled with ups, but I managed to get through it. Some moments and months I was down longer than others – but here I stand.

-N;KK;

Normality

Authors note – This is the beginning to the story of Emerson who is featured in the previews I posted titled “Submerged in Paranoia” and “Alone”. Let me know if you are interested in hearing the entirety of his story.

—-

It is normality that gets us through our day to day life. You could tell me your form of normal is sitting and watching an episode of Friends every night before bed. You could tell me it is normal for a couple to hold hands as they walk together along the sidewalk. All of these things seem like a normal occurrence.

What if I told you my normal was to question my sanity? To question everything I see and touch? I could tell you the stupid details of my life but the reality is that I don’t know them. I don’t even know why I am talking to you.

Maybe it is because I have given into my version of normality that I have tried too many times to change. Maybe I have given into the loop of insanity that tosses me from one side of the room to the other. I must have truly gone insane, you see.

True insanity comes whenever you are speaking to the voices on the insides of your skull like they are a real person. I suppose when you have no one to talk to these are the things you resort to.

I wish that I could change into a normal human that easily. I wish that I could be a mindless drone that wakes up, goes to the gym, goes to work or school, maybe sees a friend or girlfriend, builds relationships, makes small victories on the daily, a brand new accomplishment here and there, and goes back to sleep…but that simply isn’t my normal.

“Emerson.” It feels as though whoever said that was yelling my name through a long tunnel, my own name echoing a hundred times over before it reaches me. I am brought back to earth again. I come to see Taylor sitting across from me as her little boy, Dalton, crawls all over her. His tiny hands tug and pull at the tank top that covers her chest just barely. A half eaten Wendy’s Hamburger sits on a table in front of me.

I stare at the hamburger like it is a foreign object. I don’t remember how I got here. I don’t remember ordering…sitting…eating.

I remember now that Taylor had said my name.

“Hmmm?” I finally hum out to Taylor

“Penny for your thoughts?” she asks me as Dalton slams his sweaty baby fist down on a package of saltine crackers, crumbs spewing from the package and skidding across the table. Some go as far as to slide underneath my tray of half eaten food.

It dawns on me now that Taylor wants to know what I am thinking and where my thoughts lie. What I want to tell her? That I want to die, that the voices are more intense now more than ever, that I haven’t taken my medications in over a week now, and how I was supposed to go to my doctor today but I rescheduled for the third time.

I couldn’t tell her these things.

“I have no thoughts to give.” I reply to her. A simple response – one that she doesn’t like and I can see this visibly. Her mouth presses into a fine line and her thinly filled in eyebrows press in towards one another. She sucks in a long breath and her free hand, the one that isn’t holding her son in place to prevent him from flipping over her shoulders, swirls around the small bowl of chili that she has sitting in front of her.

Dalton is now slapping his hands on the table, more saltines flying up and falling back on the table as he screeches loudly. Few people turn to look over at us.

Screaming children must be their normal.

“You know you can’t expect to get better when you can’t ask for help.” She says to me lowly. “I don’t know how many times I need to tell you this.” She says in a near whisper. I roll my eyes at her and lean back further in my chair, feeling the cheap plastic press into the middle of my back as I look at her.

“I’m not asking you to lecture me. It’s the last thing I want, actually.” I say to her. This wasn’t our normal. I know you’ve lived in the crevices of my head somewhere for a long time and you should know this but I feel the need to reiterate that most of our conversations, from what I can remember, are good ones.

This is where I am supposed to inform you (and whoever is listening to me ramble) where Taylor and I met. Truth be told, I couldn’t tell you. I suppose that being mentally insane can give you a pass on those sorts of things.

She never brings it up or uses it against me when I forget her birthday.

I can barely remember how I got to Wendys let alone what has been happening the past few hours.

All I can remember about Taylor is that she cares far too much, that she has a son, and married her high school sweetheart. Normal is how I would describe her life story.

In attempt to change conversation, I clear my throat and look at her. “How is Cameron doing?” I ask her. This seems to make her angrier and she stands up in a huff, scooping Daltons mess of saltines into her hand.

“I’ll see you later, Emerson.” She says as she grabbed the tray in one hand and held Dalton on her hip as she walks away from me. Dalton squealed out into the shitty fast food dining room and attempted to wave at me as they moved through the exit.

Like that I was alone with just the voices on the inside of my head.

Let me ask you this… are you my normal?

A Change in Seasons

Sometimes a change in season and motivation is what is needed to realize what is really needed for yourself as a human being.

I started this blog as a way to normalize anxiety, depression, and the feelings of darkness that everyone experiences but nobody wants to talk about.

I wanted to be that platform for those who felt isolated, alone, and as though they were the only ones that were experiencing awful feelings that came along with anxiety.

I still want to be that person and that has always been my goal as a someone who is very open with her mental health struggles. I do not hide behind fake smiles and personas. I do not post on social media happy faces and laughter whenever I am feeling at my lowest of lows.

From February to September I was suffering in ways that I cannot even begin to understand and I believe my brain has repressed the worst of it for my own safety. I don’t remember being sad… I remember struggling, but the rest is a blur. I remember specific times where I broke down as a person and anxiety and crippling depression had its arms wrapped so tightly around me – but I don’t remember being unhappy for so long and for so many consistent days and weeks.

Now that I have grown and reflected, I have come to the realization that I am now stronger than I ever was before and the broken persona I had grown into all those months ago is beginning to repair itself and be built back up into an independent and strong woman again.

I no longer feel a need or a desire to place myself in such a darkened mind space in order to force words out of my brain onto paper for the sake of a blog post. I am not in the same mindset I was in this time yesterday, let alone this time in August or this time two months before that.

This original post was going to be about seasonal depression and when it hits people and how no one realizes it unless they deal with it first hand through either themselves or family members or friends, but here I am now.

I still want this blog to be about finding normality in the unusual. I want to help people and help them feel more normal but in all of this I have tried to fit in the mold of normal blogs that I see on the daily. My brain was riddled with blogs about ‘top five things that help anxiety’ and ‘how to find happiness in day to day life’ and the desire to fit into a steady theme. I felt as if my blog was scattered and jumped from point a to point b with some fiction writing in between.

I felt insecure, I felt scared that others would think that my thoughts and posts were too scattered which resulted in too many scrapped pieces to count.

Today while reflecting I realized that somewhere along the lines of insecurities, the name of my blog has been forgotten about

Aberrations.

A departure from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically one that is unwelcome.

A characteristic that deviates from the normal type.

From here on out, I am not going to place myself in a negative mind space to write encouraging words the layout of other anxiety blogs. I am not going to compare myself to other pages and posts. I am not going to force myself into a mold I was meant to stand out from.

If I want to post about anxiety one day, post a piece of fiction the next,  and go back to personal stories, then I am going to do so.

Those who are like me, who are an aberration, are those that will understand and come along on a new journey with me.

I am not normal nor will I pretend to be for the sake of a steady and flowing blog page.

Maybe one day I will find the correct flow, but that day is not today.

N;kk;

Tunnels, Finding Light, and Everything In between.

Writing in general these past few months has been forced out of my hands and onto a computer screen. The slivers of solid ideas were forced onto paper that was later crumpled and thrown away.

My better pieces of fiction writing posted a few posts ago are recycled bits from high school where my best pieces of work seemed to stem from.

I wanted to write but had no motivation to get up, (or sit down, technically), to do it. The motivation and urge to write 10+ pages in a notebook was not there.

Maybe I wrote the happier pieces before the fiction writing to cover up the pain that radiated through me when I needed a shimmer of light the most.

Maybe those pieces were written to simply try to focus my brain on the silver linings of life. Maybe that is why my posts about light and life were happy, but the old pieces of fiction (that have been sitting in my writing archives since 2015-2016) that I felt compelled to post came from the subconscious.

I know those pieces about tunnels and being positive came from a genuine heart. That same heart, though, was also sad but clinging onto the happy moments as a guidance through a darkened tunnel – almost as if the lights had gone out completely and I was stuck in construction for a long time.

Maybe at the time if I was open about finding positivity that positive personality would wear onto those who needed it more than I did at the time.

Two months ago I did not want to be alone, nor did my family want to leave me alone or by myself for extended periods of time. Two months ago I had taken weeks off of work and lost over ten pounds due to stress, anxiety, and the worst depression I had ever fought through. Two months ago I stayed on the same couch in my living room watching the same episodes of Impractical Jokers over and over.

The love for life did not come over night and did not hit me like a truck the way  it is made out to be. It was not as simple as going from writing dark pieces to being happy in less than twenty four hours.

It took time, patience, and love and support from those around me that mattered most in my life.

Now that my mind is open and not muddled with darkness, now that I have passed through the longest tunnel of darkness I have ever fought through – it is easy to see the battles I fought and the coping mechanisms I used to get through it.

It was once said to me that we cannot heal in the same environment that made us sick.

This holds true and even though it may be hard to get out of the environment, to accept that maybe things are not working out as planned,  and to accept our own failures – our life gets better and we get healthier both mentally and physically.

Now that I am through the tunnel, doing better, and at the happiest I have been in a long while – I am ready to take the world by storm and live every day to the fullest potential.

I hope you will come along with me.

N;kk;

And I am Alone

A hand pushes through the cloudy haze of confusion and swipes it’s long fingers at me.

“Get away from me!” I scream at the pale hand tainted in bulging blue veins. I cannot see the body in which the hand belongs to through the darkness. Nothing but an extended arm is extended towards me.

It’s fingernails are long enough to curve over at the tips, the nails more yellow than flesh. I am shaking as I try to back up away from the long extended fingernails to prevent any further harm done to my body.

“I don’t take orders from you…” My voice shakes as I try to muster strength in my voice. My attempt to hit the hand away from my face is a failed one. Immediate fire is set where the fingernails shaved off pieces of skin.

“You get away from me!”

Dark red blood is falling from the wound and crimson seeps into the creases of my fragile hands. The hand continues to swipe at me as the blood drips into my eyes, the same eyes that have seen too many horrible things in their lifetime. My eyes burn and are blinded with the red cataract, my hands making it worse as I rub at them.

“Get away!” I scream as I continue to back up away from the hand as my legs tremble and shake. My vision is tinted and blurry, I still cannot see. My bloody palms wipe at my eyes in an attempt to get my vision back but I wipe more of the hot tacky substance into my line of sight. I can feel the whip and the snap of the wind as the hand swipes at me again and again and the nails scrape at my cheekbone, peeling my skin back layer by layer. My hands grip at my skin as the freshly opened wound rips and pulls at my nerves. I scream out into the empty air and I feel the strain and wrench of my vocal cords as my fingernails peel at my skin. My back strikes against something cold and hard. I pull my head back to dodge another swipe of the fingernails and my skull cracks against a harsh surface behind me.

My once red tinted vision suddenly goes black and my body hits the ground underneath me.
The cold air holds onto me as I wrap my arms around myself and hope that doing this will protect me from the outside world. My body shakes violently and brutally. My hands are wrapping so tightly around myself that I am nothing but a firm and bloody ball of human flesh and bone. I feel hands grip at my body arms both firmly, but not hard enough to hurt me, and my eyes pop open and a face stares back at me.

The face is kind and familiar.

“Emerson!” She yells at me. I shoot into an alert as my hands grab at my face but no blood stains my fingers. My fingers glide along the skin of my face and I feel nothing but the flesh that lines my prominent bones. Bones that have gone too long without food. Bones that are heavy and crumpling from lack sleep. No long and yellow fingernails dangle in front of my face. The kind face extends a hand to me again and I try to escape her touch as she reaches out for me. Her touch burns at my skin as her hand rests at my shoulder and I feel as though a thousand needles were jammed down into my fragile skin. I shrink away from her once more.

“You were deep in it, Em.” she whispers to me. “I came over when I heard you screaming.” she says to me as she tries to reach out to touch me again with her hand. I pull away from her as sharply and as quickly as I can.

“I’m fine.” I manage to growl at her.

“Emerson,” She whispers to me. We both know that I am far from okay. Even the voices in my head know that.

“I said I’m fine.” I hiss at her rudely.

She looks at me with that face that she has looked at me with a thousand times before.
Her face is sad, her lips forced into a sad frown. Stress presses into fine lines and her concern is evident in premature wrinkles. Her forehead shows signs of stress and anxiety with wrinkles forming in her face in heavy and thick crinkles and rolls. Were these premature signs of stress there before or after I came into her life? I may never know and I know she would never tell me the truth.

I wipe at my face again in an attempt to find the blood that was just drenching my face a few moments ago, find signs of anything that just happened being real.

“You’re alright.” She says again. Her hands rest on the tops of her thighs now, she got the message not to touch me.

“Emerson, your delusions have come back full force… you’ve been taking your medicine?” she asks me to which I do not reply to her “You know what the doc-” she begins but I cut her off.

“Taylor, Please.” I say to her as I rub at the temples of my head with my left hand, my right hand trying to find the cut that I felt rip into my skin just a few moments ago.

“I’m fine.” I whisper to her as I avoid the stares that she pushes into me. Medications. Doctors. Needles. According to her this is all that I need to feel better. What she doesn’t realize is that I am Emerson Matthews. I suffer from delusional disorder along with depression, and who knows what else. I am a concoction of all things negative in this world. All things bad were pushed under the fragile frames of my skin, compact into one sad human being. What did I do to deserve all of this? My fingers push into my skin harshly and I can feel the movement of the loose skin that blanket my bone. My fingers push and pull at the skin that is there so hard that I feel tenderness that resides there, and while it hurts, but I don’t stop.

“I need to be alone” I whisper to her but that word rolls off of my tongue like venom. It bites at me and puts in a sting in my rapidly beating heart. I know those words hurt her, but they hurt me too, just the same. I watch again as her pink lips push into a line and she stands to her feet without a word. The sadness in her body is evident as she moves through the house and she closes the door behind her. I can hear the slide and the click of the door as it locks into place and I hear her footsteps disappear down the stairs and onto the street. I swear to myself and to you that I can hear her front door slam behind her, making me shrink away from the sound.

And I am alone.

That word wraps around me like hands holding me at my throat. It works its way into my stomach like a virus with its fingernails scraping up my insides. I feel sick to my stomach and try to stand up on my feet. My hands press into the cold stone of the fireplace that I had just smashed my head into just moments before.

Did I really hit my head or did I just imagine it?

I try to maintain my balance but my knees quiver; the pull of my tendons and ligaments cause my knees to cave in.

I am alone but I did this to myself.

The emptiness claws at me and the pit of my stomach grows larger with each scratch and scrape. My eyes land on the white door to my left but the loneliness paralyzes me and I cannot move. My mind is cluttered with a thousand thoughts and voices. Along with a constant repeat of the scene that just unfolded. Blood, hands, and the hurt I just did to Taylor. How, much like the delusions, Taylor came in and left without a second guess.
The feelings of being alone are pervasive and consume me like an infection. Loneliness pushes through me like a wave and eventually it will drown everything in its path. Eventually I will be nothing but an empty shell of bruises and bone. My memories of a time before this one are vacant.

Loneliness is all I have ever known.

The pit extends into my gut and I can feel the twist and pull of this vicious virus that I am trying so desperately to get rid of.

I want to cry and I want to scream out into the empty house. The house that is filled with nothing but empty rooms and delusions – those of which that belong to a mad man. A panicked and rushed gasp escapes the back of my throat and my hands grab at my mouth as if I was going to push the sound of distress back in again. This is all that escapes me as my eyes slam closed. Tears leak profusely from my eyes and begin to soak my cheeks. My stomach concaves inward and I feel the roll of my spine as my body begins to work against me and I hunch over. My knees convulse and I collapse, my bones falling onto the hearth of the fire place. I curl into myself, the stone is cold against my body once more. Panicked and frantic sobs escape from my mouth and the tears soak at my face. I try to quiet the sobs that frantically escape me, trying to silence the weakness that I try so desperately to keep away from the human eye. The stone is cold and my body is empty. I lay on the large flat rock holding myself more and more tightly as more sobs escape into the empty air.
And I am alone.

Submerged In Paranoia

“Mr. Matthews, we are going to ask you to open the door for us.” A voice pelts through the door separating me from them.

I stumble across the floor before losing my balance. Scrambling towards that same door, I pressed my back against it, my bare feet slipping out from underneath me.

“Mr. Matthews if you don’t open up the door, we will break it down, you don’t want that do you?” a voice asks me, the same voice from before.

“Leave me alone!” I scream at them.

“You know we can’t do that Mr. Matthews.” A different voice replies to me.

Heavy red and blue strips slice through my white lace curtains, along with fluorescent white headlights that burn my sensitive eyes to look at, white lights bouncing off the walls and into my eyes.

What did I even do? My face is covered in a hot and sticky amount of sweat. My chest heaves heavily and my heart strains to pump blood through my body. I must’ve been running just before I reached the house. I try to gain my footing again but my feet just slip out from underneath me again.

My arms trickle sweat, beads of perspiration beginning to move and slide down my arms.

That was whenever my eyes caught a glint of red, just for a short second, enough for me to take notice.

My crazed eyes land on the red blood that coats my hands, red blood splatters following up into my arms, near my elbows. My fingers touch at the blood that is already beginning to dry, tacky from an unknown persons body.

“Oh God…” I call out my voice caught and jagged in my throat. The voices outside the door, along with the sirens, on top of the voices inside of my skull begin to stumble and overlap one another.

Where one sentence ends, another voice is there to take its place.

My hands find my ears and grasp at them, tacky blood coating my ears as my fingernails begin to rip at my ear, an attempt to pull them off.

Maybe then the voices would stop.

More sirens. More commands. More voices.

“Emerson, we just want to talk to you, can you do that for me?” A female voice stands out from the others. Maybe it’s because they think I’ll trust a female more than a male. They are wrong, even if her voices are calmer than the other ones, less harsh.

“Just stop!” I yell out to them. More voices are attempting to talk to me. I can no longer decide what is real and what is fake. Voices inside my skull attempt to talk over one another, making me go mad.

My fingers continue to claw at my ears that are now tacky with blood.

Anything to stop the voices.

Again, this time from the other side of the door, they are drawing in closer.
“Emerson, open the door!” Someone yells at me, a man, with a voice that makes me jump.

“Just stop.” I beg as I shake now, rocking back and forth, my spine crushing against the wooden door so hard that it shakes.

Voices inside of my head fight for dominance and figures dance in the headlights that shine through the curtains.

I can almost hear the click of the guns they’ll fire at me.

“Just stop.” I beg again.

“Mr. Matthews, this is your last chance.” The same, meaner voice, yells at me.

“Stop it.” I beg them.

“Mr. Matthews we will beat down this door.”

“Stop.” I whisper, tears rolling down my cheeks and dripping onto my knees, soaking the fabric that covers them.

I rock back and forth. Voices combine.

“Stop it.” I say out loud.

“Last chance!” The woman now yells.

“STOP!” I scream out into the air.

And just as quickly as they came, the voices all come to a standstill. They stop in a dead silence.

My eyes peel open, fresh tears still streaking my cheeks.

No longer do red and blue streaks of light shine in a revolving circle. No white headlights shine almost directly into my eyes. My heart still thuds heavily inside of my chest wall and I can feel the blood as it pulses through veins that get tighter by the second. My throat is heavy and I can hardly breathe.

My spinal cord feels crushed and bruised as I stand on my feet again, my feet still sweaty and slick.

Trembling hands grab at the door knob to the front door and I rip it open, expecting to get shot down in an instant.

A smack of cold air hits me hard, pushing through my hair and sending chills down my exposed flesh. Leaves push against the ground with yellowing grass that now reached the middle of my shins. The air was silent, almost as if no one was around for miles and miles, as if I was the only remaining person in the neighborhood.

Shutting the door behind me, I stumble into the bathroom, knocking over things and nearly crashing my body into the sink.

Broken shards still line the back and the inside of my sink as I glance at a broken reflection of myself. My eyes are distant and hold no sparks of life, those were lost long ago.

Rather, they are just a darkened green, my hair lined with sweat. My ears no longer have tacky blood lining them and my hands are clean.

The blood never existed, at least not this time.

As I stumble into my bedroom, stripping off the shirt that was soaked with sweat and tears and tossing it somewhere on the floor, I can feel the cold air hit my body.

As soon as I lay my head down against the pillow, the same whispering of voices return.
They are further away, in some deep crevice of my mind and brain.

I can close my eyes and sleep, undisturbed by the voices.

For now.

Finding Light Again

Words have not come easy these past few weeks.

I began to fear that I had spent money for a blogging platform, to write three articles, and to never use it again.

So I tried to force writing, any sort of writing, to just put out into the world again to make myself feel complete in some aspect.

No matter how hard I’ve tried to write, to pull from anything, nothing came out.

Everything felt so forced and nothing was fitting right, nothing was even scratching the surface of what I had to say. What I’ve experienced in these past few weeks. So I will pick up from one of the most recent stories I can share that spread a positive light on my life in ways that are unexplainable and I still think about to this day.

A few weeks ago we had a full reservation sheet in the dining room in which I worked at. No walk ins were permitted, and only the people that had reservations could be seated on this night.

That was when an older man and older woman walked up to the podium, asking to be seated. They told us they didn’t have reservations, but they were staying in the hotel that night. We told them that we were sorry, but it was reservations only, and sent them on their way.

Awhile later, while tending to my other tables I saw the same man from previously wander up to the hostess stand. After some discussion, our hostess walked up to me, explaining

“It’s his wifes birthday, can you take care of them?” she asks.

I looked over the four tables I already had to take care of, and even though I knew more reservations were going to come in, I nodded my head “Yeah, I can take them.” I say to her.

What I expected was to have a table like usual. I would take their drink orders, their food, bring them their food, ask if they wanted desert, send them on their way, and get them in and out as quickly as possible.

It is the unexpected that grace our lives in the best ways, as I would soon find out.

Whenever I walked up to them, they greeted me and told me their names after I told them mine. They told me again, that it was his wifes birthday, and I wished her happy birthday.

Right off the bat, I knew that they were talkers, and even though I was busy, even though I had a lot going on, I stayed to talk to them.

The conversation started off light, asking me where I went to school, what I wanted to do, the usual conversations that you typically get out of a waitress that gives you more time than their other tables.

Eventually they ate their food and told me how amazing everything was, continuing to thank me for getting them in even though we were busy.

In those few moments, they radiated such positivity, a positivity that I needed in these times and they didn’t even know it – and neither did I at the time.

Remembering the birthday, I offered the woman a complimentary dessert of her choosing, on the house due to the kindness that they displayed and how happy they made my heart feel again for the first time in a long time.

They asked me if they could move somewhere warmer, and I agreed, no longer caring about the amount of people coming into the dining room or waiting to be seated.

When we moved them, they began to speak about what desert they wanted and I promised them I would get them whatever they wanted and that I was going to make it special for them.

Ultimately, the woman decided on a desert, and her husband decided that he wanted to splurge and eat ice cream for the first time in over seven years.

Whenever I went back to pantry, I had them decorate the plate with a ‘Happy Birthday’ message on the plate, and came out candle and all. I served the dessert and together her husband and I sang happy birthday to her.

The room was dark and even though I hate singing, singing in front of others, none of it mattered anymore. The glow of the birthday candle meant so much more than a birthday anymore, it was an act of kindness and a sign of hope that things would get better for me.

After we sang happy birthday I left them alone for awhile and came to check on them, asking the man how he enjoyed his ice cream. They again told me that he hadn’t eaten anything like that in seven years. I asked him why, if there was any reason.

He opened up to me, saying that he was a cancer survivor and that today was actually the ten year anniversary of his surgery to remove his cancer, joking to me about how the anniversary happened to land on his wife’s birthday as well.

In those moments I felt everything about tonight slowly click into place and my hear swelled, tears forming in my eyes as I spoke to them about my mothers recent diagnosis and how she was also on a road to recovery, that it touched such a tender spot in my heart.

That was whenever we began talking, he got my address, and said he would send me and my mother a book for us to read.

I opened up to them about the struggles I was facing with my anxiety and my depression and how much their kind words truly meant to me, how the little things like this meant so much in my life, in ways they had no idea of even fathoming.

After they left, he had tipped me more than the price of the bill, and handed me an extra eight dollars in cash and told me to use it to buy my favorite dessert from where I worked.

Like that they were gone again, and before I knew it they had checked out before I got to see them again.

Little did I know, and little did they know, was that the following weeks would be some of the worst in my life.

In these weeks, I would struggle to find light again. I would struggle to find a purpose outside of the darkened tunnel I had been placed in. My fight was slowly wearing thin and it was the lowest point I had ever reached in the entirety of my life, after struggling with depression and anxiety for so many years.

In my darkness, in the tunnel, I found a light again and fought through.

Just yesterday, I came home to a package.

Two books for me to read, the other for my mother to read.

Getting Well Again.”

Today I walked into my bedroom to see another small letter. I am uncertain as to if I missed the letter in the first initial package, or if it arrived today.

I sat on the floor bawling my eyes out as I read the contents of the most thoughtful letter that had been sent my way in the longest time.

They talked to me about the things I had told them in passing. How I wanted to be an FBI agent, how they believed in me, the things that I had told them in confidence that they gave me advice on. Things I had even forgotten that I said to them were written on the contents of a card that meant so much to me.

The two strangers that I thought were just going to be another table that I had to deal with on a busy night, turned into an experience that I will forever cherish and be grateful for.

I am uncertain if they realize the impact of their actions or how badly I needed to read the words from them on days like this one, days where I feel both happy and sad. Overwhelmed and relaxed.

People come into your lives for a reason. That night I was busy, stressed from life outside of work with relationships, and I was anxious over what was to come. These people, who were not supposed to be there to begin with, happened to come in and I got the blessing to take care of them.

Whether you believe in a higher power or not, I like to believe some higher force was acting through them on the night that they came into my life, and left again, but left with such a strong impact that I now have the blessing to carry with me for the rest of my life.

As I was clearing their table, I found a note to me written on the back of a receipt.

“Thank you for your grace, humbleness, and sense of humor.”

This receipt I now carry in my waitressing book, to see and be reminded of the people that made such a positive influence on my life when it was most needed.

As I sit with their cards, letters, and book sitting around me, I am reminded of the love that radiates from people.

There is a lot of good in the world and even though it is hard to see, it comes out when most needed and most unexpected. A lot of time, the bad, the negative, the hurt, and the ugly are seen and are brought to us head on, face to face. They wear us down, they tug at us until we have no more fight, and the good in the world comes out in the strangest and unexpected ways.

The good is our guiding light to get us through the bad things and to guide us into a light worth living again.

Even if it is just a push or a nudge into the right direction, those are the movements and gestures that send us spiraling and leaping into things much greater than the darkness that has sucked you in time and time again and drug you down.

Step into the light, into a life worth living again.