mental illness

A Second Chance at Living

A Second Chance at Living

I am two or three years old in the apartment on Johnson Street. I am supposed to be sleeping, but I am scared. I keep thinking of the book my mom read me before she kissed me goodnight and left the room. It was Snow White, and I am terrified of the talking mirror and wicked queen. I cry out for my mom. Instead, my father throws open the door, which I beg to be left open each night, and he is suddenly at my bedside—a large imposing shadow.

Beginning to Believe

Beginning to Believe

There’s a racquetball lodged firmly in my throat. My eyelids are burning, and the back of my head feels cold and heavy, like an icy hand is pushing my gaze toward the ground. A plastic device shaped a bit like a bean and roughly the size of a car-key remote is buzzing intermittently in my left hand; I’m holding its vibrating twin in my right. The muscles along the backside of my left leg are in full-blown spasm—I have never experienced anything like this before. I open my eyes and express my concern about these twitchy muscles to a slight brunette sitting a couple feet away. The beans stop jumping for a while, and she explains what’s happening.

Scars of Survival

Scars of Survival

Most days are difficult. I mean, it’s better now that it was at some points in the past, but I know that I go through peaks and valleys. Not every day is a particularly good day. And when days get stacked together full of work and stress, and I can’t stop for a while and let every thought leave my head, those are the worst days. The days where I switch to autopilot except for the really important tasks at work or in class. But things are better now than they were in the distant past. 

Finding Myself Amidst the Clutter

Finding Myself Amidst the Clutter

Two o'clock in the morning. My mind pops awake, and the thoughts of what I should have done and what I could do better (the thoughts I avoid during the day and push to the side) come barreling in at full force like a bull coming out of its cage. The thoughts spin in a cycle, as if they are on a merry-go-round going around and around, only to wave at me as they are going past, never taking the time to stop and get off so I could have a moment of rest.

Trusting Pain, Trusting Love

Trusting Pain, Trusting Love

Avoidance. Something I know down to my very core. The art of running.

Ah, running. I have a love/hate relationship with that, too. I run to feel a release. I run to avoid the emotions that get caught up in my daily mundane tasks of the 9-to-5 job. I run to feel a physical pain that, no matter how terribly it hurts, is often less than my emotional pain. It somehow covers up the darkening of my soul and the solidification of my heart to where my insides end up looking like a black hole. Maybe I've always been a runner, figuratively.

Up in Flames

Up in Flames

Those familiar with phobias (and maybe especially those in possession of one or two) will, perhaps, take interest in this story.

“Fire and Ice,” Robert Frost’s meditation on the impending apocalypse, concludes with the assertion that ice might be an ending quite a bit nicer than fire. And yes, the irony is lost on no one (Frost, ice), but for the pyrophobic among us, the choice between fire and ice wouldn’t have required even a haiku’s worth of debate, much less nine whole lines . . .

A Second Chance at Living

A Second Chance at Living

I am two or three years old in the apartment on Johnson Street. I am supposed to be sleeping, but I am scared. I keep thinking of the book my mom read me before she kissed me goodnight and left the room. It was Snow White, and I am terrified of the talking mirror and wicked queen. I cry out for my mom. Instead, my father throws open the door, which I beg to be left open each night, and he is suddenly at my bedside—a large imposing shadow.