I still feel defined by mental illness. The other day I woke up and was right back in the middle of it: the fear, the confusion, the hopelessness. My whole body felt immobilised. I couldn’t move from my bed. I kept trying to get up but each time I felt the weight of my body drag me back down. I was stuck to the floor like a damp leaf. I told myself to pull it together, but instead I felt like I was being pulled apart. It was scary. I was scared.

In the afternoon I managed to finally leave the house, but I felt sick and thought I might collapse. Horrible feelings stirred up inside of me. I looked around at a world of people, all living their lives. I felt the emptiness of my own hit me like a stab in the chest. I couldn’t breathe. I ran into a side street and gasped for air. My head went giddy. The world seemed to tremble. The thought of wanting to curl up and die was overwhelming. I cried out loud. It was a wretched sound. I hoped someone might find me, but no one came.  Only a bird flew past. A gate creaked. The trees shook in the wind.

I realised that even the little bird had more sense of purpose than I do. My life is so small. It’s never been able to grow. It is isolated, barren, sad and lonely. I have nothing in it that brings me joy, fulfilment or meaning. I don’t know what to do or even what I can do. In the past every endeavour and positive opportunity for change I’ve taken up has eventually -and inevitably-  fallen through under the pressure of my mental health problems. I have no qualifications, no social network, no job. No nothing. I have me, but I need more than just me. Me alone is not a life.

I walked until I reached the town centre. I sat on a bench in the middle of a busy street. Questions came into my head: What is wrong with me? Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I make sense of myself? Where is me among all of this chaos? But I had no answers. I wondered if I was going mad. I felt completely and utterly lost. I was desperate all over again. I know I cannot be anyone else, but I am so tired of myself. I want to start over. I want my past memories to disappear. I want to open up to change and learn to live in the world. I simply have no idea how or where to start.

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