Poor chemistry

It’s like…let’s say you cut your hand–bad. You’re upset, you’re in pain; people ask you, “Hey what’s wrong?” You grimace and point to your hand and they understand instantly. Empathy oozes from them, “I know how you feel.” So you go to the doctor and the doctor asks what’s wrong and you say, “Doc, I cut my hand. I’m in pain. I need stitches.” So the doctor stitches you up and sends you down a clear path of recovery.

But with mental illness there is nothing to point to and say I’m in pain. You go the doctor and she asks, “Where does it hurt?” You think for a moment, having never really placed it before, and you say “You know what Doc? It fucking hurts everywhere.”

I often think if I could just find a way to concentrate the issue, to pin point the soreness then maybe I could start to heal. It’s like making some intangible thing suddenly fully textured. Cutting my skin, breaking my bones, or bruising me is cathartic. It’s like taking the breath I’ve been holding for a long time. There’s a little pain but it’s drowned in relief. It’s making the outside look like the inside, like standing under a giant blinking neon arrow…just so I can say, “Hey, it hurts right here.”

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For me, love always looked like brandy, cigarette smoke, and that taste of pennies in your mouth. For years I’d gone searching for it down back alleys and dirt roads. When I found it, I’d make my bed at its feet as it stood over me deciding what I deserved. My worth was its sole opinion until I was older and heard stories of love being softer and brighter. It wasn’t supposed to want to change you. There was no abuse, no cruelty, no neglect. That’s when I realized all that time I’d followed an imposter draped in a cloak who called himself Love.