I got lost somewhere

and ended up here. This is not where I was headed, not purposefully. Not that I ever really considered myself on track, but there was definitely an additional pointed and deliberate (or at least it felt deliberate) shove to the side sometime last year, off the tracks, into the weeds. My health plummeted, and my mental health with it. When I try to pinpoint exactly when, October 2018 is as specific as I can manage: when things became not simply emotionally trying but near-impossible. I got sick, I got gallstones, I had surgery, I got sick again. And so on. Accompanied by the rot of my brain taking on a whole new form, gaining strength and asserting dominance. I also remember being very determined that 2019 would be different, I would MAKE it different. 2019 would be the year of me, of health and creative fulfillment and the death of The Face, staring at me with its ugly little eyes. 8 viruses, three separate suicide plans, one failed co-op placement, several pity grades later and I am 27 and sick again with some sort of bug and wondering when the change will come, if it will ever come.

27 now. As my new therapist says, I am losing daylight. It was okay to be sort of unstable and uncertain at 24, but at 27 with no progress or change in sight? What exactly are we doing here, if we can’t find contentment or satisfaction or even the smallest nugget of silvery meaning, if we can’t achieve growth or creative marriage, if we can’t even go a week without a headache pinning us to the bed? What IS this? Empty hours “achieving” survival. We aren’t alive the way we’re meant to be. I was born to be scribbling bad stories or painting terrible pictures or preening and showing off my pretty hair onstage. I was never exceptional but I was engaged, I was committed to the project of solidifying my imaginings so they could be perceived by others.

I’m ashamed of how many hours since October 2018 I’ve spent on deciding what movie I could watch to distract me. Because survival is LONG. Survival takes years. Survival takes a lifetime. At some point, survival is meant to become more than itself, is meant to become a more measured sort of life, projects and domesticity and career and goals, a sense of oneself, a life one has constructed. But in the meantime, while we work simply for survival itself, it is a very long business. If anyone knows of any good distracting movies, let me know.

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I'm a former student of English literature, an editor and a creative writer who has been attempting to live with body dysmorphic disorder as well as severe anxiety and a recent diagnosis of Bipolar II. I believe that struggles with mental health are often lifelong and people in these situations need comfort, support and occasional moments of peace granted to them in order to survive.

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