Four years ago I was yelled at by the guy I was…what am I doing with him? He didn’t want to date me but he held sway over my time with tantrums and violence. All the abuse, none of the commitment. 

How did I end up in that, again? 

He was unhappy because I posted my feelings on social media. I’ve always posted my feelings on social media. Writing helps me organise my thoughts, tugging away at the threads of them until I know the root and the cause and the intersections. And the great thing about social media is people can read it if they want to, ignore it if they don’t, I get the catharsis and the world keeps turning.

But something in me believed him and slowly, I stopped.

It didn’t help that, in the aftermath of my childhood cat dying, my mother told me she’d resented me since I was a teenager. I went back and wrote over everything she ever said to me with an overtone of “I wish you would just go away”. It made a disturbing amount of sense. 

I was already anxious. Now I approach every social interaction trying to work out the Bad Shit someone is saying about me in their heads, and debating the merit of their compliments with a fractured sense of self worth. It leaves me exhausted, unable to sleep at night staring at the ceiling as something whispers in my brain, “remember when you said this? They must have thought you were really dumb”.

If I wrote about it I could correct myself more. I could organise the arguments, categorize them by their flaws and file them away somewhere; words now occupying data and therefore not worthy of being stored in my brain.

Instead I hide in my flat with my cat. I have three people I trust to want me around. The majority of real life interactions are with support workers who are paid to talk to me. My friendships are played out in video games. And I feel unsatisfied because are the connections even real?

I know how to deal with anxiety by now. Anxiety has been a constant in my life. You challenge the thoughts that are wrong, repeatedly, until your brain realises that the world is not on fire and everything is Fine. It’s uncomfortable for a while but you survive, and then you grow.

But I keep letting myself be comfortable in my pain.

It’s frustrating.