There is this thing that lives in my chest. It’s been called depression and anxiety. It’s been called unresolved grief and avoidant personality disorder. It’s been called bullshit and self-absorption.
I use to picture it as a hole or a vacuum, but lately it has definitely made its presence known as a living creature. It’s soft and smudged at the edges. It’s almost comforting to feel it. But it bites.
It chews on my ribcage when I walk towards my car or look at my phone or pick up a course syllabus. It’s hurting me now. It’s so alert to any kind of attention. That wakes it right up every time.
I don’t think it means any harm, even when it keeps me awake all night. It looks out for danger. It fights so hard because it wants to keep us safe. The difficult question is, where is safe? What is safe? Who?
There are days when the answer is, no one and nothing. The world outside my apartment is an intricate network of traps, big and small, endless threats to my thoughts and my feelings and my very life. Sometimes it actually fades into pure abstraction. My thoughts are real. My cats are real when they curl up next to me and meow for attention. Everything else is some kind of haze, or some kind of trick.
I barely left my apartment last week. The thing in my chest had my very heart in its jaws.
I’m better right now. I don’t know why. Sometimes it just relaxes like that.
There are good days and bad.