How I Learned Not to Romanticize Mental Illness

Let me set the scene: approximately one in the morning, awake typing at the computer, eyes sliding shut, surrounded by anime posters and photos of my friends taped to the wall, trapped in forums and social media sites. At fifteen, I was your average blunt-bangs-wearing, journal-writing, hanging-out-in-a-graveyard teenage queer girl stereotype.

I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I romanticized mental illness and mental health issues. I longed for an emotionally tortured soul who might be able to accompany me into the late hours of the night, kept awake by insomnia, angry at the world for its discrimination. I ached for someone who I could save – or the other way around – from the trials and traumas that life hands us. With low self-esteem and a deep sense of loss after my mother’s death, I was a mess of Post-Traumatic Martyr Syndrome (that’s not real – it’s my name for how survivors of loss feel the constant need to sacrifice themselves for ‘the greater good’ because they lived and the other person did not) and striped arm warmers courtesy of the mid-2000s.

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Dreamless/Sleepless: Does Dreaming Encourage Sleeping?

Dreams have always been an interesting concept to me, mostly because I never remember mine. Sometimes I wish I did, but than again I don’t remember nightmares either. I like to think that my mind is so busy during the day because it never exercises itself while I’m asleep. It just goes to show that dreamers of the day are dangerous men.

I can admit I think too much for my own good. So much so that it keeps me up most nights. Every time I lie down it’s a battle just to silence myself. I want to believe it’s because I don’t dream. I can’t dream. I don’t know how. It’s difficult for me to accept that one moment I’ll be lying in bed trying to sleep and before I know it I’m waking up. Like no time has passed at all. Without dreams to bridge the sleep it becomes meaningless.

It becomes nothing.

Why would my brain want to stop working?

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Overbooked: Help Put On Hold

Trigger Warning For Suicide Discussion:

This is it.

It would be this easy to end it.

It would be this easy to take a life. 

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He stood against the cold metal looking straight ahead into the scarce clouds that dotted the city skyline. The sounds of engines combusting gasoline and turning pistons filled in the gaps behind him that reflected the back of his eyes with imagery. But this what just background noise.

Feedback.

Static.

Just like his mind on a constant basis.

He slowly looked down to the waters below. It was so far down. Is this what I truly want? He fought back to look in his mind for any reason not to step forward the six inches between life and death. But he found none. He heard footsteps of people walking down the sidewalk on the side of the bridge. But no one stopped. No one asked.

No one cared.

His eyes began to water as the breeze from the river brushed into his reaming emotions. How did it come to this? How did it come to the point where he wanted to die? Where each day he went to sleep hoping he wouldn’t wake up?

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Insomnia: I Had A Dream I Fell Asleep

My entire body is heavy.

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My eyelids blink with the consistency of a frozen stream. The entire room is an object in motion with the lowest shutter speed from a camera a few decades old, rusted through the dust that collects on the outside of my pupils. I roll over in an attempt to make myself more comfortable.

3:40 A.M reads the clock on my bedside.

I sigh and roll back over, throwing my arm over my forehead with my palm facing upwards.

It’s been two weeks of this. Going on three. Why can’t I sleep? Please God let me sleep.

I’m tired but the sleep won’t find me. I remain invisible to the dust that needs to fall on my eyelids. It’s like I don’t exist. The rest of the world is asleep and here I am,

Awake.

Alone.

With only my thoughts.

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