Written by Linda
I had a dream that I could never forget.
My dreams are always cryptic, foreboding, dark, and significant.
My mother and I, drifting in some undefined and clouded limbo so bright that we couldn’t keep our eyes open, were presented with two flasks. A reassuring voice like molasses filled the void around us, telling us that all it takes is one sip to forget everything; to be someone else forever, to cease to be and be somewhere else.
My mother and I, looked at each other in agreement and without a second thought, downed those flasks. Then I woke up.
I revisited that dream again and again, trying to derive its significance and pondering what would have come after we drank those flasks.
In my dark days, I wonder what it feels like to be someone else; a neurotypical – someone who isn’t damaged, dysfunctional, and broken. I desperately wish to be someone else – anyone but me – or I wish for the tranquility of nonexistence; to feel nothing and be nothing.
My name is L and I have a life-long condition. My chaotic childhood and my genetic makeup brought me here and every day is a struggle. From my research and what I’ve heard from countless people with the same condition, I know that this is a life sentence.
Yet every day, I try my best to thrive; to go beyond and excel in everything I do, to throw my all into everything I care about. I even built a network of stalwart, amazing, and supportive friends and mentors around me, so that I can keep pushing forward.
But despite everything and everyone who keeps me afloat, I still return to this dark place. It’s inevitable.
Slight disagreements, arguments, conflicts – they all trigger my deepest fears and insecurities and I return to this dark, damp, and familiar place again.
Wanting to disappear, to feel nothing, and to be nothing.
I desperately wish to be “normal” in the medical sense of the word. My family has been blessed with great physical health but we are wracked with mental illnesses and I want to trade – not discounting the suffering and struggles of those with physical disorders – my mental condition for a physical condition.
My differentiation is clearly apparent in my interactions and I can taste the confusion, exasperation, and distaste in those around me, especially those who do not struggle with clinical depression and other mental disorders. I can feel their exhaustion and frustration and every day I wish to be able to “reset” memories so I can make them forget me and my mistakes, and maybe start all over again.
But the truth is – no matter how many new beginnings I am allotted, I make the same fearful, paranoid, and delusional mistakes all over again.
So when I meet new people who are wholesome and healthy, I try my best to shield them from my “quirks” – all of me.
But as we grow close, they inevitably experience the toxicity of my warped personality and I am yet again, stuck in a painful situation where I must decide whether to leave them early or to draw them into my drama.
It always unfolds the same way, no matter how hard I try to prevent things from falling apart.
I am really tired of this. I am stuck here, in this existence, trying to better myself and make something of my hopeless life, before it shatters into irreparable fragments.
How do I get better without involving others in my drama and toxicity, when alienation and solitude only pull me deeper into the abyss?
This is my lifelong question that I must answer, despite all odds.