I feel it coming.

That moment when the last string holding shit together finally breaks and everything comes spilling out. That moment when the last screw in the last hinge comes loose and the door flies right off the wall. That moment when everything comes crashing down because the weight is just too much to handle.

I am tired. Physically and emotionally spent. But I can’t even sleep anymore, between the noise in my head and the noise right outside my door. Every ring of the doorbell, every knock at the door, every 3 AM TV show played on volume 50, every fucking noise in the middle of the night — I hear it. And I can’t sleep.

And it drains me. At a time when my body needs the most rest, I am getting the least. The least sleep. The least food. The least of everything. I am running on fumes, and I’m waiting for the day when I finally run out of gas and drop to the floor.

I thought about going to the hospital, which is ironic considering I just fought my way out of there two weeks ago when I was sick. But there are things there that I can’t get right now: a safe place to sleep, three meals a day, quiet, and care. I need those things, right now more than ever.

But I can’t do that. I can’t just drop everything and pretend like my needs matter. The world doesn’t work like that. If I went to the hospital, I wouldn’t be able to go to work, and right now I can’t even afford a tissue to sneeze in. So what choice do I have? No matter what I do, I’m fucked in one way or another.

I try to get care in wherever I can. I stay at work just so I can have some peace and quiet. I sleep there, too. I feed myself off of unwanted food and value menu items I buy with the gift cards I got for Christmas. I use another gift card to go to the movies to give myself a break from my life for a little while. I don’t think my coworkers and friends will ever know how much their gifts have helped me get through these last couple weeks. They have indirectly been my source of care, of peace and sustenance.

This isn’t a way to live. I can’t do it anymore. I shouldn’t have to live like this. I shouldn’t have to sleep at work. I shouldn’t have to look for peace and solace in places that aren’t my home. I shouldn’t have to feel trapped inside my own room.

But don’t worry about me. I’m fine. I still get out of bed. I still go to work in the morning. I am still breathing.

Is that enough?

Endless fear

When the doorbell rings, normal people stop what they’re doing, see who’s there, and answer the door.

When the doorbell rings, I stop what I’m doing. My heart races, so much that I can hear it beating in my ears. I can’t breathe. I don’t want to breathe, because I’m afraid if I do, they will know I am here. Five different scenarios run through my head, and none of them are good (or even rational). I always end up hiding in the closet or the bathroom, waiting for the worst to happen.

One incident is enough to drain me for the rest of the day. By the time I’ve calmed down (minutes, sometimes hours later), I have no energy left to do anything but sleep.

But yesterday, the doorbell rang (and was followed by several knocks on the door) not once, not twice, but six times.

I was a wreck. The first two times it happened, I was downstairs and locked myself in the bathroom. I was able to calm myself down after ten or so minutes. Then when it happened a third time, the panic was overwhelming. It was too much. I didn’t feel safe. I locked every lock and closed every window, then went upstairs to my room and locked my door.

Then it happened a fourth time. My mind went into overdrive. My mother found me. She knows I’m here. It’s the only thing that made sense. Who else would be ringing the bell and knocking so consistently? Not the mailman. Not a solicitor. It was someone who wanted me to open that door. It’s her.

By the time the bell rang a sixth time, I had barricaded my door with so much crap that no one would be able to push their way in. But I still didn’t feel safe. I knew where I was. I knew I was in my bedroom. I knew the doors were locked and I was blocked in. But I still felt in danger. I was scared of my mother. My mother, who doesn’t even know where I live.

I was still on edge even after the ringing and knocking stopped. Every single noise made me jump. Every car passing outside. Every creak of the floor. Every step the cat took downstairs. Every sound was magnified and I couldn’t make it stop.

My body was tired, but I couldn’t sleep. I spent hours fighting battles inside, trying to stay in the safe reality while my mind was tied to the dangerous past. After several hours, I gave up. I took just enough medicine to knock me out, because I knew that was the only way I was going to make it through.

Now as I’m sitting here, a day later, I’m wondering when it will stop. When will I not have to hide? When will I feel safe? When will I not be afraid of my mother? When will I not live in constant fear?

Is any of that even possible?

People don’t understand the fear I carry with me every day. You’re free now. Yea, I’m physically free. Mentally, I am still in prison. I am still a scared child. I am still in danger. Your mother won’t hurt you anymore, you got away. Exactly. I got away. I was never supposed to be able to leave her. I committed the ultimate sin, and now I am perpetually waiting for my punishment.

I’m tired. I’m tired of hiding every time there’s a knock at the door, because I’m afraid she will come in and get me. I’m tired of wearing four shirts and three pairs of underwear every day because I’m afraid she will come and hurt me. I’m tired of sleeping with a knife under my pillow every night because I’m afraid she will come and kill me.

I’m tired of living my life in fear, because it’s not the life I want to live.

As I sit here at my favorite coffee shop, waiting out of the cold before I start work in half an hour or so, I’m thinking to myself how long am I going to make myself suffer?

I am running on two hours of sleep. I’ve just used up the last of my gift card for a small iced coffee that I am hoping will be enough to get me through my next eight hour shift at work. I have a case report due for my psychopathology class today, and a discussion on consultation for my ethics class due as well. And I’m already running on empty. The sun has just risen, and I’m already dead.

And this isn’t the first time. I go through this over and over again, telling myself that things will change, that people will change. But nothing changes. I have to change. I have to realize that I have enough worth in this world and I have to make a change. I don’t deserve the life I’m leading right now.

I have so much going on. It may not seem like a lot to some, but it’s a lot to me. I work a job that I really happen to enjoy, with coworkers that I really have grown to appreciate, love, and care for. I don’t care if you think it’s not a real job just because I don’t make more than you. I wake up every morning and go to work and earn a paycheck. I write my blog every other week. That’s real work to me, too. It matters and it makes a difference in others’ lives. And I deserve to be able to write my articles with a clear mind and in a decent environment. I should be able to move forward with my advocacy work, but I keep falling behind because I’m so exhausted and stressed out from everything else going on in my life that could probably be avoided. And school. Grad school is a lot of work. And I bring my books and my laptop to work just so I can get a few moments of clear thinking in because I just never know what life will bring to me elsewhere.

I’m fucking tired. I deserve peace and solitude and respect and love and care and decency and all of those positive things, but my situation is holding me back from that and it needs to change.

I just need energy, strength, courage, and maybe a rich husband.