You incapacitated me and brought waves of pain rushing through my body until I thought my skin would tear from the pressure that built inside me. My throat contracted and burned, the back of head throbbed, my eyes stung. You filled me up with searing heat and insidious thoughts. You made me say terrible things to the people I love. I lashed out at people who didn’t deserve it. You made me run people out of my life and I lost friends I didn’t think I could. You made me irritable and mean, an ugliness that left me feeling fundamentally unknowable. You slipped into the empty spaces between my words, making wounds that were deeper and hurt more than anything I could make on my body. You, an assassin, destroyed everything and the end result was so painful that it seemed to change the size and relative gravity of the objects around me.
Everything always fell apart when you’d appear. Bad stuff happened to my family and friends and even strangers in blindingly fast succession. I became unhinged, devalued, isolated and alone, cultivating toxic theories, and barely floating. I didn’t see gray. I was fearful at times, reckless at others, descending and ascending mood mountains, equally parts irritable and overjoyed in an hour. And always hurt. The default condition.
You drained me and brought me to a blank state. The fatigue I stored inside me was so heavy, I couldn’t leave my bed. I breathed depression into my lungs, growing it and cultivating it. I made it mine so that even when I started to heal, I remained cratered at the center of myself. I sat alone at home convinced no one would ever want to be there sitting next to me.
You made me vulnerable to every little slight, awkward glance, forgotten message. But this sensitivity to feeling also came with a heightened capacity to feel the emotions of others with my own. You made me more in tune with the feelings of others and I came to appreciate and cherish others more. It wasn’t your intention, but you made me a better friend and taught me how to help people better. You taught me lessons about myself that I can teach to others, and you taught me a loneliness that I don’t want others to ever feel. I’ve isolated myself from a lot of people, but I’m in the process of drawing nearer again. My survival was not tied to the fact of any particular person continuing to love me. I have found my power from you in small but significant things, and important but unexpected people. I will get better at living with you and managing you.