I have struggled to write for these past few months because there has only been one story I have wanted to tell but I haven’t been able to figure out quite how to share it.

I’ve worried that, if I tell it wrong, I’ll sound crazy or incompetent.

Or people will look at me differently.
Or pity me.
Or be concerned.
I guess one of my main worries is that I would worry people… Welcome to my anxious brain, my friends.

I will begin by saying: I’m okay – actually, I’ve been great lately. I have been happy and have energy and I laugh an obscene amount. I finally feel like myself again… but it did take me awhile to get back here. I embraced the “anxiety” label long ago, but I am still coming to terms with the fact that my anxiety went into overdrive last year and, for a while, morphed into depression.

I still don’t know how to tell this story.

In the end, life is just a series of moments. I wrote the pieces below at different points throughout 2015 – a year that had many beautiful moments, but also some of the hardest of my life. They each depict a moment of significance that I wanted to dive deeper into; that caused me to pick up my pen or sit down at my keyboard and write. I often started writing, but never seemed to be able to sit down and finish anything. I wanted (and tried many times) to string these moments together into some sort of narrative that might explain to everyone – including myself – how and why I felt the way I did throughout last summer and fall.

I never did figure out how to piece together that eloquent narrative I so wanted to create. Instead, I have decided to share two of the random thoughts and moments that I started to write about during what I often now jokingly refer to as “the dark days” or “the breakdown” – even though nobody else thinks that it’s funny. I am ready to purge them, regardless of their lack of structure and transitions.

Anxiety and depression lack structure and transition too, so maybe this is the way this story was always meant to be told.

*          *          *

It was mid-September and I was standing in front of the mirror in my bedroom, staring, but barely recognizing myself.

Anxiety always has been and always will be a part of my life. But they were always just that: Moments. Sure, sometimes those moments collided with one another and lasted for hours or days or weeks, but there always seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel and then suddenly… there I was. The moment would pass, I would adapt to the situation, and my anxiousness would cease. Out of the tunnel and ready to bask in that light.

In that particular moment, standing in front of the mirror, I didn’t feel like I had confidence in anything, least of all myself.

I had an event to go to but none of my clothes fit – dresses and skirts lay in a heap on my bed. The formalwear hung off of my too-thin frame making me look a little girl playing dress-up in adult clothing. I wanted to cry but I was all cried out, so instead I just stared. I counted my ribs, too easily visible; I studied my eyes, dimmer than usual and surrounded by dark circles; and I scowled at my dull skin. For the first time in my life, I thought to myself that this might be it: I was trapped. Perhaps, there was no light at the end of this tunnel after all. I felt hopeless.

A few text messages later and my evening plans were cancelled. The newly-oversized BCBG dress I had been so excited to land at a thrift store a few months prior was shoved onto the floor and I was back in pajamas. I curled up in a ball on the brown love seat that passes for a couch in my tiny apartment, pulled my favorite blanket over my head, and wanted to stay there forever.

And for a blurry few months, I think that a part of me did stay on that couch, even when I wasn’t physically there.

*          *          *

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.  – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

No disrespect to Mr. Coelho, but I call bullshit. Because I wanted you… and clearly the universe had other plans.

Bon voyage, my faux friend. The universe was right yet again.

I wish I didn’t want you to be happy but I really, really do – alone, or with her. I hate that I want you to have laughter, and love, and a dance partner who can keep up with your spins – but I do, even though the thought of it makes my chest tighten and my stomach ache sometimes. I hate that I never told you how horrible you made me feel back then. Not because I was ashamed or embarrassed, but because I knew that it would hurt you to know how much you hurt me and I hated the thought of causing you pain. Or maybe I just hoped that such knowledge would hurt you. I was never brave enough to find out for sure.

All I know is that I really cared, even if you never did.

You didn’t break my heart.
I just spent a lot of time thinking about you back then.

A long time ago, my brilliant friend, Abby, told me her theory about why we get so caught up on certain people – specifically, the people who send us the most mixed signals. We spend so much time trying to make sense of the confusion that our brain mistakes our pondering with yearning and makes us think that we care about someone more than we do. Ours could be an example in the book I will encourage Abby to write someday.

You didn’t break my heart.
You were the person who reminded me that I had a heart to break and that I could get still excited about new people.

You have high walls but mine were even higher: There was so much we never covered or learned about each other. Can you fall for someone who doesn’t know your favorite song or remember your middle name? I never met your mom and you will never get to eat one of my dad’s omelettes. We never went on a trip together and I never saw you cry. But still: something about you lit up a piece of my heart that I thought was permanently extinguished by someone before you. I am angry about and grateful for that painful gift.

You didn’t break my heart.
You just happened to be the person who put out a hand when I was beginning to drown, and then kicked me back down when I was halfway out of the water.

I felt so close and so far from you all at once – maybe because I met you just as I was beginning to disconnect from the rest of the world. A part of me wanted to blame you for feeling so sad and lonely back then… a bigger part of me knows that I was already drifting away when we met. It’s strange to realize that I will probably never see you again. It’s even stranger to realize that you never saw the real me to begin with.

You didn’t break my heart.
You just happened to be the person who was drowning right next to me all along.

I hope you have figured out how to pull yourself up.

*          *          *

So, maybe people will look at me differently, pity me, and be concerned after reading this. Maybe they’ll think I’m both crazy and incompetent. The difference is that now I know that I am none of those things.

And I’m ready to start a new story.

8 thoughts on “Moments.

  1. Kate, you are an extremely talented, sensitive person. All sensitive people feel things more deeply than others but, although, I have only met you a couple of times, I know that you are going to be successful in life and I wish you all the luck in the world. Don’t be hard on yourself. Love, Pam

  2. Thank you for sharing these deeply personal moments. You are so gifted, so insightful, strong yet sensitive, and honest – truly true to yourself.

    • Mila! It is so wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for your lovely note and for taking the time to read. We are long-overdue for a catch up email. I miss you!

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