Mental Health

With The Stroke of a Pen, I am Released

For the entirety of my stay back home from a long day of Calculus midterms and my lab professor expecting me to teach the class, I’ve been trying to write on my blog. The evening planned ahead was full of hard cider and Star Wars films, thanks to a movie themed week in my English class. I was excited to sit back in my couch, the whole house to myself while the boys were away, to write my evening away. Then I started to experience glitches on my web browser.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that we haven’t paid our Comcast bill timely, or I’m too dense to work a computer anymore, but WordPress wasn’t loading. My morale fell, taking my excited mood with it. My head filled anxiety: what if I was taken down by Capitalist entities? What if I’ve been identified as a Communist already from my first post? My chest soon became heavy and filled with grief, worrying about the safety of my mother and family if I was found out. What happens if my family sees through my post and starts attacking my mother for raising a ND organizer?

Then I snapped out of it. Reason started to wash over and realize I’m just some science student screaming into the void. In moments like these, I’m reminded most that I’m ill. My anxiety has always ruled my life, taking my peace of mind with it. I have never felt truly at peace as a human being, constantly questioning the people around me and their intentions. I’ve become guarded, living in fear of being crossed again. I live a very lonely life, absorbed in letter grades and moody authors.

Anxiety is the friend who never leaves my couch. She’s the friend who promised to squat for week and stayed for a lifetime. She never pays rent and drinks all our booze. Anxiety is the lover you never leave because she’s all you’ve known. She whispers in my ear whenever a boy on campus looks me. She cackles at my discomfort when old men stare at me too long. She sits back with a stoge resting between her grinning lips as I become nauseous at the sight of food. She will never leave me, and learning to live with her has become my greatest challenge.

It seems like the only time my anxiety is relived is when I write. Even as I write about my anxiety, my muscles have softened. The words flow like a stream of water bursting through a crack in a rock. I reach a deeper understanding and  of self, letting the gears in my brain turn as I reflect and analyze the thoughts spilling on the page. Writing is the one thing that makes me feel good as everything else around me gives into the pleas of gravity and crash.

I first started to write in early grade school. As I dashed through the halls, I felt the eyes of my classmates burn into the back of my head. Their daunting laughter ringed through my ears as I contained my emotions, darting from class to class. I found solace through my English teachers, who opened the world of books and language. I fell in love with the fear the ran through my body as I read horror novels. I gasped at the excitement of science fiction, the thrill of fantasy. I fell into hard, fast love into the work of creative writing and books at prime of grade school: 7 years young.

I wrote my first novel in 5TH grade. “The Haunted Locker: Locker 101” was held together with a variety of staples and binder paper, my smudged drawing of a locker covering the entirety of the front cover. The novel was almost 100 pages long, with ten chapters. It told the tale of a young high school Filipina girl who was assigned to a haunted locker. The locker was traced back to many dead high school students, and the young heroine had to do everything in her power to fight the deadly entity who was out for her life. She used the powers of “the scientific method”, whatever that may mean to a ten year old, to fight the entity and won a Nobel Prize.

I pushed aside my love of writing has I reached the end of high school. During my Senior year, I fell victim to the years of bottled up trauma I endured during the first few years of being a teenager. He was a local musician in my hometown, a friendly face in the city. I was in love with him and he saw me for who I was. He loved the way I sang, how my eyes twinkled when I laughed. He put a knife to my throat when he raped me, letting me know that “Baby, it’ll be over soon. Don’t you know how special you are to me?” I washed my sheets when he left and never wore that shirt again.

Being brutalized by my first love rattled me to my core. Every light in my world flickered out as I worked to piece together my self worth. I was in an out of hospitalizations from overdoses, unable to walk and eat. Whenever I mustered back my physical strength, SciFi somehow made its way back into my life as I clutched Issac Asimov’s “Foundations” close to my chest in my hospital bed. I read Ned Vizzini, comforted that people like myself weren’t just crazy. I took refuge in words, took comfort in sentences.

The world of writing and literature has always been my release in the darkest of times. Creating worlds at the edges of my fingertips has always been exhilarating and crucial to my emotional well being and development. Writing gave me a voice that was originally silenced and my ability not only express but stand up for myself has become that much more strengthened.

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