A Tiny Call For Help

I know very well that I’m only one tiny organism out of billions, and that my life does not matter much in the long run, that nothing matters, really, seeing as the sun will one day expand in a red wash of fiery energy and engulf the earth and instantly vaporise every single living creature on it, but…

                   …I skipped school today.

So many thoughts are swirling in my head, a crowd of vultures pecking at my skull for attention. I’ll try and stand still and let them descend, one by one, until they pick me clean. I would like to be a skeleton.

My loathing for school has reached an all-time peak, to the point where it is making me physically ill to attend classes. One of the main reasons for this is the impersonal nature of the educational system, where you have all these students crammed into a small space, chattering and laughing and socialising, while I’m left dangling at the fringes, trying to suppress immense anxiety at my own awkwardness. Today, in class, I sat next to someone who I had interacted poorly with many times, and almost had a panic attack right there in class. I seem to have a lack of ability to tolerate people at all, especially in crowds, and feel so starved of solitude my soul is withered with the deprivation.

Motivation for my classes have plummeted. Even some of my favourite subjects, like English, hold little allure for me anymore; every single class is so regimented and dull, it’s more like a game of connect-the-dots than actual learning. Teachers talk to us and we parrot back whatever they say. Hundreds of students clip-clop down the corridors down like automatons, faces gleaming with fixed, metal smiles. The entire affair is an object of horror, like lying down in a casket crawling with cockroaches. I want to scream. Hard little bodies are tickling over my tongue and down my throat to skitter among my organs. I want to scream.

After one of my classes, during which the teacher publicly showcased by incompetency for not keeping up with the coursework, I walked slowly by myself into the bathroom, locked myself in a cubicle and cried until I felt like I’d squeezed all the juice possible from my face. It was very dramatic, and stupid, but I was in so much pain, over everything, that I simply had to release it, though silently, so no-one in the cubicle next to me could hear. Then I just picked up my bag and strolled out the school gates and caught the bus home, even though I still had two more classes until the end of the school day.

Just like that.

A sense of surreality now overlays everything. I’m so detached and dead inside, even reality has begun to thin, and what lays beyond I do not want to see.

Honestly, what I’m writing may sound lighthearted, but it’s not. I’m really struggling. I hate saying that, because I don’t matter, but I just have to write it out, if only for the sake of catharsis. I’m really depressed. Social isolation at school has only grown worse: it seems as if I can’t relate to the other students at all, like they’re these gleaming, shiny, highly-developed creatures while I still remain stunted and unseen and strange, an abnormality from the Old Age. I can’t stand the lot of them. Teachers used to tell me I’m talented (before I started getting serious about my writing dream), the school counselor told me it would be a shame for me to drop out when I was such a bright student, but how can I POSSIBLY be a halfway-smart human being if my grades are falling like shot birds and I can’t even manage basic social interaction with my peers without a panic attack?

That’s the worst thing: the attacks from the inside are far stronger than the external. My desired path in life is to drop out of school, get a part-time job and obsessively pursue writing in my free time. But the self-doubt is overwhelming, clawing up my throat like goblins, until I can’t swallow, I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I can only choke and choke and choke. If I can’t even talk to the kids at school, how on earth am I supposed to land a job anywhere? And what places hire a highschool dropout? But the biggest doubt of it all squats squarely on my chest like a bloated slug the size of a bed, slime dripping into my eyes and mouth and nose: I doubt my own abilities. I doubt them so much I can’t even see anything except the slug, taste anything except the slime. I live in the swamp, every minute of my life, trying to keep the marshland out of my lungs. To take a gamble on my own writing and creative talents when I’m sure I’m delusional and fooling myself, is terrifying. I can’t speak for the terror. Even now, every word I write is atrocious, so terrible, that it makes me cringe. You are an idiot, the voice screeches. You’ll never be a writer. You’ll die with your words unsung, your books still locked away in the library of your heart. Quit dreaming.

Unfortunately, writing is the only skill I have. Anything that requires the slightest social interaction is odious to me – I do have social anxiety – and I have trouble relating to others which I’m sure is some terrible, personality defect. But I must get a part-time job to help my mother somehow, who barely scrapes by as it is without a drop-out daughter. My existence will be a stain upon her heart, and I don’t think I could bear to live in this world anymore if I were not able to get a job, if I failed my mother, my mother, who has already gone through so much.

These words are disgusting smears of excrement on the page. I blame sleep deprivation, to preserve my waif-thin ego, as last night I was so caught up in the web of my thoughts, so feverish with anxiety, that I did not sleep the entire night. At this rate, I’m afraid of becoming a downright dysfunctional human being, one of those twitching, haggard, neurotic ladies who cart around plastic bags like old ghosts. I’ll end up homeless, trailing the streets with my ragged dress and broken dreams, too dirty and lowly to even gain admittance to a public library and enjoy the books I so love.

I just feel so wrong. So broken and wrong, so bad and stupid, so silly and pathetic, so hopeless and useless. And I don’t know what to do. I fear that if I wallow in the black sticky pool of my thoughts any longer, I’ll drown. Today, while on my way home, for the briefest of seconds, I contemplated just running out onto the road on the off-chance I car would hit me and end this suffering. I obviously didn’t, but I was frightened that I’d even considered it. It would have been so easy.

The world is so loud. The cars are so loud. Everyone talks so loud. Everyone is coarse and hard around the edges. My aura is starting to gutter like a candle flame in their presence – soon, it will wink out, I know it will, it’s just a matter of time. Existential depression lurks always in the corner of my mind, an elegant demon in a gray-suit and with eyes cold as the universe. Books hold no allure. I can’t write. I can’t write.

I don’t even know what I’m writing about anymore. Words that once seemed to me a ticket to bliss now hang like fleshy growths from my body, misshapen and bloated and veined. None of my stories work, and each time I try to begin a novel, it runs out of steam before it leaves the station, sputtering and disintegrating into a mass of rusty parts and wheels. What do I have? Nothing. Not even hope. I just don’t…know…anything.

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22 thoughts on “A Tiny Call For Help

  1. “What do I have?” – an incredible talent for expressing yourself through words. I’ve been doing this for decades now, and I certainly think you are selling yourself short. You can’t write “gutter like a candle flame” and expect not to turn into someone who will find so much solace in words. Believe me, you will. And I think it will make this struggle worth it. I hope you feel better, young comrade.

  2. I “liked” this but I don’t like it, you know? There needs to be “I hear ya” button. I can feel your desperation but just keep holding on and keep writing. I think it will be your way out.

  3. But… you have so many followers/supporters here.
    You must be doing something right.

    I dropped out of 11th grade and never looked back.
    To me the choice was easy, do what makes me happy.

    Hang in there bud, things’ll be alright.
    Huuugs

      • I was working 2 hours a day for a finance company filing paperwork.
        Once I dropped out, they signed me on full time.
        I was 16 making 20 grand a year. It’s the best time to save since you have no financial responsibilities.
        I’ve been with them since, climbing up the ladder.
        Watching my peers struggle to find jobs even with a degree, i’ve realized experience weighs a lot more than education.

        I too was a quiet child. Literally for 3 years, I would go in, do my job and get out.
        I was offered a position that made me actually socialize with people and it helped me open up some.

  4. Hello.

    Wow, hold on. Did you ever heard of Marcel Proust?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Proust

    He was a french writer who dreamed about being… a writer. Oh! As far as I can tell (with some research), he made of his life, a damnation in hell, one of the most famous novels ever published: In Search of Lost Time. Translated from french, it refers to the idea of trying to recover the one’s wasted time. Because his life was a complete waste. Or so he thought. Although I had only read reviews of this novel, I learned some interesting facts about his life. Hope this to reasonate with you. He was poor in health (eventual asthma attack), lived with his mother until his middle thirties (when the beloved died) and had a history of “failed” novels (very long and the audience did not like them). But he was a peculiar case of underdog. Because the odds would rather make us think he was lucky. Which surely was not the case. For example, he didn’t have to worry about money. At least, until his mother died and the inheritance started to run out. He was a social freak. Unable to express himself properly, eccentric in behavior and awkward looking. He tried so hard, after years and years reading a lot, write a novel that could capture the essence of his knowledge and experiences. He read science, psychology, biology and literature books. He learned english enough to translate letters on his own (this may not sound promising nowadays, but remember, he was born in 1871). But here comes the most interesting part, at least for me, when he started to immerse himself in the french aristocracy society which was in decline. Going to parties, involving himself in complex relationships (girls, men, all kinds of love triangle, love square, love pentagon, love hexagon, you name it), exploiting the psychology behind human behavior, putting himself in chit-chat, gossips and plots. But always as a NEUTRAL OBSERVER. Learning from others, he took all this vivacity, all this rancor, luxury and lust from the society and give it back. With his novel, of course.

    Why am I telling you this? School. Yes, if you can’t stand school, so do as Proust did. Be a neutral observer. Bend in. Take advantage from it! Do research with real people! Want to inspire life into your novel’s characters, so learn from real people. Maybe you don’t realize, but you have at your disposal all raw materials. Study their behavior from life. Make notes, try to create characters based on your friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Write everything down, mainly the subtle details: expressions, intentions, phrases, postures, behavior. Study them! If classes are so boring that you feel like crying in the bathroom, why not make this a pleasurable experience? Be a social scientist if boredom is your fate.

    In order to close the above topic, I recommend you the books Mastery, from Robert Greene (he describes Proust’s life). And Mastery from George Leonard.

    I don’t believe you are into videogames, are you? Because I have a testimony. Games really saved my soul from reality (histories, characters, music, art, mindset, everything I am made of. Okay, maybe not). But I won’t go any further, I just want to give you practical advice. So I also recommend the book Reality is Broken, from Jane McGonigal.

    About skipping school… (politically correct people, parents, politicians, teachers and all sort of brainwashed law enforcement people will disapprove): do it. Deliberately. If you feel like skipping classes, just for the sake of doing something more productive with your time, take a chance. I speak from experience, and I never paid a high price for it. If this help, I guarantee you that the only thing useful that you can get from school is culture. Of course, there are also superficial knowledge, you get to know people, connect and learn from them. Besides, you may even get a boyfriend there. Marry. We never know. Life is surely unpredictable. But if you want to catalyst changes and keep the schedule loose enough in order to take advantage from broken forecasts, you have to invest in the only resource that will subsist until your last breath: you.

    As you stated, the future of all living things in this planet is to die, someday, with the Sun. Billions and billions of years ago, we were all dead. Inexistent. One hundred years from know (I think), we’re all be dead. And stay that way for billions and billions of years until the end of time. Again. So, please. Stop considering going crazy in the roads trying to get hit by a car. Think about living, staying alive, as much as you can. Is life painful? So be it, make fun of it. Laugh at face of the demon. Are you mentally weak? So do what I do sometimes, suck the strength of others. Yes. Do it. From time to time, I always go nuts reading thrash content from self-help and self development (the charlatan kind of) books. (Un)fortunately, I’m dumb enough to fall for those hacks and tricks to shift my mindset. Guess what, some work! So, what can I do for you? Here: have my strength. Partially, whatever. Have my words. If anything can be useful here, take it. Incorporate whatever you want into your mindset. Choose your influences. We are not only genetics and neural arrangements, the environment and the people nearby change us as well. Bend with them. Camouflage, blossom your mind, expand your worldview. Be expansive.

    Hey, relax. Just relax, okay? Don’t go into despair. Take a breath. Go to walk. Listen to soft music. Appreciate nature. Write your feelings down, as you did, when the cloudy atmosphere of reality hit you. Don’t think like this: I have to endure this situation, oh my lord! Ask yourself: how can I make the best of these circumstances? Even if we are walking in the ashes of burned dreams, don’t give up. Just wait the cycle of nature take place, the wind blow the ashes slowly, opening space to new life that awaits fertile soil. Now, ready to germinate.

    You know, I believe that sadness is a magnificently feeling. Sadness is sign of intelligence. From sadness comes poetry, music, drawing and… love. What may appears to be “bad” at the surface, might prove bountiful for all of us. A sad person, despite the suffering, is in process of learning. And we should celebrate this too. Sadness. I can’t have enough of this word.

    Finally, you can dismiss everything I wrote. But do you even realize… how much power you own? Yes, even the power of dismiss what you don’t agree with. And walk all your way to the gates of heaven. Or hell. It’s up to you. You can listen whoever you want.

    Thanks.

    • Thank you. So much. His life sounds fascinating. I’ve always been attracted to stories of people who triumph against all odds. I will put your wonderful advice into action. School is certainly perfect for analyzing people. And thank you for reminding me that all hope is not lost (even when it feels like it) and that I have unlimited potential and power if I choose to unlock it. 🙂 It has helped to clear my head.

  5. I love being sad. Despite being an INTP, I actually really like FEELING things. But anyway, I really wish they would stop regulating schools. I have been in public, private and home school, and although my city spends a lot on our schools and they’re really good, homeschooling was 100% the best for me. I was so much more socially confident when I came out of it. People find that weird, and I guess it does sound odd because you’re around fewer people, but I think it helps to develop that aspect for some of us. Its like boosting your immune system, as opposed to bombarding it with disease.

    But anyway, yes. Skip school. People no longer know how to prioritize, because we do whatever society expects of us. They tell us we won’t get to do this, that or the other thing if we don’t do what they want, but the truth is, for many of us (especially INPs, who need so much alone time), we are more likely to succeed if we’re encouraged to spend time doing whatever it is that WE deem important. Society’s methods are weird to us and they simply don’t work for us. Sometimes, you just have to do your own thing to take care of yourself, and its always worth it. Don’t let anyone tell you what you SHOULD do with your big life plans. Find out what you should do on your own.

    • That was a wonderful reminder. Thank you. Sometimes, I get caught up in other people’s dreams, you know? Where I feel like I’ll be a failure if I don’t conform to society’s standards of success. Your words reminded me to live a life true to myself, and I thank you deeply for that.

      • PS, it also helps with bitterness. If you mess up, you can’t blame anyone else, making it easier to move on; and if you succeed, you did it all on your own, so you are indebted to no one.

  6. I am not writing this to tell you what to do. I am quite certain that you already know that not matter what anyone says to you, you will still suffer and in the end whatever you decide to do, you will be the only one who will actually suffer the consequences.
    Though I am writing this, hating my words as much as you do, to tell you that I know. I know how much it hurts. I know the feelings of desperation and anger,the pain of socializing, as they call it,the existential depression along with the suicidal tendencies, the insurmountable pain lingering inside your chest trying to gnaw its way out, the ways you suppress it and how people even think that you are bored. I know how much it hurts. Believe it or not, I skipped school today too. I was allowed to leave by the headmistress but even if she wouldn ‘t let me I would just go. I have done it before many a time.
    And, I know, hell I do know this feeling, the disgust mixed with a sickening responsibility, the scenerios running through your head.
    I can’t tell you to whether to ditch school or not, forever. I understand the responsibility you carry towards your parents and how it is like, so I can’t urge you to do it or not.
    I can tell you to follow your heart. But you already know that and it is so difficult to follow a heart that you feel changes from day to day.
    I ‘ve heard that people like to know that they are not alone. So please listen to me, YOU Are not alone. I definately may not be able to relate to everything since we were brought in different ways, but I can tell you with all that I am and feel that you are not alone. I hope that this will help you and not make you feel worse.
    Suicide is not an option. Even though you feel like it more often than any human should feel like it, for some reason I believe you should avoid it. Just don’t ask why.
    You are strong. You have suffered a lot more than a person should suffer in their entire life. These people that you can’t socially interact with, know nothing about pain and the extensive damage it can cause. And if you think that you can’t do anything else rather than write, well you are wrong. You can give love. You can inspire hope in the hearts of people and help them survive another day originating from hell. And just because society does not give a degree about that, it doesn’t mean that it is not real, not powerful.
    I am sorry about this hideous comment. It wasn’t the best I could do but sensing the desperation, the pain, reflected as if it was mine, it felt right to write this even in this horrible version. I wish you well, I wish that all the luck of the world could come to you and change your life. Just keep in your mind that someone else knows, and cares.

  7. Honestly, I think you’re an amazingly talented writer. 🙂

    Don’t sell yourself short, because it is people like you–quiet but with roaring imaginations–that change the world. I say go ahead. Pursue your passion, pursue your writing. I honestly think it takes courage to drop out of high school and get a part-time job, but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end, because I believe in you and your writing and your talent.

    Don’t listen to those monsters inside you–they are just there to drag you down into the darkest parts of your mind. If you refuse to believe in their existence, they won’t come back to haunt you any more.

    And also, no writer is ever happy. It is emotion, and pain, and struggles that make you a writer, for without emotions, there is no story. You will gain nothing unless you’re willing to sacrifice. And don’t write to please others–write to please yourself. Write because you can, write because you DO matter, write because one day your words will touch the hearts of many. Write because it is all you can do to keep the monsters at bay.

    Honestly, though, you wrote exactly what I was feeling today. I walked through the halls of school, quiet and watching, wondering how they do it–wondering how they acted so shiny and happy. It was as if I was missing out on some universal secret to being happy. Like I was a ghost among the living, who’s been to hell and back, only to come back to all these happy, living, breathing people who believe they’re in heaven.

    But the thing is, there is something so beautiful about sadness, about tragedy and broken dreams, and it just makes my heart swell because I love things that make me cry, if that makes any sense. They are the only real things left–the things that can make me feel something.

    And you make me feel something. Somewhere deep in my heart, I don’t know if it’s hope or shadows, but it’s something. And to me, your writing is more real than anything I’ve ever known because it speaks to me. I look forward to your posts every day, because you write the truth. You write about darkness and human nature and mortality and I love it. I wish I could actually meet you. I bet we could have in-depth conversations for hours.

    Oh, how I yearn.

    Anyway, I hope you feel much better and I hope you have the courage to take control of your life. Because it is yours, not someone else’s, and you should be doing what you love. Because let me tell you that if you don’t pursue writing, I can’t even begin to imagine how much talent would be wasted.

    So just…write. Because you can. ♥

    • That was immensely encouraging. I will try and believe in myself a bit more, even if I fail sometimes. I would love to talk with you in person as well – it would be so wonderful! I yearn just as desperately for things, too, be it love or connection or mad idealistic situations. I relate to everything you said, especially the part about sad things swelling your heart with love. I adore misery, in a way, because even though it’s terrible, it’s also beautiful. A fractured kind of beauty. It’s why I love movies that make me cry. They bring me closer to the pulse of existence. Happiness almost feels superficial sometimes. Real living comes from pain, and the few bittersweet joys we reap after we surface from the darkness. I love meeting other kindred spirits. We feel like we’re alone, but we’re really not. Not at all. ❤

      • My thoughts exactly. Happiness does seem fake at times, at least to me. It’s like I’ve seen so much darkness and shadows and it always comes back to haunt me. Sometimes, it’s like I can’t believe anything will get better, that I’ll just be stuck, drowning in an ocean of my tears, forever. Because sadness and pain and tragedy is all I’ve ever known and I often grow wary when others are too kind to me. When others actually see me, and I want to believe they care, but I can’t.

        It’s like this melancholy is a part of who I am–that anything else just feels wrong. Like some sort of ghost that has been living in my heart, in the deepest recesses of my head, and there it shall remain till the day I die.

        Sorry, that was a bit…depressing. After all, I have been suffering from a mild form of depression ever since I turned 13.

        Anyway, like I said above, keep writing. Use your knowledge to inspire others, use your own personal feelings and struggles, and turn it into a story. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get published! Do it because it will make you feel better, do it to help yourself out instead of constantly trying to make others feel better. Do something for yourself, just this once.

        Stay strong. ♥

  8. Don’t give up, I know it’s hard. At school even with some jobs, I was the same. Maybe you should consider a small training organisation that will help you to focus on your (obvious) talent and passion for writing.

    The words, expressed in all of your entries, they flow! Music is soothing and invokes feeling, the same with art, and your writing and way with words is no exception.

    I always come back here, because its a giant pool of ‘other me’s’ who seem supportive and are going through different but oh so similar struggles that I, too have faced.

    Random, but check out Lucy elizabeth Christopher – the operative word, she refers to herself as an ‘unpunctuated writer’. On instagram, not sure where else she is, perhaps her writings will motivate you to pursue your passion as it fills me with so much feeling.

    Sending hugs and happy vibes your way! It’s okay to feel like an alien, we are awesome, kind hearted beautiful aliens who instil much hope in this grey and dull world! ♥

  9. I feel almost the exact same way. I skipped school today because I just felt like I was unable to handle anything. Last night, I just couldn’t sleep because I felt that life was so mundane and that I didn’t want to conform. I don’t want to be another brick in the wall. I want to do something different…something that I’m passionate about, something that would help others. Most people just say I’m young and that I’ve just got to do what I have to and that’s how the world is…and I hate that! Nobody takes me seriously since I’m only 14. I’ve always disliked the idea of school like the way you described it. Time to time, I feel overwhelmed and depressed.

    About you saying that you ” can’t write”, it’s extremely untrue. I love the way write…it’s beautiful. I felt hopeless this morning and I just couldn’t describe how I felt. On the other hand, you have an amazing talent. You described your feelings which I find almost alike with my feelings.The way you described how I felt about school and everything else was PERFECT. Every sentence and every word was ultimate perfection. I feel like the word ‘perfect’ isn’t good enough to describe it. It’s like the most beautiful and touching thing in the form of writing :’)

    Please, please be strong. I wouldn’t want such a talented person to be drowned in the torments of the world. You have no idea how much this piece that you have written has affected me. You made me know that I’m not alone with my beliefs, that I’m not the only one who hates the system we live in. Be strong! You’ve got all our support!

    P.S. I’m not as gifted as you are with such amazing talent. This has been my best attempt at describing me feelings. To be honest, I’m kind of jealous of your skill, haha. 🙂

    • Your comment was the highlight of my day. I quite sure there are no more words needed to be said – we know what the other is feeling, and how terrible it is to weave our way through this murky world. Let us think of it this way: whenever school gets unbearable, and we want to puncture the universe with pencils until it deflates like a balloon, we can think of each other, and allow our quietly glowing hearts to bridge the gap between time and space, and know that we are not alone. And I also thank you for your immense compliments, which I do not feel I deserve, and there is no need for jealousy (though I understand – every piece of writing I read feels like it’s better than my own) for you are a unique expression of this universe, and possess your own talents and passions, some perhaps still lying dormant in your soul. I hope you will be strong, you lovely, kindred spirit. I will think of you.

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