I find life to be very traumatizing.
One of the most traumatizing aspects of life is the fact that, at least from our human point of view, the death of any creature is insignificant, including ourselves. I am fascinated by dead insects. To me, when they lie there, curled up and shriveled, on my windowsill, they seem to symbolise the mystery of life and death. What is everything, what is the intricate mechanism ticking and clicking behind everything, from the tiniest flower to the blossoming edges of the universe itself? What is anything? What are we?
Yesterday, I had a very bad panic attack. The reasons behind it were numerous and varied, too complex for me to even properly untangle, but it had something to do with being alive and not knowing what life was about, something to do with my fears of failure, something to do with how horribly my writing was going, something to do with the way my mother and siblings were treating me that day, something to do with my excruciating self-loathing and inability to break free of it, and a lot to do with my loneliness.
It also had something to do with death, and dead bodies, and the meaningless and futility of death and all our efforts. I started to panic. The thing about panic attacks is they build slowly, at least for me. At first, I was just anxious. I told myself, anxiety is just an emotion, you can not let it control you, but then I started pondering as to what emotions were, exactly, and why, exactly, they were important, and what our emotions meant, apart from specific chemicals flooding through our neural pathways, changing our perception of ourselves and the world, and that only made me more anxious, because the existence of emotions was another facet of the incomprehensibility of life, and then I was thinking of how much I hated myself, deep down, and how I didn’t know how to fix it, and how I believed I would die alone, unloved and unremembered, and that I couldn’t write, I couldn’t, not a word, it was all rubbish, watching my dreams wash away like blood down a drain, and then I was thinking, I was thinking, “blood down a drain”, how much more cliché could you get, do you have a single original bone in your body, which got me thinking about bones, you see, bones, the things that hold us up, calcium, skulls and skeletons, which got me thinking about death again, and the meaningless of it and before I knew it I was having a panic attack. The world sort of went fuzzy, and my fingertips started to tingle, and I felt entirely disassociated from myself and my surroundings. I was gasping, crying, choking, spluttering, and hating myself for being such a mess, and I stumbled towards my bed, gasping, wracked with sobs, unable to control it, overwhelmed by the world, I just lay there, crying, alone, and after a while I stopped.
Because, eventually, even panic attacks stop.
And I just lay there, my organs contorted in silent agony, intestines twisting around my heart, liver and spleen and stomach clenched tight as fists. I lay there, and I closed my eyes. The last time I had a mental breakdown like this, I was hospitalised, because I was screaming and crying and my therapist, when she came to visit and saw my state, thought I had gone off the deep end. I told her I wanted to die, because I was tired of thinking, and tired of being so excruciatingly sensitive. And I was sent to the hospital, where I found myself chatting with a clueless doctor, sobbing, about how I was tired of thinking, and tired of being so sensitive, and he didn’t understand, and I felt so lonely in that moment that I was sure I was going to die just from that, just from the loneliness twisting through my body like a poison.
I want to be loved. I think, maybe, love will solve this. Maybe. I think maybe if I had someone to love me, and hold me close, and tell me they loved me and could understand me, then perhaps I would be less frightened, and have fewer panic attacks. In my mind, the person who holds me and loves me is always a man, even though I know men are scared, too, too scared and frightened to protect women, but my father abandoned me and I would like some male figure, someone, to tell me they loved me, and they understood me. No matter what happens, no matter how many books I publish, or whatever literary recognition I receive, no matter how safe or secure my life becomes in the future, I will always, always, behind all the facades, the layers and layers of masks, be a frightened, little girl, crying for her father so hard she almost throws up her own guts.
One thing you learn very quickly if you have suffered a great deal in your life, and that is that all suffering is individual, that the world does not care, in the least, if you die or cry or laugh or puke or sob until it feels as though your face has been permanently bent out of shape. Like the bird who falls from a tree and dies, like the poor, poor dear, sweet lovely animals who are slaughtered in their millions every year, like all the people throughout history who have been killed and tortured, what you learn, very early on, is that kindness is a small breath of wind against the tornado of suffering, and a man who is standing beside the fireplace cannot sympathise with a man who is freezing death. A woman who is sitting down to a christmas dinner with her family, turkey and potatoes, crackling ham, from a dead pig, a dead bird, dead animals, dead flesh, cannot sympathise with some other woman, on the other side of the world, who lies, thin and skeletal, on a mat, dying quietly of starvation. Not even I, who lives in a first-world country, and has food, internet access, who isn’t homeless, can sympathise with a starving person, and for all we may wish to magically spirit food and resources and love to people who need it, the reality is we cannot save every suffering creature in the world, and I hate that, I hate that, I really do. I want to help them all, hold them all close, give them food and whatever it is they need, yet in reality all I am is a silly, young lady who thinks too much and feels too much, and spends much of every week either in the throes of panic or a depressed stupor.
I am annoyed at myself for even writing these words. I get annoyed at myself so easily, everything I do or think or say is something for my self-loathing to feed upon. I think it is possible to become suicidal just from the sheer self-loathing alone. Killing myself, however, is no solution to anything. The way I see it, in life, even though people say a “balance” must be struck with everything, the way I see it, there is no balance. If I spend time around people, I feel alone because I am quiet and imaginative and they don’t understand me, and if I am alone, in the silence, with only my imagination for company, I still feel lonely.
Some days, I can imagine myself so clearly back into the past I feel as though I were really there, which kind of makes me feel unsettled as to what the difference between the past, future and the present really is, and how death ties into it. I feel as though if I could just solve the mystery of time, I would be able to puzzle out life, too. I believe that we are all each other, that everyone of us are each other, the self, what we call “I”, a mere illusion, a small brief aperture through which we get to see and experience the world, and when we die, we don’t really die, because we are everything and everyone else. It’s just the small, tiny expression of the universe, “me”, that died, when there are billions of other pinpricks through the fabric of consciousness still shining on. By this principle, then, this means that time is infinite, because time is life, and life is always occurring, manifesting in some form. I think time is the substance of everything, and what we call time is much more strange and mysterious than we can ever truly comprehend, just like everything else.
I seek security. I do. Deep down, I know I won’t be happy until I’ve written all the books there are inside of me—and there are at least three books, inside of me, which need to be made tangible, before I can die in peace, maybe even more. It won’t matter if I don’t write them, but I know I must. I feel as though I were chosen to write these stories, even though that sounds bonkers. I truly believe, as Stephen King said, that “stories are relics from a pre-existing world”, because sometimes these scenes, they’ll just flash across my mind’s eye, and I don’t know where they come from, and they feel so extraordinarily real, backed up by the research I go on to do regarding the book, that I feel like someone put it inside of my head.
I am afraid of loneliness. Why? I do not know. It has something to do with the emptiness inside of me, I think. I feel as though other people are able to “not think”, to shut off their minds, to be self-assured and positive, to concentrate on the mundane, the present moment, while I lack this ability entirely, and I am constantly on edge, constantly on the verge of disintegration. By loving things, by loving people who don’t love me back, as I did for much of my school years, I attempt to latch onto something firm and solid, to keep me together, and I don’t know if that is effective but I keep doing it, anyway, though these days I use people in my imagination.
I have this idea, in my head, that as long as I can finish writing my books, publish them, then start a family, have a husband and children, then I will be happy, and safe. At the moment, I think am unhappy because this dream seems a million miles away, so faraway it is almost impossible to describe. I am so sensitive, you see, and there are very few people in the world who can understand such sensitivity. I will weep if I squash a bug, and I will cringe if I drop something onto the tiles, with a loud thwack. Absurd as it is to write about it, it makes my everyday life a living hell, because I see and notice and absorb everything, I sense people’s emotions, somehow know what they are thinking, I can instantly gauge whether there is kindness, goodness, and I live in the city, amidst busyness and coldness, and I spend my days alone, in my room, and I feel as though my suffering is endless. Van Gogh said, before he died, that “the sadness is forever”, and I believe that statement. When you are born so sensitive, it actually hurts just to be alive, and conscious. I feel as if a feather-brush against my skin is enough to send me into spasms.
I wish for a cottage, flowers, a garden, books, and cats. I wish for so many things, and the wishes jostle with the pains, the suffering, a thousandfold, mixing together, making me. I am not a person. I am just pure longing, pain and dreams. That is all I am. I yearn, I dream, and I hurt. All I can hope for is to spend as much time dreaming as I can, so I can yearn less, and hurt less. I will scream out, in agony, until the blood pours out from my eyes and my eyes and my mouth, from out between my legs, my fingertips, and then I will sit down, covered in gore from head to toe, and write.