So, you want to know how this all happened? Curious how a seemingly normal girl, becomes totally nuts? Well, something snapped inside my mind ten years ago and let the monster out of his cage. Now he is free to eat my mind, to destroy me inside and out, to keep me living in quivery uncontrollable fear. I can’t let anyone know. It’s my humiliation, my burden to bear. I don’t want people to know my truth, I can’t stand to have them judge me. I hate to see their glazed almost mocking stares when I begin to try to explain. They label me as weird and grin smugly, asking “Are you serious?” “Are you for real?” Then secretly, they make a judgment, “She’s crazy.” So maybe I am crazy. Looney tunes, insane, nuts, mental ward ready.
The truth is that this all happened when I was a child. Just a child who had no idea what was happening to her body, to her mind, not sure why something suddenly snapped. But there was no denying that something had changed. After my experience at the shuttle lift off at Cape Canaveral I knew I would never be the same again. I knew that I was crazy, that I should be ashamed, that I should hide whatever was wrong with me. And I was terrified, scared of everyday situations, even making up new fears all the time. It was a rude awakening, a slap in the face to suddenly realize that I was different, that I was no longer normal. I was ashamed.
And at that age, eight years old, I was not in control of my life. I was forced to go places, do things that scared me in a gut wrenching, agonizing, mental crisis, stressed out, frantic kind of way. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t let my guard down. And as I grew older, my fears grew with me. The monster, my monster, my fear was part of me now, ingrained into who I was. There was no escape, no matter how I longed to escape.
And finally after years of suffering, years of hiding who I was, I broke. That was the year I made every mistake a teen in college can make and each of these mistakes were lethal to someone with panic attacks and anxiety. They pushed me further and further into my mental disorder until I didn’t want to leave the house, until I spent my time in a quivery fear laced with guilt and self-hatred. And then one day, I could no longer see my life. I had no life. My life was gone and all that was left was the fear, the monster. I was his slave. That was the day I walked down into the basement with my balled up sweatshirt and laid down on the cold, hard cement floor. I let the cold move into my body, I wanted it. And inside that sweatshirt that lay next to me? My dad’s loaded handgun.