Illustration by Jorge Roa

Illustration by Jorge Roa

When I got out, I felt horrible, and the worst part is I didn’t realize it, as mania tricks you into thinking you’ve got it under control. The following months were lived by someone who was not me. The crash eventually came in the winter, when I tried to end it all with a copious amount of pills. I got lucky, waking up from the coma. The unlucky part was the toxicology ward. We were less than human, failures in the eyes of the nurses who reluctantly washed us with dirty cloths and moved me so brutally that they left bruises all over my arms. My forearms were a brownish purple, from all the careless needle pokes.

My lip was inexplicably broken, leaving a scar which still shows today.

I returned to classes shortly after, joyous and as if nothing had happened, with a clearer mind and a weaker body.

However, an unexpected upside emerged. It seemed like a reset button had been pushed, opening up a clean slate. I had changed, and I had a mission: to build my personality all over, to eliminate the faulty parts and strive for self-improvement. I understood the patterns of thought and the ways one can rewire everything, that the way to escape is to break the habit. For the first time in a decade, social anxiety was something controllable, sometimes negligible. I began challenging my disordered thoughts, and noticed my fear diminishing as I mentally talked to myself, making fun of the manifestations neurotic minds are familiar with: the fear of what strangers think about you, the self-consciousness which makes one feel in the spotlight. I remember social settings, where surrounded by dozens of strangers, a monologue went on in my head: “look at his person, do you really think they care about you, and if they did, you’ll never see them again, what do you care”, my mom’s words of advice which she had shared so many times throughout the years.

Finally, I could apply them.

Part 1

Part 3

Ana Moca-Grama is a writer, photographer and nature lover. She writes short fiction and introspective poems, draws when lost for words and actively supports the movement for acceptance and eradication of taboos around mental disorders.