Artwork by   Miranda Lorikeet

Artwork by Miranda Lorikeet

I was an overly sensitive child, avid for knowledge and human interaction, like a sponge which absorbed every stimulus around. My untamed imagination showed up in any way it could, especially in my made up games and whole world I inhabited inside my head, and that creative power was flourishing as it had not yet been affected by the societal boundaries of the adult world. However, something else seemed to affect me, a seed of fear which was at first subtle, yet it grew along with me.

By the time I entered school, that fear was a constant, manifesting itself through different ways – shyness, passivity, and a load of anxiety regarding school. I was one of the best, yet I always felt I’m going to fail. Tests were scary, evaluations in front of the whole class even scarier, but math was the biggest source of distress. I was in a constant state of panic and worry regarding my school performance, as the same questions popped into my mind:

“What will my teachers think if I fail this? What if I disappoint everyone?”.

The impostor syndrome set in, and it would torment me for a few years, as my increasingly worried parents and those close to me tried their best to make me realize I have nothing to worry about, reminding of my whole list of accomplishments. All these compliments were simply not true, and everyone would eventually realize what a failure I truly am. I was not worthy of anything, and I gave nothing to this world.

Everything was intense. I related deeply to others’ suffering, incapable to detach. I didn’t understand the passive-aggressive teen dynamic, neither could I comprehend the dark side of human nature, where one deliberately hurts the other. In any confrontation, instead of getting angry, I turned sad and my body betrayed my emotional state. I was prescribed Xanax, and eventually began abusing it as my moods escalated to the point of no control.

I began cutting at 15, and held on to this habit for a couple of years, a way to deal with the moments when you can’t feel anything and numbness becomes the norm, or when the pain in your mind is so unbearable, you’d rather distract yourself from it by choosing the physical form.

Depression clung to me, its grip getting tighter, and pills became the way to escape the unbearable reality. As my parents had a history of battling such demons, the house was filled with all sorts of medication, and I would try them out with no hesitation -, anything and everything. I suffered through countless overdoses, lying in bed for days as my body suffered, poisoned.

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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.