You ask me how I feel … I feel panic, nothingness, panic, more nothingness. Laced into the panic is sadness, guilt, doubt, paranoia, then dreadful nothingness. And worst of all, shame. Always here, I feel the shame. Shame that makes me hate myself so much, it hurts like a physical blow when you compliment me. Shame for the past, shame for not getting over the past, shame for even having that past, shame for being different, shame for you seeing how different I am, shame for you not seeing, shame for wanting to cry, shame for not being able to, shame for not knowing how I feel, shame for feeling everything and nothing. Shame from feeling so ashamed. Then nothingness as if I am just a reflection of reality.You ask me to tell you my shame … I don’t want you to know. About me. Fear strikes me from all corners of my being: being here with you in case you see. Not just here. Everywhere. Every day. Fear again. As you sit and listen, looking with those eyes. What do you see? I am afraid. Why? Where? What? What is it that I am not seeing that you see? Is what I perceive not really real? Why is it that I see what I see about my life, just the way that I do and you don’t? What does this mean? There must be something wrong with my thinking as I can’t think like you about the world, about me. No, it must be you seeing me wrong! Because I am not afraid. I am not scared or weak or vulnerable. I know I am bad. I don’t need you. Go away.

But … I want you here. I need you here. If you stay I’ll care. If you care I’ll stay. But if you care I won’t want you anymore. I don’t want you to care. I need you here with me with my poisonous secrets, just so long as you don’t care. Promise you won’t care: it’s too dangerous, you’ll get hurt, I’ll get hurt. I need you … NO!! … I am strong and I don’t need you. I don’t need anyone. But I want you. I want you most when you don’t want me. Can’t you see? You don’t want me, do you? When it’s time to leave I am forgotten like you’re forgotten. I am not wanted. I won’t come back. But I want to be wanted so badly until it becomes a deafening cry of urgency filling up my very being. But don’t care. Please don’t care. Forget me. Don’t worry about me. If you let me need you, I won’t want you anymore. Or worse, I’ll want you so much that you will disappear under the weight of it. Don’t ask me to do that.

You say it’s ok to need you … But I know this biting pain, this cold distance. It is somehow familiar, like a cloak covering me up, protecting me from you. Being isolated feels safe with you. Is that the feeling I need, to give me that illusion of safety? Feeling alone? So I can be exposed? I am exposed most when I hide from you, and hidden when I try to be who I think I am. If I were truly safe, I’d be exposed and not safe at all. Is that what you want? Is that what you need? Tell me how to be. I don’t know how to be. I need to be safe. For you. For me. Getting close by getting away, getting away by getting close.

Yet you say you are safe and you won’t abuse me … But I am the centre of the universe. I am that powerful, that destructive. I am the master puppeteer: I pull the strings to what you see, what you perceive. You can’t trick me. I will beat you. I am the game strategist, the path-layer. No, you can’t win. I will win. I’ll get you coming and I’ll get you going and there will be no way that you can win. I must always win. I need to be in control because I feel so helplessly out of control, but you can’t know that. You can’t know that, ok? You don’t know that about me. I don’t know that about me. I don’t know you because I don’t know me. You can’t know me either. Don’t you know that saying you’re safe means you’re not safe? No, I won’t let you into a place that I have yet to gain access to. No, me first. Me never.

You tell me it’s safe to trust you … But I am beside myself with all of this panic and paranoia and grief as though I am that tiny child whose caregiver is angry with her. What do I do with that angry face? What if that angry face will be yours? It is not acceptance, it is rejecting me … but I need it … what am I to do? I don’t know what to do so I don’t trust. I put it beside me. Whatever it is, I leave it to sit there … and it builds over the course of a lifetime. It builds and it always hurts. It hurts even when I don’t feel it at all. I need to get what it needs. I’ll die if I don’t. I am dying to live and in my attempts to live I die.

And so I have remained trapped inside this isolated and insulated place of youth. Stunted in my emotional growth. Me in this chair a million miles away from you in that chair. I hurt and I hurt and I hurt. I am numb, and dead and drifting. Why don’t you care? Why do you care? Why don’t you care? Why do you care? Do you? Don’t you? Make it go away. Make it stop, just like me from over there. Like me, but don’t you dare really care. It would hurt too much if you were to care. I wouldn’t understand who you were caring for or why you care about me because I don’t know who I am. I hate who I am and what I am. I hate whoever the hell I am. I have come to hate what it is that I might be, or sometimes am. I hate being like this. So don’t you dare care.

I don’t like feeling this voided vacuum within, that, like my being, exists under a glass bubble. With you looking at me. So close, yet so far away from others am I. So close, yet so far away, from whoever I am, am I. So far away from you, am I. Who are you trying to care about? What does that mean, that you want to care about me? It would mean that I needed you to care. I don’t need you to care but I am dying for you to care. Still, care from over there and don’t act like I need you. I want to be normal, but I’m not; I want to be strong, but I’m not. I want to be loved, but I’m not. Is that the truth?

Truth, you want to talk truth? Whose truth, yours or mine? Is there a truth between? No, my truth is truth. Your idea of truth is a lie. I don’t lie. If I don’t lie and our truths aren’t the same, that makes you a liar. But I am bad and I am wrong so where does that leave me? If I am right then you are wrong. Yes you are. No I’m not. If I am good then you are bad, but I am bad. That’s my truth. And my truth is the truth. It’s not alright for you to just be you and not be me while I’m being you too. I can never just be me. Who am I? Everything just slips away in fleeting moments.

I know things but they seem fleeting in this time and space. What is real and important one minute is fragile and/or gone and/or misunderstood, misperceived and misinterpreted by me the next. I don’t know why. You were here a minute ago and it mattered. But then you left. While you were gone for three minutes and fifty-four seconds I forgot that you mattered to me. I know things seem fleeting in the dumbness that is surrounding me right now. Things keep changing. I can’t hold onto ideas anymore and then see whether I am holding anything or not.

Rescue me. Rescue me, by leaving me alone. Leave me alone but rescue me. I need you to rescue me if I am to live. I am not alive. I am dead. I am dead when I try to be alive. I am alive when I act like I’m so dead I can’t feel anything. There is such a sharp feel to the pain of numbness. Feeling the absence of myself like this. Where do the feelings go? Where does all of that pain hide? I dissociate from all that hurts. I give it to others. It is their fault, and their problem, not mine. They are lying. Faking. Over-reacting. They aren’t real. Help me, while you leave me alone. Leave me alone while you help me. But don’t leave me alone. Who is me?

Who am I? I thought I knew just a minute ago. Then, suddenly nothing felt familiar anymore. Nothing felt okay anymore: nothing felt safe anymore – nothing felt as it had before. Why does this happen and what does it mean? You don’t know? You are supposed to know. I expect you to know. But don’t go asking me for anything: I will fail. NO. No, that’s inaccurate as well. It depends how I feel, and what I believe in any given moment … You just never can know because I never know what I’ll do or say or feel.

Every moment changes and shifts from one to the next. What is real, what is truth, whether or not I think I can take care of myself or what I feel, or right or wrong, from minute to minute changes, so I really just don’t know. I don’t care to know. Don’t bother me about it. Leave me alone, just stay here. And be quiet while you talk to me. Talk to me silently. Words can hurt. Don’t be too quiet in your silence though, because silence can kill a soul. I know: it killed mine, over and over again. Dead, time and time again, risen hopes, only to fall and die, unanswered, arms outstretched, never reached for, never grasped, arms that hung outstretched while a little girl screamed in fear and had more need than any infant could possibly bear to hold. Arms … that had to hold themselves, suspended in mid-air, left alone, ignored. So hold me, and rock me – rock me to stillness – gently, okay, just don’t touch me.

You live in a “big picture” life, which, so I am told, unfolds in some “big picture” of reality. I live in millions of little pictures. Millions of pieces of reality. Snapshots from the whole, fragmented seconds of minutes that seem to encompass hours. I can’t tell what is going on around me like you do. No, it does not make sense to me. Part of this picture lined up with part of that one … what am I supposed to see? What can I know from these mixed-up jigsaw puzzle messages?

I get part of it. I don’t understand the rest. First you seem to make sense, then you don’t, so I get paranoid and scared. In one part of the picture I care about you but in another part of the picture I hear you say something else and I can’t trust you anymore, or not until the next moment when two picture pieces fit briefly together. This is my experience. One minute, from a distance, I want you close and the next minute I want you distantly-close. This is what is going on inside of me. I just don’t know how to make sense of all of these jumbled messages and fragmented pictures that bombard my mind constantly with images and thoughts that do not fit together, not now, not ever, not in the numbness. If memories are pictures of the way things were (or the way things are?) then my memories are like strewn screams, echo to a voided abyss in a cavernous canyon. Imagine all of that sound overlapping itself. Could you hear me then, any better than I can hear you now? Than I can hear myself? I can’t hear; can you? Just conflict.

Need to run, need to hide. Too much, too much. I can’t do this interaction thing. Too much noise. Overloaded. Shut down. So numb, so thoughtless, so lacking in everything. Just conflict in the distance of the being that is me. I am not even human anymore – just a ghost passing through existence. I am nothing. Am I nothing to you?