I Have to Try
It’s the dreams that remind me how much I’ve been affected. The frequent dreams where I am yelling, but it’s hoarse. Where I’m trying to explain, but no sound comes out.
I rage and yell and cry, but I stammer and the worlds barely squeak out, and it’s so frustrating. It’s like the dreams I have where I put my contacts in but still can’t see. I can talk but I have no voice.
I wake up shaken, feeling as though I’ve been through battle, but of course I haven’t. Nothing has changed. I’m still affected by my past, my present, and she has no idea.
The daily habits I grew up with, the events that make my memories aren’t even blips on her radar because they didn’t matter to her like they mattered to me.
She is the center of her own universe and I orbited her, pulled in by a force I couldn’t seem to resist.
Coming to realize that I grew up in the shadow of someone else’s mental illness made me realize that my normal isn’t everyone’s normal, that my normal wasn’t normal or healthy or safe.
My dreams – even nightmares – remind me that the panic and fear I grew up with are still in me, and maybe they won’t ever be rooted out.
They are a reminder of how hard it is to claim my voice, of how hard it is to fight the fear and the darkness.
But if having a parent with an undiagnosed mental illness has taught me anything, it’s that I know I have to try.
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