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Restoryative blog:

Writing myself whole

Image by Gabriel Crismariu

Hearing Voices

Sitting at my kitchen counter, laptop in front of me, I tentatively type in the website address for a twelve-step program. Even within the walls of my own home, I feel as though someone is lurking over my shoulder, a scowl of disappointment on their face. I glance behind me just to be sure. Obviously, no one is there, still, I can’t shake the feeling. As the page loads, an all too familiar voice elbows its way into my head: Life isn’t that bad. This isn’t necessary. You’re over-reacting! What’s wrong with you? Slowly, I lower my head to the counter, the overwhelming chatter weighing me down.

Two months ago, my old college roommates had been snuggly seated on the beige sectional in my newly finished basement. The soft glow of Christmas lights came through the window resting on their familiar faces while the aroma of cinnamon-scented pinecones lingered in the air, their voices mixing together as they chatted about jobs, kids, life.

They had eagerly listened as I recapped my turbulent year in a scattered and fidgety way, trying to fit the enormity of what had happened into finite words and sentences. Last Christmas, I’d felt on the brink of my own demise; after decades of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thinking, my relationships a mess, something had to give or I was going to give up. I started therapy hoping to find a life raft, a way to keep myself afloat. Turns out life rafts are made of things like boundaries, communication, honesty, authenticity, and feelings, and these things, sometimes unpredictably, create war between you and your family. And war leads to fatigue and fatigue leads to estrangement. Yet I couldn’t stop, so I found myself on a battlefield somehow trying to save my life.

Looking at the floor, my shaking hands, the ceiling, the window, I desperately waited for their responses, a plan for how I would make it