There's a lie that's told to adolescents when they start struggling with life and identity. It gets better. I beg to differ. For some unfortunate people it doesn't get better and it never will. Angst is surely an important part of the teenage experience but it should never be confused with mental illness. No one wants to feel like their feelings aren't valid and telling someone they're being whiny, manipulative, or just going through a phase is emotionally damaging. Now that I'm on the wrong side of twenty I can see why I was so vehemently told that lie. It created what I can only describe as a placebo effect for most of my peers and I imagine it still works well today. Simply believing things will improve can help them improve while wallowing in negative thinking tends to lead to depressing self-fulfilling prophecies. It worked great for them but I was left patiently waiting. I'd wake up in the morning wondering, "Is today the day I'll stop feeling awful?"

Eventually I was forced to come to the conclusion that it wasn't going to work that way for me. I took steps to fix myself as best as I could. I became a fully functional "adult" and stopped being myself. I kept my mouth shut when I all wanted to do was scream. I put myself in social situations even though I felt paranoid and anxious. I used substances to banish all the feelings that I wasn't supposed to feel if I wanted to fit in. People really responded well to my new behavior. I had more friends than I'd ever had before and simultaneously no friends at all. I didn't feel happy just because I pretended I was but it didn't seem to matter to anyone. So I stopped trying to fit in and just tried to fade away.

Now it's like I'm stuck in my own head all the time except when substance abuse is involved. I feel weak for not being able to really change myself into something that society approves of. I can never let anyone know how I really think or feel again. I just avoid everything altogether instead of trying to suppress myself.

To me the world is in perfect blu-ray format and everyone else is using rabbit ears. I see and feel so acutely everything around me. It's a curse because I can't filter anything. I feel so much sometimes that my skin can't even contain it. I cut and pull and tear at it in an effort to be free from such overwhelming sensation. It doesn't do any good, just alienates me further from the people I have to co-exist with and makes me look crazy.

It doesn't even feel like an abnormal response to such stimuli. I've never viewed self-harm or substance abuse as a real terrifying problem. It was merely necessary to my survival. I had to release the intense feelings inside of me or it felt like my skull was going to explode; like nothing would ever be right in the world again. Perception is everything and I only knew what I perceived. I resented anyone around me that tried to help because they could never understand. They simply didn't share my illness. I imagine they hated me for being so difficult, so defensive of my behavior.

I really felt like there I had no choice. It was as if I was backed into a corner with a terrible foe in front of me and a knife in my hand. Anyone would do whatever they could to defend themselves in that situation and that's exactly how I felt. Trying to take away the substances I was abusing felt like someone cutting my last life line. Logically I knew I couldn't continue on the way I had forever but it was so hard. Before I was just barely gasping for a breath of air, afloat in a stormy sea and clinging to a life preserver of alcohol and drugs. Then someone came along and ripped it away. Naturally I sank so deeply and quickly that no one could've saved me from myself. I'm really shocked that it came as a surprise to anyone about the things I did afterward. They were despicable and awful and still haunt me to this day, but they shouldn't have ever been surprising. When someone's drowning they'll claw and grasp at anything to bring them back to the surface. That's exactly what I did.

I'm left with feelings of unease and anxiety. I know I shouldn't be this way but I don't know how to make myself into something else. I hate how I'm told over and over again that I should never try to be someone I'm not or change myself when it's literally required of me by society. I will never be normal and I mean that in the way I will never really be considered a functioning person by the current standards. There are plenty of people I see that claim to be outside the box, edgy, abnormal. They have no idea what's it like to feel so alien and foreign to your own surroundings. There's a difference between understanding norms and rebelling against them for attention or whatever rush people seem to get. The main underlying point is they know what they're doing. I have no idea. When I say something strange I have no idea it's not an acceptable thing to say until someone tells me.

My thoughts are often disjointed and indecipherable. I get so tired of trying to make sense of things that seem to come naturally to others. I can't picture a hell worse than this. I find religion hilarious because of anyone that fears a hell in the afterlife has obviously never experienced mental illness or a psychotic episode. Hell is a reality manufactured in your mind.