When you were 7, you had two words carved into your soul.
The first, was different.
And maybe now it would have made you bitter, but all it did then was make you kind. (Because no one ever understood you because you were different, so you decided to do your best to understand everyone else instead.)
The second word, worthless.
And you never quite managed to believe otherwise.
When you were 10, it was the first time you couldn't sleep. So from March til June of the following year, you went to sleep between 8 and 11 at night, woke up at 2am almost without fail, imagining the ground shaking all around you. Somehow, it slipped your mind to tell anyone else.
Around 12, you started crying yourself to sleep, and around 13 it became a daily occurrence.
At 14, you started losing vision. Started having moments when your head would spin, and everything around you would fade out to black for five to ten seconds at a time. And when it upped to twenty, you learned to walk through it, to study your surroundings always so you could act normal when it hit. But the first one that terrified you properly was when it lasted a full five minutes: when your vision went completely black and the sound around you dimmed and you felt yourself swaying back and forth without control. A year and a half after the first happening, yet you didn't tell a soul.
At 14, also, you slipped and fell on stairs at a far-away summer camp, sprained your ankle badly enough you could only just barely walk a week after when it was over, and it took you a month to be able to imitate running. You winced and gasped your painful way through 9th grade Phys-Ed, but you never did tell anyone.
When you were 15, though, you did something consciously idiotic, albeit innocent at the time.
When you were 15 trapped between two Phys-Ed credits that most often occurred directly after your lunch period, you decided to stop eating lunch. Not completely, not then, just with that particular happenstance, and certainly not on weekends. But by the time summer came and your parents worked to avoid each other (and you, by association) you'd cut breakfast to coffee or tea (depending on which parent) and actual food to just supper. And when school came back in the fall, just looking at the food made you feel nauseous, much less eating it, so you didn't. And you didn't. And you didn't. Just coffee in the morning. Just supper in the evening. Just enough to sufficiently fake normality.
When you were 16, you went back to not sleeping, except not sleeping meant not sleeping, just an hour or two from 4 or 5am if you were lucky. And the few days you perhaps would have slept were exchanged for purposefulall nighters, studying advanced subjects into oblivion without making heads nor tails.
When you were 16, your hands and body started shaking, at random intervals you had no control over.
When you were 16, you started being unable to hide your overwhelming sadness.
And at 16, with great frequency, you utilized your ability to lie astonishingly well.
Days before you turned 17, your parents sat you down, and asked if anything was wrong, and 'are you sure you're really eating enough?'
You barely flinched, only almost wanted to scoff and say, 'really, now you think something might be wrong with me?' You lied, instead. Completely and utterly with minimal hesitation. They don't ask again.
You start to realize things, after that.
How you used to just flinch away from hugs, because you weren't used to them, initially, yes, but also because you thought you didn't deserve the feeling of being held and safe.
How you purposely kept biting your lip until it became a habit because you wanted to make it bleed.
How when you tapped rhythms out with pencils on your hand, the led end was always the one scraping against it, not the harmless side of the eraser.
How when ice results from snowfall, you walk on the more dangerous path, dare yourself to slip and fall and get hurt.
How you spent parts of December and January sans a coat, in place of borrowing one from several willing parties.
How you went out in thunderstorms, "forgetting" umbrella and hood alike. Came back drenched to the core.
How all these self-destructive tendencies have piled up around you.
And you don't quite even want to stop them.