I’ll start out by saying that my parents don’t like us to label ourselves. They don’t like us to share them either.
As a child it used to take me at least two hours to fall asleep. Thoughts would race through my head like boxcars. I would repeat what I was excited about the most until my brain would get tired enough to let me rest. Some doctors would call that insomnia, but that’s not what I had.
Since the age of six, I haven’t believed in god. His existence always felt like a fairytale that adults never grew out of. Some people would call this atheism, but that’s not what I have.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been worried. Every event in my day was cause for panic. I would string them along like paper chains with no rest in between. Some doctors call that anxiety, but that’s not what I have.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t pick at my skin. I’ll rip off pieces until my skin gets mad and bleeds red with anger. Some doctors would call that dermatillomania, but that’s not what I have.
Since middle school, I’ve been afraid of germs. I won’t touch my face without washing my hands first which makes it take twice as long to put on makeup. I can’t eat without sanitizing my hands which makes people skeptical to get to know you better. Some doctors would call that germaphobia, but that’s not what I have.
When I was fifteen my throat used to close up every time I thought about death. Sometimes you don’t realize you’re breathing until you’re gasping for air. Some doctors call that a panic attack, but that’s not what I had.
I’ve been on antidepressants for three years in order to calm down my brain from running too many marathons. My heart was never able to catch up. Some doctors might say that this is because I was depressed. But that’s not what I have.
My therapist told me… — ****, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that.
Somebody told me to come here today so that I could be honest to myself and others about the problems that don’t have names. The words that I can’t say out loud.
I’m hoping with this discussion I will someday be able to say that I used to not be able to fall asleep for hours. I used to not believe in god, I used to worry all the time. That I no longer pick at my skin. I’m no longer afraid of germs. My throat used to close up, and I’m no longer on antidepressants.