5d

Today is the day
National mental health day
One of the many days I regret

I should speak out
I want to
But my mental illness has me chained
So instead I pull
Pull my way closer
But the chains keep me back

Closer to the truth
Closer to the hesitation

For me, pulling is my release
I read online that the rough ones-
With black bulbs were bad ones
The “wicked witch” ones
So I started

Pulling out my fears,
Doubts,
Insecurities
From my head- one by one

Until I laid there helpless
In a cloud of my mistakes
Somehow seeing all my worries in front of me didn’t make them go away

Instead, I became more aware
More aware of my failures
For the unknown future that lies in store
One by one

October 23, 2016
I kept the receipts
A friend- not a close one, more of those friends of friends
She chose me to tell her story to
She was raped
By a guy we all knew and trusted
A “good guy”
I lent her an ear, or rather a willing text
I thanked her for her bravery
For allowing me to be a small fraction of her story of overcoming
I might be one of twenty she told, or maybe just two

I don’t know. I may never know.
But what she may not know is that night
She became my one
Someone I knew almost nothing about
I told her my story and asked how she told her first

I hoped of getting some of her strength through some sort of Twitter DM telepathy
Alas you can’t gift strength like that
Oh God, I wish you could
I go back and read those messages all the time trying

I read my TimeHop every day
Sometimes for the memories
But more often than not they bring back the nightmares
I do it for the relief
The streak number tick ticking higher
Counting the days that have gone by
Or the hairs I’ve pulled

Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day
Is there a day like this for those who came out to their loved ones about their mental illness?
I will also not be participating.
My mental illness is keeping me from doing so
I am buried deep in my closet, hiding under clothes and forgotten tags
My fingers raking through the carpet
Finding that momentary release
The glorious relief lasting a moment
I run my fingers through the rough fibers searching for more

My family doesn’t know
Or if they do, they don’t want to break our perfect mold
I pull discretely
Around my head, just a receding hairline, no bald patches
Yet

I never get my haircut
At least, by a professional
The last time I went, my stylist said it was new growth
Not my past coming to haunt me.
She pulls at them showing me, calling them baby hairs
How do I tell her that each one represents shame, frustration, guilt
Each one represents one party, one good time with friends I’ve missed
Hiding behind those fears, covered in guilt
Back in my closeted mind

Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if I cut myself open
Would blood run out or the words I meant to say?
When it’s a bad day, I pull at large sections of my hair
Wondering what it would be like to rip it all out in two sections
It makes me cry in pain, but the voices tell me about the sweet relief it may bring
I almost give in

What hurts me the most is noticing the people around me who have it
Does the girl sitting in front of me know
One day she may have to get surgery
To remove the hairball in her stomach from eating at her hair?
I see her run it through her lips, feeling the same texture.

Does the boy, scratching away at his knuckles
Understand what’s underneath his skin?
I wonder what his blood would say
Would it tell my story?
Would it tell ours?

*trigger warning*
Written by
Grace Alford
  160
   Manuel Hutchinson and Meg
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