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Are You Intense Like Me?

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

I did not ask for this intensity, but I’ve always been too much for too many people.

When I was 4-years-old, I stopped sleeping through the night. I would stay up all night watching life from my window. I would also sneak in to the kitchen to grab salt. I would put it on a little plate and run back to my room to eat it all.

In kindergarten, I had three boyfriends: one at school, another one on the school bus and my main puppy love. He left me for another girl when I was five and that was my first Greek tragedy. I mutilated several novels my mom owned with my angst, which came over at least eight years too early.

I switched schools every three years, so I went to a different school in the first grade. That was the first time I realized I wasn’t conventionally pretty. I didn’t have nails like the Disney princesses did. My hair was too wild. My skin was too fair, so I didn’t “belong” in my home country. Other kids thought I was American. I was too tall for a girl, so boys did not like that.

Three years after that, I changed schools again. We had no money for private school, so I started going to public school. My parents got divorced. I developed earlier than most girls, so I was mocked because of my appearance, as I looked way older than I was.

When I started middle school, I suddenly was desirable to boys my own age, even if I was still taller than them. The attention was too overwhelming. I was afraid of damaging my reputation, so I repressed my expressions significantly. I also started eating emotionally, so I gained weight. When that happened, I stopped being desirable to men again. That hurt me in a different way.

Starting high school was even harder. My mom got sick, so we had to go live with my dad. He and I had a terrible relationship, so I acted out a lot. I was a rebel. I started using and abusing anything I could in order to numb the pain. I still kept good grades, though. That led me to believe that everything was OK.

College was the era of excesses. Everything was amplified. I lost myself so many times I lost count.

Attending grad school on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean gave me permission to continue sinking in deeper into my void of nothingness. It was the first time I attempted to end my life as I knew it.

Coming back home made me feel like a total failure. The world didn’t deliver on its promise of success and oblivion, so I tried to create my own definition of it. It did not work too well. This was the climax of my self-destruction.

At the age rockstars died, I was reborn. I had to start life all over again. To relearn everything that helped me cope before, since it wasn’t going to work for me moving forward.

My recovery process was painfully slow. I did not get my marbles back five years in, they probably came around the nine year milestone.

But around that time, life got very “life-y.” I lost everything I thought I “had,” and gained so much more in the process. The pain has been excruciating, but the lessons have been invaluable.

If that 4-year-old girl could see me now, I’m sure she wouldn’t recognize her older, fatter, exhausted older version. But deep down, she would know they both will be OK. And perhaps, just perhaps, she could get a good night’s sleep again.

A version of this story originally appeared on

Photo submitted by contributor.

Originally published: September 6, 2021
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