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The Things I Can't Tell You When You Ask, 'What's Wrong?'

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How many times I smiled and replied with, “Nothing, I’m fine.” I have the tone down; you smile, you take it up a few octaves and you reply. How many times have I texted “I’m all good” with shaking fingers and bloodshot eyes. What is the appropriate response when someone asks you, “What’s on your mind?” “What are you thinking about?” “What is wrong?” “Are you OK?” “You just went quiet.” “Are you sure?” “Talk to me.” “Please. Please…” I’m sorry…

I can’t tell you what’s on my mind. I don’t have a good reason, my reasoning is — I can’t, I can’t even comprehend where to start.

No, I can’t tell you what’s on my mind. So many swirling, passing thoughts — they pass by me in an instant, to quick to grasp and to quick to respond to. Overwhelmed. I’m nauseous and want to smash my head against a wall, I want to rip out my heart with what feels like my ice cold fingers, I can’t feel them anymore, the vertigo triggered by my spinning head has put them out of action for now. I am so dizzy, will they ever stop, will they ever slow down, will I ever really get to feel my thoughts.

So no, I can’t tell you what’s on my mind. When I can’t decipher them for myself, how am I meant to put your mind at ease? Though if I really could tell you what was up here, would you really be at ease or would you worry all the more? I know I worry.

A wave, surging – just as quickly as it smashes and breaks on the already worn rock face of the inside of my skull, it passes, taking all my strength and my air just to return from a different angle, another distorted version of the same cycle of never-ending thoughts. I lose track and I lose focus, my sense of direction is altered and I start to reassess how to breathe.

Too quick to form words about what is happening inside. No way to interpret these sharp, painful, wordless thoughts and sensations.

Cold runs through my veins — am I freezing to death or has every single blood cell of mine spontaneously caught fire? My eyes glaze over and you think I’m distant — do you know the extent? You think I’m thoughtless, you believe I have no mind of my own, I’m ditzy, I’m caught up with life and I don’t care about anything. I care too much, I care too little, who really knows. In a millisecond I am 10,000 places, I am 10,000 thoughts.

But no, I just can’t tell you what’s on my mind.

Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: December 10, 2016
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