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I Wonder What It's Like Not to Be So Hyper-Vigilant: A Poem

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or emotional abuse, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

I wonder

I wonder what it’s like
To get dressed without rethinking
And rethinking my wardrobe
Worrying that what I’m wearing might upset someone or give someone the wrong impression.

• What is PTSD?

I wonder what’s it’s like
To speak without fear of immediate backlash
Without first practicing my words for every possible question
To panic when I don’t know the answer
To want to cry and hide when the questions become about my family.

I wonder what it’s like to have my window open
To let the cool breeze in, instead of having it sealed tight at all times for fear of someone coming in to kill or hurt me.

I wonder what it’s like to sleep more than an hour at a time; to just turn my mind off and sink my head into a pillow and wake up refreshed.

I wonder what it’s like to not have nightmares; to not see my brother laying in a pool of blood night after night after being murdered.

I wonder what it’s like to turn on a tv and just flip through channels mindlessly and pay no attention to commercials or previews to violent shows, or to not have them throw me into flashbacks with their guns and courtroom scenes.

I wonder what it’s like to go shopping, or on vacation; to walk through a crowded area with ease and tune out the world around me without my blood pressure rising and my senses being on full alert for danger.

I wonder what it’s like to do everyday tasks and appointments without having to psych myself out, sit in the car for 20 minutes at each location, then run in and out like I’m in a race.

I wonder what it’s like to have parents and a family now that I’ve had to set fierce boundaries with my former alcoholic and still abusive father, and a mother who has never loved me or found worth in me.

I wonder what it’s like to make friends, to connect, to be real, to not feel crazy.

I wonder if it’s worth trying some days. I wonder if my dad was right when he suggested it should have been me in that coffin.

I wonder what it’s like to live in the moment, to not be so busy linking the past to what might be coming in the future that I’m missing out on so much in the here and now.

I wonder what it’s like to live with wild abandon.

I wonder what it’s like not to be so trapped by flashbacks, panic attacks, memories.

I wonder if the fight is even worth fighting for in the end.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

If you or a loved one is affected by domestic violence or emotional abuse and need help, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Photo by Amadeo Muslimović on Unsplash

Originally published: September 30, 2017
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