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I go through cycles where I’m okay, and then round back down to the bottom and feel the depth of my damage. Maybe it’s part of the human condition. I really hope I’m not the only person who feels this way. My wiring makes me feel like I’m like a feral animal, adapted to civilized life but never really a part of it. Growing up in such a toxic emotional environment, I feel like I was lured into civilized life with good intentions but the forest can’t be taken away so easily.

When things are bad in my head, my depression feels like the filthy darkness that permeates every pore, caught under unkempt nails, a permanent stench in my hair. I feel like a sickly caged animal, turning inward on itself and its surroundings. Anyone unfortunate or foolish enough to stay in the path of inevitable chaos may end up going down with it.

Days like this, I feel like I am human toxic waste. My damage reminds me how I am spawned from one of the universe’s cruel jokes, I am bred for this. My parental influence plays out against the din. I am become them. But while they have no understanding of the work at play around them, I am witness to my own horror and unable to do anything to stop it. Standing too close to the void, drawn into terminal velocity. Such damage is done.

I hate feeling this way. My depression and dysfunction are such challenges against my efforts in earnest to be healthy, normal, and right. Most days are a zero sum game and those are my victories. The worst part of it, though, is not the experience, but feeling alone in it. I am ashamed to speak it sometimes, because I feel like I’m burdening the people who care about me with another eye-roll inducing round of “here she goes again…poor little baby feels bad about herself…wah wah wah…” And even if they don’t say, think or feel anything of the sort, I do. I annoy myself. How can I hope to not annoy the people around me when I can’t stand myself sometimes?

So, I often choose silence. My sticky bile stays inside, so I don’t contaminate others. But it leaks out sometimes. I trail it behind me without knowing, like a roll of toilet paper caught in my skirt. Most people are too polite to point it out. I’m just a semi-civilized monster trying to make it another day.