Relationship Confusion

I’ve been confused, anxious, and depressed lately, and just wanted some opinions, and other’s perspectives on a situation.

For the past few weeks things have felt very unstable in my relationship with Elizabeth. Late last week, I thought we had worked through everything. But the past few days it seems nothing has really changed, and is maybe becoming worse.

There have been a few good moments, but they don’t seem to last, and feel like they’re coming fewer and further between.

I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around her. Even over text and on the phone. I’m almost constantly scared that I say or do the wrong thing, and she’ll be upset. It seems she’s becoming more and more irritated and sensitive to everything I say and do… Even my facial expressions. I’ve explained that sometimes what she thinks she sees in my expression isn’t actually what I’m thinking. She assumes the negative quickly.

I don’t need much in a relationship to be happy. I just want to feel secure, loved, and like I matter. Isn’t that what everyone needs from a relationship? I thrive on intimacy. Meaningful conversation and physical affection (as simple as holding my hand or a hug) is important to me.

Lately, I’ve been feeling insecure in the relationship. I don’t know where I stand with Elizabeth. Just when I think everything is fine, one small thing can shatter that “illusion” and I’m left feeling confused.

Elizabeth has GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), so she gets overwhelmed easily. I can understand that to a certain extent. I also get overwhelmed easily. But I don’t let that interfere too much with the relationship. I don’t let it change the way I treat her. I’ve been wondering whether I’m too much for her. I try not to be. I give her space when she needs it. We see one another once, sometimes twice a week, and I try to limit my texts to her.

She seems cold towards me sometimes. And it feels as though I can’t do anything right. That so many things irritate her and I never know whether something I say, do, or even a facial expression, is going to make her get irritated with me and pull away. I’m scared to ask for a hug when I feel I could really use one, because she might not be “feeling it”, and she told me that when she’s anxious or in a bad space, she doesn’t want to feel obligated to give me something I need, because when she does that, then it feels like she’s not being true to herself. She needs to take care of herself. I get that. I told her last week that when she pulls away from me it feels like I’m being punished, but she said that’s not what she’s doing… She just needs me to respect her need for space then.

I’m even too scared to hold her hand when we’re walking, or cuddle up to her when we’re watching a movie, because she’s made it clear that when she’s not “feeling it” she doesn’t want to show or accept affection… And it feels like she’s at that place most of the time lately. It seems like affection is only okay when she feels it’s okay. It’s not about me… Her needs and wants come first. If she’s going through a hard time, I try to be as supportive as possible, and am willing to put aside my own struggles for a while in order to be there for her. But she told me she can’t do that for me. That it overwhelms her and makes her resentful.

The worst thing is that the more she pulls away, the more insecure I get. But I’m going to try not to make that known, so she doesn’t feel overwhelmed and miserable in the relationship. But how do you know when you get to the point where you’re giving up your own needs and wants just to make sure that your partner is happy in the relationship? Or whether you really are the problem and your needs/wants are just unrealistic? Maybe I’ll get used to things this way and won’t feel as insecure, because she’ll be more affectionate again? Maybe I’m just too sensitive, and by just going with “the flow” I’ll become less sensitive over time?

If I don’t do or say anything that day that irritates her, or makes her feel “bad”, then she’s affectionate. I’m scared every time I have a quick reaction to something she did or didn’t do, or something she said, that she’ll see it on my face, and I know that pisses her off. Even if I don’t say anything. Just the look on my face is enough for her. And then for the rest of the day she seems cold towards me. Is this normal? It doesn’t feel normal, but then again, I’m not too sure what’s normal in a relationship and what’s not.

I’m doubting myself a lot lately. Wondering whether the problems in the relationship is all just me. That maybe I’m just too much. Maybe I just need to change? I’ve made some changes already, and she’s acknowledged that I’m trying and have been doing better. But it still seems as though I mess up more than I should, and that now she’s even more hyper aware of every little thing.

The last evening I spent with her was on Monday, and usually we always say goodnight with a kiss. That night she didn’t. I wanted to kiss her, but I could sense she didn’t want that, as she had already said goodnight and turned around. When we were saying goodbye on Tuesday morning, she gave me a hug (again, no kiss), but the hug felt distant and cold. I have no idea what I did wrong. The rest of the day (yesterday) she seemed cold over text as well. It still doesn’t feel right today. But maybe it’s just my imagination.

I’m going to try to be better. I think that maybe if I just hide it better when I feel overlooked, hurt, or upset, that maybe things will be better. That I need to be more considerate maybe.

I don’t talk about this to my friends because I don’t want them to treat her any differently (they like her), and I feel a bit of shame for how I’m feeling only 6 months into the relationship. So I thought I’d post this here and see what you guys think?

Please keep in mind that these are my feelings, thoughts, and perspective on the relationship. So you won’t know how things are from her perspective. There are probably other factors involved as well.

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A Bad Weekend

One of the criteria in the DSM for Borderline PD:

9. TRANSIENT, STRESS-RELATED PARANOID IDEAS OR SEVERE DISSOCIATIVE SYMPTOMS.

I posted a “poem” the other day (can’t remember when exactly), and removed it at some point. I kept thinking that the person that post was inspired by would somehow come across it. Actually, I was convinced that would be the case.

How do I know when I’m in a highly stressed and mental health crisis state? That right there. The paranoid thoughts. Lots of them, most of which don’t actually even make sense. Heavy dissociation too. Where I can’t remember certain times of the day. It’s either a blur or a complete blank. That’s how this weekend has been for me.

Shutting myself away from the world has seemed like the only way to stay safe. I got an invitation to go out with one of the woman from group and her friends yesterday, but the thought of being with a group of people I have never met before filled me with extreme anxiety. Even the thought got me close to a panic attack. The next instant though, I just shut down. A numbness set in. Apathy. “No, I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t care about anything anymore.” Another reason I didn’t want to go out with this particular person is because being around her for too long tends to drain me. And it was going to be a full day outing. So I don’t think I would have gone even if I had been feeling fine.

I don’t feel safe. Meaning, I feel a constant threat hanging around me. The world feels dangerous. People feel dangerous right now. I went to the shop yesterday to get some stuff, and PTSD traits were raging.

I can’t begin to explain how I felt yesterday. All I can say is that it felt like torture. I just wanted to peel the skin from my body, slice my head open and remove my brain, kind of torture. I thought I was going crazy. I tried to distract myself and do some self-soothing, but that didn’t work too well either. I wanted a hug from my therapist. I feel safe with her. I wanted Elizabeth too, I missed her. But the relationship feels a little fragile and unstable at the moment, so maybe it’s good that we didn’t see one another this weekend (I’m seeing her tonight at least though). I’ve been feeling really lonely. What I wouldn’t give to just have someone around when I’m going through these “crisis” moments. I read blogs by some of you about how wonderful a certain person was during a moment like this, and how much it helped, and I must admit… I get a little sad and jealous when I read these things. I’m glad some people have that, I just wish I could experience this too.

I’m still feeling fragile today, but it’s not as bad as it was over the weekend, which I’m grateful for.

There are just so many things going on. I wish I could sleep for a few weeks (been struggling to sleep lately).  Life is exhausting right now.

The Missing Writer

I’ve been meaning to write a post explaining my previous few posts, which may have been confusing, and some of which might have had no solid context for you. But I haven’t been able to do that yet. And I’m not sure whether I will be able to either.

I’ve been having a really hard time with writing lately. I’ve started so many new posts, but ended up scrapping them all. Writing usually helps me organize my thoughts, process my emotions, and provide insight into myself. But that hasn’t been my experience for the past couple of weeks.

Instead, it’s been a source of even more confusion, annoyance, and despair. I’ve been struggling to express my thoughts, struggles, and feelings. Especially through writing, which is a strange experience for me.

There’s also a part of me that’s reconsidering this blog. The threat of having this blog discovered by those I want to keep it a secret from suddenly seems more real. It feels more risky than ever before. Even the thought of people I’ve never met having insight into my life, my self, is frightening.

The things I want to write about, the things I want to explain (like my previous posts), just feel too vulnerable. I’ve been vulnerable here plenty of times, so I don’t understand why it suddenly feels so insurmountable and anxiety provoking. Maybe I just need a break away from posting for a while.

I have therapy tomorrow morning, and I’m feeling pretty damn anxious about it. I’m worried that I won’t be able to connect with my therapist. Why? I feel disconnected from everyone in my life. It’s as if I’ve subconsciously been pushing them away internally. I also feel torn. There are two important topics to talk about, but I don’t know which is more important… I feel like there’s just too much to talk about, and not enough time. That I won’t say what’s on my mind, and talk about random shit that I actually don’t care about. That tends to happen often with me.

I feel extremely frustrated. At this point, it seems I need two sessions a week for a while, there’s just so much to cover. I feel overwhelmed with it all. And the topics, or at least one of them, will require a lot of sessions, as they’re causing me a lot of distress and impacting my relationships and life. To such an extent that I feel it will be easier to just give up on life so I don’t have to deal with these things anymore, and save the people in my life a mountain of negative emotions.

I’m just all over the place, and don’t know what’s next.

This post has taken me an hour to write. I just don’t know anymore. I’m done writing now. For how long, I have no idea. Let’s see what happens.

Inside & Outside

My outside doesn’t match my inside.

I can talk about my emotions. How I’ve been feeling. How I’m currently feeling. To everyone else, it looks like I’m okay. Yet in those moments of talking about my feelings, my outside doesn’t reflect how I’m feeling on the inside. There’s a disconnect. And I don’t know why, or even how that happens.

In group today, when it was my turn to share, I told them a little bit about my experience on Friday, and how I’m still in that dark place. In our session last week Tuesday, OT told me I need to open up more in group, and use the time to its fullest. Therapist told me the same thing. So tonight, I tried. It was terrifying and extremely uncomfortable, but I did it. But once again, my true feelings didn’t match the way I spoke about it.

At one point during group (when someone else was talking about something), I had to leave and go to the bathroom because I could feel tears starting up. I don’t know how long I was in there, but I couldn’t stop crying. Then I intentionally this time, shut down those emotions. I walked out like nothing had happened, and went back to the group. Yes, I know. I probably should have stayed. Instead, I was rude and selfish.

One of two things happen when I talk about emotions and what I’m struggling with. Either I feel it all inside, but it doesn’t show on my face, as if I’m two different people. Or I just shut down completely and become numb. And the worst part is that 99% of the time, I don’t do it intentionally. It happens automatically.

Do any of you experience this? And how do I move past it?

I’m still feeling terrible since Friday. All I can think about is death. I see, and feel it all around me. I’m having nightmares. The kind that haunt me, and show up out of nowhere throughout the day. Like flashbacks. I get frustrated. After all, it’s just a dream. It’s not real. But then why does it feel so real? It’s past events, but with a twist. Like memories, mixed in with current fears. Some of these fears are those that I never even knew I had. I’ve also been struggling a lot with anxiety. I’m living off my Benzo’s (I’m not overdoing it- just enough to cope).

I feel disconnected from everyone and everything.

24 Hours With BPD During A Crisis Phase

I have a general trigger warning sign posted in the sidebar of my blog, but I feel this post needs to come with an additional warning as it contains more references to suicide and self-harm than usual.

On Friday I woke up feeling depressed, and exhausted… As if I hadn’t slept at all. It felt like I had a block of concrete weighing down on me. I had zero energy, and what usually takes me 10 minutes to do, became 30 minutes. I was moving in slow motion.

I keep a Post-It pad next to my bed, because sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea or something I need to remember. Before going into work on Friday, on one of those Post-It notes, I wrote what I was feeling. I usually use Pacifica (an amazing app to chart your moods, with lots of additional features) to track my moods. But on Friday I didn’t want to even look at my phone.

Somehow, it turned into me writing notes on Post-It’s (which I have in my bag as well) for the duration of the day. I wrote the times on the notes as well, after each “episode”, but they’re not exact times of course. So I got to document one of my low points for a day, and the crisis phase that was hot on its heels. Reading it back, it feels like a dream. I can’t remember writing half of these notes. I’m not going to post everything that I wrote down during the day, just the most significant things. There are some things that I want to keep to myself for now as well. I’ll add some current things in brackets for some of them. I don’t know why I wrote them in present tense.

09:30 – Don’t want to be here. I’m tired and not in the mood for these people. Just want to be alone, and in bed. It’s noisy and chaotic. (It’s the same everyday. It makes me so anxious being there. The energy in that place is chaotic and stressful. They’re up and down, in a highly out of control way, complaining about everything and everyone, arguing, etc. For a highly sensitive person, that energy, that environment is a nightmare.)

10:45 – I hate him! I wish he would just disappear forever! Can’t he just go one day without acting like he rules the fucking universe? (This is obviously referring to the man who calls himself my dad. I stashed the notes in my jacket pocket so he wouldn’t see them.)

11:10 – Can’t stand it anymore. Get up and go outside. (There’s a place behind the back of the building where no one goes. It’s my “secret” place.) So angry! Want to scream and break things. Maybe just my hand.

11:45 – Panic attack. Want to take Ativan but they’re in my damn bag in the office!

(I was very irritable for most of the day, with mood swings ranging from frustration, anxiety, a brief period of mania, sadness, and depression, and back again. Crying too much. Don’t want to, don’t want anyone to see. No one tells you how exhausting it is to live with BPD symptoms.)

16:20 – Phone clinic, ask for OT. All OT’s already left. She’s lying. (receptionist). They just don’t want to talk to me.

19:00 – Write blog post about current emotional state. Falling even deeper into the black hole. Thoughts of suicide running rampant through my mind, growing stronger by the minute.

19:20 – Status update on new, private Facebook profile. Supportive comments from those closest to me. Comment from (Uncle). Stake through my heart. Can’t trust him anymore. Bond broken. He hates me. He’s never going to talk to me again and will cut me out of his life. I don’t care! Panic. I need him! He can’t leave me! Maybe I can talk to him. I don’t want to lose him. Don’t want to talk to him.

19:30 – “Unfriend” him. Delete post from blog. Want to delete entire blog. Probably not a good idea. Shouldn’t be making any compulsive decisions while in this state. Vow to never reveal my feelings to anyone ever again. Start typing Therapist a message to tell her to cancel our session on Thursday, and that I’m not coming back. Before I can send it, throw my phone on the bed in frustration. Can’t.stop.crying! Add Uncle on FB as a friend again.

21:30 – Want to phone Therapist. It’s weekend. She doesn’t have her phone with her. She hates me. She probably talks to the others on weekends. I need to send her something to make sure we’re still okay. Well, I’m mad at her too. I’m going to quit therapy. I’m going to stop going to groups. I want nothing to do with Therapist and OT anymore. They hate me! I’m so mad at them. Don’t want to lose Therapist. Why am I panicking? It’s not real. She’s not going to leave. But why does it feel like I’m in trouble? I’m not mad anymore. I love her. I’m a burden to everyone.

21:50 – Phone suicide crisis line. Get told to take deep breaths and go take a hot bath. I don’t have a bath, or hot water right now! Why isn’t she listening to me? The more I try to explain how and why I’m feeling this way, the more she cuts me off and throws advice at me! Crisis lines are shit. Where the hell do they find these people? I shouldn’t have phoned. Thought I had learned my lesson the previous time! (When I was told by the guy on the phone that he’s going to hang up because he has another call coming in). Not going to happen again. This time I hang up. Rage. Want to throw my phone against the wall. Hit the wall with my fists instead. Dissolve into tears again.

22:00 – Too much pain. Self-harm is the only other solution I can think of. Cut. See the blood start forming. So beautiful. Relief. Thinking about carving a few “tattoos” on other places on my body. The desire to see more blood is overwhelming. Want to see more blood than a few measly drops. It’s Winter. No one will be able to see. Want to kill myself. I’m definitely going to end my life tonight. I can’t possibly survive this time. Mind racing through different ways to go about it. I have a plan, but if that fails, I need something else to complete it. Read through suicide forums. Lots of ideas. But also lots of failures. Fuck! I can’t even die in peace, without it maybe going wrong! What if the man who calls himself my dad blames Therapist, and ruins her career? What if he goes after her and hurts her?

22:20 – Here come the tears again. Sobbing on the floor. Can barely breathe. I don’t want or need anyone! Maybe they’re all in on it together, and laughing at me. I’m the joke. I can’t trust anyone. I mustn’t. Panic attack.

22:40 – Take 4 Benzo’s, instead of my usual 1.

23:00 – Calm. Numb. Floating far above my body. Drifting.

09:30 – Wake up. Eyes feel like lead. Head pounding. dissociative cloud hanging over me. Feels like I have a hangover. What if no one is real? What if it’s all a dream?

09:45 – See Hope Box. They’re all real. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t have bothered to write these messages for me. (This self-soothing box usually helps me during the usual suicidal ideation times, but not when I’m as far gone as I was on Friday evening. This is when I need someone to help ground me, because I’m unable to soothe and ground myself.)

I’m still feeling fragile today, but just glad to be out of that chaotic state.

It’s been a busy social and work week for me. I only had one day that I didn’t spend with anyone, but I spent all of that time working. I’m starting a wedding photography business with another photographer, so we’ve been working hard to get it up and running as soon as possible. It’s a lot of work starting a new business. Went out for dinner with potential clients. I’ve been working non-stop, with a few social coffee breaks with Jasmine and some friends from group.

Being an introvert, this is a challenge. I’ve been burning myself out. Even working the whole weekend last weekend. I realized that this “crisis” has been creeping up on me slowly. And when it hit, it destroyed everything in its path.

I realize that I need to take better care of myself, and have a proper plan in place for these times. It’s terrifying being in that space of utter despair. This time really shook me, and made me see the urgency of making a safety plan.

I don’t phone Jasmine (the one person who understands me, and what it feels like to be in that state), because when we were still together, we tended to trigger one another. We decided it’s better not to talk about self-harm and suicide. But now that we’re just friends, and don’t spend nearly every moment together, it’s easier. I spoke to her last night and we discussed being on one another’s evening “crisis list”. I need to choose my people wisely, because a lot of people will just make things worse. With Jasmine, there’s no platitudes, just understanding, care and empathy. She listens more than she talks. Which is what we need during those times. She’s also the only person who’s available in the evenings, when most of these moments happen.

I really need to take better care of myself and notice the signs that I’m starting to go downhill. As for working for the man who calls himself my dad, I’ve created a playlist of soothing, relaxing music. I don’t need to answer phones, so I can put my headphones on, and drown out all the noise. I also have to learn and practice how to balance working hard, with some down time where I don’t think about work every moment of every day. As for my social life, I’m going to be more careful about how much time I spend with people. Too much of a good thing… Quality over quantity.

Took the whole day off yesterday. Put my phone on silent. Stayed in my PJ’s, reading, writing and watching Frasier and other shows on Netflix. Meeting my group of friends for a lunch date today. We’re going to her place and making our own pizza and Glühwein (which I’ll have very little of). That’s going to be interesting. I’ve had a full day of being alone yesterday. So I think I’m ready for this. But next weekend I’m taking the whole weekend for myself. I’m exhausted.

Selene

I just sat down at my computer right now and thought that I want to write a post. But then I realized… I don’t have anything to write about. There’s nothing that I really want to say.

Something just popped into my mind. Let me tell you about “Selene”. I’ve never told anyone about “her”. Not even my therapist, because it sounds completely crazy. Besides, it’s never come up.

I don’t know if Selene was around when I was a kid. The earliest memory I have of her is from my late teens I think. I just remember walking down the street one day. I was scared of something. I can’t remember what, but I still remember the feeling of intense fear. Then suddenly I felt this powerful presence beside me. The fear instantly disappeared and I felt this sense of protection. I didn’t need to see her to know she exists. She felt really familiar… Which is why I say I don’t know whether she was around earlier than that memory.

I was still a Christian back then, but knew that this wasn’t God, an angel or anything like that. She wasn’t part of that spiritual world. Selene felt different, separate to all of that. I can’t explain it.

She’s powerful and invincible. When she’s around I feel like no one and nothing can harm me. I feel strong and empowered. Safe. I don’t experience her internally, but on the outside. Like a physical presence right next to me. Close. The way a bodyguard stands next to a public figure.

Sometimes it seems like she just shows up for no reason. I can’t even understand why she’s there in those moments. And why she’s not around when I want her. A lot of the time she shows up when I’m feeling very anxious or afraid of something. Most of the time, it’s at night. My worst time of day. Which is why I try to stay up as late as I can. Because as soon as that light goes out, I feel vulnerable for some reason. She can be there from a few seconds to a few minutes. Although, there are two moments that I remember sensing her presence when I was in terrible emotional pain. Just sitting with me on the bed and the floor. Most of the time, she’s just this powerful, strong being. My protector.

It’s not a regular thing. Months can go by without her. She showed up again this week. And I don’t even know why. In the moments when she shows up, one part of me experiences her as completely real. The presence I feel is real. The logical part of me is aware that she’s not really real. I’m pretty sure she’s just a construct of my imagination. A defense mechanism? But yet, she’s real. Does that make sense?

Well, it seems I did have something to say after all. Even though it’s something that might well see me getting more meds to add to my collection, and send some of you running.

Heading For A Breakdown

I’m not in a good place.

I had an okay few hours yesterday, but that was unfortunately short-lived.

My immune system is down. My body is on high alert. My nervous system is shot. I can’t focus, I can’t concentrate. There’s this mental fog that I haven’t been able to shake.

At the same time, it feels as though my mind is about to explode. Been trying to self-sooth, but it doesn’t seem to be working either. All I want to do the whole time is cry. And some of the time I don’t even know why I’m crying. It just keeps coming.

All I want, all I long for right now is a long hug. A soft touch, a warm body. Someone to sit with me in silence and hold my hand. To hold me close and tell me that I’m going to be okay. I don’t want to hear “everything is going to be okay”, because no one can predict the future. But “you’re going to be okay” really works for me. It helps build me up, allows me to tap into my strength. Because during these intense moments, I feel I don’t have the strength to pull myself together, let alone to keep going. We all need love and closeness sometimes, right? “Please hold me for a while”, I want to say. But there’s a sense of shame in wanting to say those words. To ask for comfort. I don’t want to be saved, I just want to be held. Right now, I can’t be that person I need. I don’t know how to. And how can I, when I despise myself?

Am I so ugly and bad, and that’s the reason no one is ever around when I really need someone? You guys give me so much care and support here, which I appreciate immensely. But sometimes you just need that physical presence, you know?

I don’t usually ask for hugs, even when I desperately want one. On the way to work this morning, I decided that I’m going to ask my step mom for one (I don’t like being touched or hugged by my dad). But when I got into the office, she was passive aggressive with me over something that I can’t remember right now. It really hurt me, as if I wasn’t hurting enough already, and I could feel the tears coming. So I used that opportunity for a bathroom break. Even though I had just gotten in. And now I don’t want to even see her. I’m so damn sensitive.

I’ve always been sensitive and hyper-vigilant, but it seems worse these days. The smallest sound and sudden movement and my body goes into overdrive. Once it’s over, the effects still remain for quite a while. I don’t have energy for much. I don’t want to eat, my appetite is non existent. Besides what I mentioned above, the need for comfort, I don’t want anything to do with anyone. I want to crawl into a dark, warm space and just lie there. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to live either.

Nearly every day I have to hear how bad my dad’s business is doing, and how they’re in deep debt. That we might not have a place to stay soon. Every week it’s the same story. I’ve asked him to please not speak about finances (especially the business’s finances) in front of me and the kids. But it seems he doesn’t get the message.

My dad will send me a message, or come home after work to change, and tell me that some friends invited them for dinner at their house. But I know when my dad is lying. Besides, my step sister is obsessed with checking in everywhere on Facebook. I see that she’s checked in somewhere, and tagged my dad, brother and step mom. That they’re having dinner, or watching a movie. Definitely not at some “friends” house. I don’t understand why they need to lie about what they’re doing and where they’re going. Only my brother will tell me the truth the next day, but also doesn’t know why they don’t ask me to come with. The only conclusion that I can come up with is that they don’t want me to go, either because they just don’t want me there, or they want to save money. But all that happens is that I’m left feeling like a burden. And like I’m not part of the family. I don’t belong.

That triggers thoughts and memories of times past where I also felt this way.
I left a good job in order to make sure that my dad was going to be okay (after his suicide attempts). In order to parent him (which I shouldn’t have done). So I followed him from one woman to the next. I’d find a job, and then their relationship wouldn’t work out and it was onto the next woman. I knew they would break up, and I was always afraid that he’d attempt suicide again. After every break up, my dad would tell me that the women didn’t want me around and that’s why they broke up. Even though they hardly ever saw me. I was doing my own thing most of the time. He’d never mention how he had fucked up in the relationship, it was always the other woman. And me. So how can I not feel like a burden?

I feel really alone and lost.

As well as so much shame. For being a burden. For being me. For being alive.

It’s like I’m heading for a breakdown, and I feel powerless to stop it.