I carry it with me to the grocery store. School. Work. Bed. The Shower. Everywhere I go. It follows me like a cloud of rain. It whispers in my ear as I try to rent a book at the library for the first time. But the voice reminds me that this is a busy library and I've never rented here. What if the librarian thinks I'm weird? What if I go to the wrong desk? What if... What if... What if... So I put the book back and leave.
Driving down the highway on a sunny day and then remembering something from years ago. My laughter as the wind blows through my hair shifts to the gaze of a deer in the headlights. What if... What if... What if... So I roll my window back up and turn the music down.
"Why do you always worry about things?"
"Why do you always ask me if I'm mad?"
"You should get help."
I want to be free like a bird and fly over a desert but birds don't have flashbacks of dark nights and malicious words. Birds don't have flashbacks of people dying in their living room. Birds don't pull their hood up to walk across campus so that they won't be seen. Birds don't play the same record over and over again on their dorm room floor in a thunderstorm all alone.
Birds are free. Not me.
It's heavy, heavier than the weights I lift to get rid it. Last night's at the gym trying to clear it just to be back six hours later to lift again. And then once I'm home and sweaty, exhausted from the bar, it creeps back up on me. What if... What if... What if...
I want to run away to the mountains where the cool western wind can whip through my hair under a full moon. I want to be that full moon. Shining in the dark. Filled of life. But moons don't question their sanity. Moons don't wake up in the middle of the night and stare at the clock till the sun rises. Moons don't change their names while in hiding. Moons don't write angry letters to themselves and beg for salvation.
The full moon is bright. Not me.
"Have you tried (insert stereotypical remedy here) yet?"
"Just live your best life!"
"You should talk to someone."
I bear it as I sit in class, tapping my pen against a desk. Ordering coffee in a long line. Trying to make friends. Studying for an exam. Everything I do. It follows me like a parasite, slowly sucking the life out of me as it smiles and watches my body decay. The feeling that reminds me of the haunting tapping of a branch against my window at night.
What if... What if... What if...
Run away and be free, what else could a human being ask for? Was it wrote in stone before I was born?
It is my cross to bear as I walk into a room with all eyes on me, ravenous eyes ready to tear me a part; as I walk with the confidence of an outlaw, tired of running from the man, the final showdown.
They call it depression, OCD, anxiety. They say it is normal. That it affects everyone in life. It runs in families. You inherit it.
But normal people don't have crosses to bear. And this is mine.