I have a strong relationship with disappearance. I've always found myself to be a mix between an extravert and an introvert. When I'm in a group of people, I feel the need to be an entertainer; I'm loud, and I try to be funny. But I'm also very reliant on my alone time. Once my social battery is drained, I need to cool down. I'll put my phone away and be alone with my thoughts. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts -- that's what disappearance means to me. I can remember a time when I wanted nothing more than to disappear, and I often think about that when I'm doing things that make me happy. I think about how I'm so happy I stayed and kept fighting. You might think that I'd want the memories of that dark time to disappear, but it's quite the opposite. That struggle taught me how strong I am. Whenever I'm faced with a challenge, I'm confident that I can overcome it because of the strength I've mustered in the past. There really aren't any parts of my memory that I wish would disappear because they have created my identity. However, I did feel that part of my identity was disappeared throughout my mental health struggle because of the way that my family responded to it. My parents are you classic, conservative Italians, so they hold the mindset that if they can't see something, it must not be real. My struggle was constantly invalidated, which made it even more difficult for me to fight.
I certainly wasn't fighting for myself, because I had no desire to stay, and I didn't feel like my mom or my brother cared either -- they were so dismissive toward what I was going through. However, even though my dad didn't understand, he did his best to help me, and he's the reason that I was able to emerge victorious. He's the only one in my household that didn't make me feel like I needed to disappear. Since then, I have held on to a lot of anger toward my mom and my brother, which I'm not proud of. I have disappeared my mom and my brother from my life (not completely, but our relationship definitely hasn't been the same since). I still feel like they wouldn't have cared if I wasn't able to get through it, considering they thought I was faking the entire struggle for attention. That was what was most difficult for me to hear when I was fighting for my life every day. I'm working on forgiving them, but it's difficult because of the different ways that we show we love. I haven't heard from my brother in several months, and I miss him. Even when we were living in the same house during quarantine, he would ignore me because he disagrees with the way that I live. My brother has never been supportive of me, and some revelations about myself came forward during quarantine that he's not too pleased with. My brother and I have always had an argumentative relationship, and I remember always wishing that he would disappear when he insulted me. But I guess it's important to be careful what you wish for because it's been lonely without him in my life. I try to tell myself that I don't need someone who won't love and accept me for who I am, but having grown up with him makes that difficult to accept.