The Terror Of Happiness

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A while ago, I had to go see a counsellor on a bad day. What’s he told me stuck with me; damaged people tend to sabotage healthy relationships because they’re so unused to what it feels like to be happy. It’s easier for them to remain miserable, because they’ve learnt to trust unhappiness.

I can understand why, though unlike those people, I’ve learnt not to trust what my brain tells me.

Right now, I’m so happy that it hurts, and that scares me, because the idea of losing that small, overpowering piece of happiness feels like it could tear me in two. 

Everything I Can Never Have

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You can thank Flash for this. 

Or burn him at the stake for it. 

Either way, thanks to him, I’m posting a scene from my latest story/novel/thing. 

Well, actually it’s more of a short story spinoff thing. I was writing about the background of one of the characters in the story/novel/thing and one thing lead to another and I ended up writing a short story.

Which includes a sex scene at the end.

Also, yes Flash, that’s what I named you. Welcome to my blog. Don’t bother stalking it for new posts because you’ll only see one once every blue moon. Blame Year 12.

And no Daniel, you cannot toast marshmallows on Flash’s bonfire.

Let’s go.

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“I don’t love her…” grumbled Xavier. 

“Well you’re going to have to. You want to be a humanitarian, you need money. Which your parents won’t give to you if you refuse to marry her.”

“Oh I can marry her.” He rolled his eyes. “What’s a few more lies? Yes, I am interested in attending that gala. Of course I like that decor, put it all over our home. Yes, I love you and want and spend the rest of my life with you.”

Cassidy sighed. “You shouldn’t have let your parents meet her if you despise her so much.”

“Oh, I didn’t introduce her. She conveniently found a book that I left behind and went to my house to drop it off. When I got back from work, she had them eating out of her hand.”

She let out a long whistle. “She’s that good, huh?”

Xavier groaned. “Yeah, she’s everything they dreamed of. Well groomed, impeccable manners, and most importantly, our children will be physically perfect.”

“And boring as batshit. Here’s an idea, after she gives the Augustine line their precious offspring, set her up in the most public, most scandalous affair you can imagine. Mummy and Daddy will rush to remove her from the family portrait.”

“And tarnish the reputation of our children? Have them questioning their parentage? My parents have enough trouble keeping us in line already.” 

She stuck her tongue out at him. “You’re boring too.”

He ignored her. “Not to mention the bullying and psychological damage that years of name calling would cause. It would be less traumatic for them if she died.” 

Cassidy glanced around her apartment. “Since there’s no wood to knock on…” She tapped on the glass coffee table. Xavier rolled his eyes at her. “Would your wife even be interested in raising your children?” she asked, a slow smile spreading across her lips. “Maybe you’ll be needing a nanny. Think Mummy would recognise me?” 

Xavier shook his head, smiling. “Oh they’ve never forgotten you. And you’d never be able to remain civil and polite for so long. There’s also the fact that you hate children.”

“Not if I had to push them out of me, I wouldn’t. But I can deal with other people’s children fine. Just don’t make me give birth to one.”

“Isn’t that half the joy for women? Experiencing the miracle of birth?”

“This is why you need someone like me as a nanny. Otherwise your children are going to grow up stupid,” she told him. 

“I think the term is idealistic.” Xavier wasn’t at all put off by Cassidy’s insult.

“As I was saying…” Cassidy was ignoring him. “If I had a baby, I’d probably go under watch for post natal depression, knowing my parents’ history. And your soon to be fiancĂ© is probably the same.”

“You don’t know that,” Xavier said.

“You said it before; she’s an air headed snob, she’s probably never even heard of it. I bet that she’s never going to give you head.”

“Oh, the horror,” Xavier said dryly. “I don’t believe I can handle such a torturous fate!”

The doorbell rang. Before he could say anything, Cassidy threw a blanket over Xander’s head before answering it. Xander rolled his eyes and smiled. He could fall asleep like this, on Cassie’s couch. He was even beginning to drift off when she plopped herself next to him. “I come with unhealthy peasant food!” she announced, handing him plastic container filled with rice and a bright red sauce. “Don’t tell Mummy.”

“I eat this all the time, I’m not that sheltered,” he told her. “Now go put on the movie.”

“Whatever you say, your highness,” Cassidy rolled her eyes as she got up.

“Did Matthew have the pleasure of being called ‘your highness’?” he asked provocatively.

“Of course not, he’s an asshole,” she retorted. “The only reason I call you ‘your highness’ is because it makes you laugh, which is better than you being a poor little rich boy.” The opening credits started playing, and she went to go dim the lights. When old Zachary began his story, she finally returned with the bottle of wine. “I’ve got a feeling I’m going to need a lot of this,” she informed him, settling down with her curry. 

“You’ll enjoy it,” Xavier reassured her.

She did, much to Xavier’s satisfaction. It was so rare to find a movie that she could sit through without getting bored, though she did come up with a drinking game for it; drink every time the sextet plays, a magic birthmark appears, or you recognise an actor playing more than one character. By the end of it, the bottle was empty, and she was snuggled against him. “You’re so much more cuddly when you’re plastered,” Xavier informed her.

“Am not,” she mumbled, not making any attempt to move herself from her current position. “And so are you.”

He smiled in the dark. The only sound that could be heard was their steady breathing. It was peaceful.

“You’ve never done it before, have you?” she asked softly. There was no teasing in her voice this time.

“Of course not,” he replied. “Girls were terrifying in high school. And now that I’m considered old enough to carry on the lineage, I’m not allowed to get into any ‘scandals’. Not that I was before. Surely you know this?”

“Yeah,” she said. “I guess it only sank in when I saw you watch Chang and Sonmi.” She looked up at him, almost gentle. “You’re a romantic. The worst thing you can be in this world.”

Xavier rolled his eyes. “Pessimist.”

There was silence. “Have you ever wanted to?”

“Do what?”

“Don’t be so naive. You know what I’m talking about.”

He looked down at her. “Of course I have.”

“What stopped you?”

“.,.fear?” It sounded more like he was asking.

“Fear?”

“I don’t know!” he said impatiently. “It’s harder than you make it out be. The possibility that she’d laugh in your face is terrifying. And why would she even both with you? She’s beautiful and unattainable, and you’re just this scared guy she probably hates.”

“Why would she hate you?” She frowned. 

Xavier was about to respond, but he cut himself off. He searched desperately for a suitable answer. “You know how it is,” he said weakly. “Girls are proud…haughty…you know? And it’s a fucking private school too, so they’re worse.”

“…ah.” She went quiet again.

Xavier went on. “I’m not like you. I’m scared of what will happen if I do something I shouldn’t. I’m scared of messing up permanently, and losing everything I love as a result. And-” His lips were suddenly covered by her palm. He stared at her in shock, before the blood rushed to his face. 

She wouldn’t look away from him. “You shouldn’t think so much,” she informed him. “If you want something, you should take it. In that regard you should be more like your family.” She took her hand down from his face, and rested it on his shoulder. He was frozen, completely entranced. “Don’t be scared of me. If you don’t want something, tell me, and I’ll stop. And I won’t mind if you do.” She looked deep into his eyes, waiting for affirmation.

He swallowed, closing his eyes. Despite the pit in his stomach, the hammering of his heartbeat against his chest, there was a part of him that was screaming at him to accept. Despite that, the words of loyalty were on the tip of his tongue. I can’t do that to Annabelle…My family will kill me… “I…” 

“I don’t want anything from you,” Cassidy insisted. “I don’t care if you walk out of here and never contact me again. But…if I can help you this way…”

“How…how is this helping?”

This time, it was Cassidy going still. “I…I want to show you what it’s like. When…it doesn’t have to be a chore. And…” Another pause. “…I want your first time to be with me,” she admitted. 

Xavier opened his eyes. She was looking away from him, her long hair hiding her colourless face. She moved her hand from his shoulder and stood up, almost robotically, clearing the coffee table of the empty takeout containers and wine glasses. The lights came on, and she went to the kitchen, leaving Xavier alone. 

The sane part him turned to the door, listing to him all the reasons that this shouldn’t happen. What would they do if they knew? His parents saw her as a corrupting force, a gold digging hobo who would bring nothing but scandal. They’d destroy her if they knew that she…that he had let her…

He wasn’t ready for this. Truth be told, he wasn’t even sure he’d be ready on his wedding night. All of his weaknesses- his shyness, his complete lack of self confidence- would be on full display. He was terrified of looking foolish, and he knew that Annabelle would rip him to shreds if he did. He thought of Cassie’s teasing and bitter remarks. Would she be just as critical as a lover? He didn’t know. 

But he did know that he felt more like himself around Cassidy than he ever would with Annabelle.

He stood up. He wished that he was normal, that something like this would come easily to him. His voice came out a stammer. “Cassie…”

She didn’t respond. He walked over to the kitchen, where she was rinsing the pan of failed casserole. “I know you can hear me,” he told her. Cassidy said nothing, but she inclined her head slightly. Xavier breathed in. “I don’t know what to do,” he confessed.

“That’s fine,” she said. “You don’t have to make yourself do-” 

“No, I mean, I don’t know what to do,” he interrupted. “I mean…I don’t know what sort of things that I’m meant to do, or how I’m meant to touch you. But…” He nearly jumped when Cassidy suddenly looked over her shoulder, but he quickly regained control. He inhaled. “But…I want to. And I want…”

She turned her whole body away from the sink then. “Do you want me to show you?” she asked directly. She made no move to touch him, however.

So Xavier took a small step forward. When she wasn’t wearing heels, they stood eye to eye. He breathed in, averting his eyes. “Yes…I do,” he said, ignoring the discomfort in his stomach. “But…just so you know, I probably won’t be any good,” he added hurriedly.

Her lips curled into a small smile. “I wouldn’t expect you to be,” she told him. “But that’s okay.” She glanced downward, and raised her hand to the laces of her shirt. 

Xavier’s hand came over hers, stopping it. Before she could say anything, he cupped her face and pressed his lips against hers, losing himself in the warmth of her skin. She feels and smells like summer, he thought, before his hand found her neck and he lowered his head to nuzzle into the softness, planting kisses against the base of her throat. He could feel Cassidy sway slightly, before suddenly tightening her grip on his hand. He looked up at her, feeling the heat come back to his face, and any confidence he had gained from kissing her retreated to the back of his mind. 

She noticed his discomfort and smiled reassuringly. She leant in again, for another kiss, and Xavier was suddenly aware of his zipper being pulled down, and the warmth of her fingers searching around the fabric of his-

He let out a yelp, as if he was a scared little puppy instead of a grown man. He felt the blood rush to his face, praying that Cassidy wouldn’t laugh. Their eyes met, and his chest tightened, as he felt the urge to bolt. Her hand backed away, but he was still trembling from her touch. “May I?” she asked gently. When he didn’t answer, she released his hand and rested it against his face, waiting again.

Xavier took in another deep breath, and nodded. In case that wasn’t enough for her, he put his hands on her waist, pulling her towards him. His lips found her again, and she relaxed quickly. Her fingers traced the edge of his waistband, Xavier’s breaths becoming shorter and shorter the further her hand went. When she first stroked him, he couldn’t help but shudder, gripping onto her like a lifeline. Her hand kept going, and just when Xavier thought he’d fall apart, she stepped away from him, chuckling slightly as he groaned in frustration. Finally there was a trace of the Cassie he was used to. He didn’t stop her as she stripped off her shirt and her shorts, nor when she wrapped herself around him, drawing him to the kitchen bench where she hopped up and looked down at him with eyes almost black, though there was still that slither of silver at the edge.

Forgetting everything, forgetting his promises, forgetting his duty, Xavier crushed her against him, kissing her breasts through the thin fabric of her bra and cupping her mound with his hand. His fingers pushed aside the flimsy underwear, running one down the entrance of her sex. When she let out a sigh, he looked up, surprised. Cassidy looked just as shocked, though she instantly recovered, making her face as neutral as possible. “I’m the one who should do the teasing,” she murmured. She wouldn’t look at him.

Xavier felt like grinning, but then her hand was stroking him again, and the pit in his stomach returned. Her grip was tighter than before, but it definitely wasn’t unpleasant. “Does this feel good? Or do you want more than this?” she asked him, taking back control.

Her touch was so warm, so tantalising that it made Xavier ache. “Please…” he managed to speak.

“Do you want to?”

“…yes.” He took the hand that was rubbing him, hesitating. No matter what Cassie said, he couldn’t stop now; the line had already been crossed. He did his best to ignore his heart throbbing in his chest, as he held her by her hips and finally buried himself inside her, sealing away his soul.

Madness took over. He grabbed her legs, kissing her frantically as he drove into her again and again. All his fear had vanished. The threat of his family was gone. The only thing that existed was the skinny little homeless girl he met three years ago- who now writhed beneath him on the granite benchtop, calling out his name. 

It had never been that simple though, and from that moment on, there would be absolutely nothing that could’ve described what she meant to him. The moment he finally collapsed into her, her name spilling out from his lips, Xavier could’ve died then and died happy. Instead, they slid onto the kitchen floor, wrapped in each other’s embrace. Neither of them wanted to move, especially him. For that moment of time, he had everything that he could ever want, and everything that he would never be allowed to have.

Alive

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I mechanically slipped the loop over my head, and pulled in the buckle to make it fit my neck. I walked over to the hinge on the door, and tossed the strap through the gap and over. I held the other end and gulped. Pull. 

I hoisted myself up, and clipped the end of the strap to my noose in one fell swoop. I closed my eyes. Sleep.

I was floating in space again, in the universe that I created. Dust and rock floated past me, the shadows swarmed around me. It was warm, not like Reality, which was steadily becoming colder and colder. 

Then someone shouted my name.

I woke up, struggling to breath. Of course, that was my intention. The banging coming from the other side of the door jolted me, causing my body to swing. Instinctly, I tried to regain my footing; but I was two, maybe three feet off the ground, dangling from my bag strap. 

I knew at once that I couldn’t do this to him. I couldn’t hurt him like this. I tried to unclip myself, but tugging on the strap only swung me around more, choked me more. I looked down. The lock. I attempted to reach it with my hand; bad idea. Desperately, I moved my foot to it, and pushed the lock down, and there was a click. 

Daniel barged in, slamming me and the door against the wall. I would’ve cried out at the pain if I had air to do so. When he saw me, his face twisted into a horrified expression. Immediately, he grabbed me and hoisted my body up. “How do I untie you?” he demanded. It was then that he noticed the clip. He held me up against the door, lifting me with his left arm, as he unclasped the makeshift noose with his free hand. 

He lowered me to the ground and loosened the bag strap, sliding it off. I just closed my eyes, ignoring his yells. I was too numb. Far too numb. 

Until I’d heard sobbing. I opened my eyes. Daniel was huddled over, tears streaming down his face. No… I crawled over to him, reached out to touch him.

He flinched. 

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered. “Please don’t cry. Daniel…”

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I spent the rest of the day in the hospital. Eventually they took me home, blaming it on the medication. And I locked myself in my cupboard, forbidding myself from seeing light.

I am a monster. 

I sobbed and screamed without letting out a sound. My parents knocked on the door occasionally to make sure that I was still alive, and I created a handy bulge in my bed to create the illusion that I was under the covers in case they came in.

How could I do that? Why would I even think about hurting Daniel in such a way? Not just him either. Willis, Flash, Bad Dog, Evil, Snugglepot. Fucking hell. I didn’t even deserve to be human.

Worthless, Inconsiderate, Selfish, Whore, Bitch.

Finally, I slept. It was cold, but I had slept in worse conditions than a closet. I should be back there, freezing to death. No, that’s not good enough. I need worse. I should have my head sliced off again, or get stabbed millions upon millions of times. Or I should be sent back to that brothel to be tortured. Neck snapped. Drowning, again. Throat slit. Something. Maybe all of those.

Suddenly, I was warm.  

I knew who it was. “Don’t Daniel,” I croaked. 

He ignored me. “What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?” I hissed. “Just leave me there, okay?”

He kept walking, with me in his arms. He dropped me on the bed and pulled the covers over me before walking out of my bedroom.

Promptly, I got out and walked back into the closet, closing the door behind me. Instantly, it opened, and he grabbed my arm. “Bed,” he growled.

“I’m sleeping here.”

“That’s mature of you.”

“Just leave me alone, okay?” I cried, wrenching myself free and slamming the closet door. 

It opened again. “Don’t be stupid,” he insisted. “You can sleep here.”

“You know that I can.”

“And you know that this is foolish,” he retorts.

I closed the door again. When it opened, I kicked him in the stomach, sending him flying. I immediately shut it, hearing his grunt and curse from the other side. He didn’t open the door again though.

Good.

The pain flooded through me, and I collapsed onto the closet floor, tears coming back again. I needed this. This was only a teaspoon of what Daniel must’ve been feeling like when he found me. Jesus, how many times has he found me in similar predicaments? Getting choked by a shadow. Beaten to a pulp by my mother. Lying on the bathroom floor coughing out water. Cutting my thighs with a razor. I deserve all this.

Then I heard him speak, from behind the door. “I know what you’re doing.” 

I remained silent. He sighed. “You’re feeling guilty.”

No shit Sherlock.

“And you’re trying to make me go away so that you can suffer by yourself,” Daniel continued. “Because you believe that you deserve to. But that’s wrong.”

Liar.

“Kicking me won’t make me think of you badly. Because that’s the only reason why you did it, so I’d hate you.”

I hit you in the beginning. When we first became friends.

“That’s the one thing about you. You’re so careful about everyone’s reactions that you calculate your every move. That’s why I know that you’re doing this to drive me away. Because you’re usually so deadly afraid of being violent towards someone you care about. And I know you do care. You let that slip today in the bathroom.”

I kept my mouth closed. I heard Daniel sigh. “I don’t hate you,” he told me. “I never would. I just want you to be safe…and I thought that was going to be possible without Delirium in your life. But…” His voice trailed off.

I curled into a ball on the ground, huddling under my clothes. Eventually, he spoke again. “Do you still need me?” he asked me. “Is there any reason for me to still be in your life?”

My heart lurched at the question. No was the right answer, the deadly logical side of me said. He’s part of Delirium, he doesn’t belong here. The longer you hold onto Daniel, the more you’ll be dragged away from the real world. And then you’ll never be normal. Say goodbye. NOW.

“I…” I found myself speaking for the first time since Daniel had began talking. I had to say it. Otherwise…. “I…” 

Send him away. Move on.

No.

So you’re going to be a freak that talks to herself for the rest of her life?

If he wants to leave, I’ll let him go. But he is the one person who has stood by me despite everything. And I’m not going to let pride get in the way, not this time.

“Of course I do,” I choked, sobbing again. “I…you’re….you’re the only person left that knows me for who I really am. And yet…you’re here.” I held onto the door handle and pulled myself up. “And I really don’t know why.”

The door opened and I was brought out into the light. Daniel stumbled backwards, as if he had been expecting me to be holding it back. His face was puffy and his eye was shining from tears. “But I love you,” I told him. “I know that. I know that I love you and I need you by my side, because…I want you to see me become a better person. I want you to see me be happy, and not post-breakdown-adrenaline-induced happy, but actually happy, and alive.” For the first time in what seemed like eternity, I smiled. It was an utterly broken smile, and the tears probably ruined it, but I didn’t care. “Is that…something you’d be interested in staying around for?”

Daniel stared at me before laughing weakly. “You and your moodswings,” he whispered. 

“Yours are worse.”

He laughed again. “And I’d love to. You being alive and happy sounds wonderful.”

Wonderful,” I mimicked him.

“Shush.”

I took his hand.

Addicted

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Things I have been/am not currently addicted to:

1- Delirium. Can you really blame me? It was a place where I could be strong and courageous instead of weak and useless. It gave me the opportunity to be this unstoppable force, and there was no better feeling.

2- Junk food. Then I decided that I’d hate myself even more if I was fat as well.

3- Cutting. This was back when I first tried to kill myself. I still couldn’t feel after that, and it took Daniel to make me snap out of it, another more powerful addiction.

4- Cracking my knuckles. I was even younger when I had this habit. For some reason, I always did it while playing video games. I don’t anymore.
Things I’m afraid of getting addicted to. A much longer list.

1- Prescription Medicine. Hence why I don’t take it. Probably should, but I’m too scared of the potential side effects, not to mention my negative history with St Johns Wort.

2- Sex. It’s not that I’ve got a problem with it, I just worry about the situations I could potentially get myself in because of it. And I can only think of the problems that it would cause if, for some reason, I happened to be in a relationship.

3- Not-so-Prescription Medicine. Ie, drugs. Togami mentions occasionally that one day I’ll be interested in experimenting, but right now, I’m too scared of permanently fucking up my already fucked up mental state to try.

4- Alcohol. Not likely, considering how the taste of my first drink wasn’t that good. But if I find a nice tasting alcoholic beverage, then this is likely to change.

5- Self Harm. If I am in that place where I have to mutilate my body just to gain some twisted sense of fulfilment, I’m checking myself into hospital. The end.

6- Shopping. I really don’t have that much money that I can afford to splurge it on luxuries like shoes and tea and corsets. If I’m going to be able to move out of home, I need to moderate.

7- Violence. I know that I’ve got that streak inside me. Right now, it festers as passive-agressiveness. And that’s where I want it to stay.
What I’m currently addicted to:

1- Modelling. I like people thinking that I’m beautiful. I like thinking that I’m beautiful. But I’m only capable of being that in front of a camera, and god knows for how long.

2- Friends. Mainly because if I’m by myself for too long, I’ll remember all the various reasons why I hate myself, which can contribute to why I don’t have friends in the first place.

3- Daniel. Probably the one lifeline I actually have. But what sort of life am I going to have if I can’t live without my imaginary best friend?

4- Anxiety. I thrive on those panic attacks where I can feel everything, pain and pleasure. I love to feel my heart race, to gulp down freezing cold air, right before my breathing gives out and I collapse from the feel of everything.

5- Depression. When the anxiety attack I’m hoping for just won’t come, I’ll just go lower and lower until I hit rock bottom and it hurts. Because then I’ll finally remember what better feels like.

6- Love. The scariest drug of them all.

My whole existence is a series of addictions, one after the other.

The Shrink List(s)

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Why I need to see a psychologist

1- Without one, I end up using the few people who remain my friends as a surrogate, much to their dismay. Seriously, they have enough drama. And they don’t even get paid.

2- Even though I’ve identified my problem area -a chronically pessimistic mindset- I still don’t have the stategies to deal with it on my own.

3- I need a constant. Modelling opportunities decrease when school comes back, and friends disappear when it’s time for exams. Family doesn’t qualify as a constant; the mood of the household changes on a daily basis. 

4- I’m lonely as fuck. I need someone to talk to that isn’t a Shadow. Or a feline.

Why I can’t see a psychologist

1- I don’t have enough time to study, model, exercise, lie in bed and stare into space, cry, draw, write AND talk about my problems.

2- Finding a new place is difficult. Must be reasonably close to school/home, and if not, would have to provide taxi/bus vouchers for me to get home before dark. Only government practices would have those, and I imagine those practices only cater to those under eighteen. If I went to one of those, I’d have to go through the same process once again from the fourteenth of September.

3- Finding someone I can communicate with is worse. Cheerful people I can’t take seriously when I’m having a bad day. However, a sense of humour is necessary as well, considering how most of my communication consists of awkward jokes about my cynicism and self depreciation. Being open minded is compulsory, though why you’d choose a career in psychology if you weren’t is beyond me. Being able to discuss philosophy and ideas is an added bonus. And above all, they have to understand the situation with my parents, and what should and shouldn’t be said in front of them. Finding a human with all these qualities on the first go is difficult. And trial and error is very discouraging.

4- Three words: Duty. Of. Care. Granted, this only remains a problem till Monday September 14th 2015, but there’s the dilemma of surviving August, which seems to be a particular time where everything comes crashing down once again.

Just writing and writing and getting stuff out of my system. Have a nice day humans. 

Cat Madigan.

Haven’t signed off in a long time actually.

The Other Side of Anxiety

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This is new.

I’ve become so used to not feeling that I’d almost accepted that I’d never be able to feel anything else.

I inhale; and I take in the sensations of the cold, cleansing, sweet smelling air, the crashing cry of thunder, and the constant pounding of my blood through my veins. It’s more than that though, I can feel the Earth moving around me, surging around me, flying around me.

I want to run, I want to cry, I want to sing. I want to experience everything, pleasant or otherwise. I want to feel while I still can. It’s never felt so good, or so terrifying to be alive.

Self Conversation

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You’re being angsty and edgy again mate.

For some reason, you sound like Togami.

Whatever. Would you prefer me to sound like Kaya? Or Daniel?

Do whatever the fuck you want. You’re my head, after all.

So what are you doing out here?

Like you said, being angsty and edgy.

Why are you being angsty and edgy though?

Why the hell would you care?

I am you. And I’m not sure if you know yourself.

I do. Somewhat.

Then enlighten me.

I can’t finish my IT.

…that’s it?

No. Of course not, otherwise I wouldn’t be breaking down, would I?

Fine then. What else is there?

The fact that I can’t finish anything I start.

You finished one thing.

That doesn’t count and you know it.

I see. So we’re discounting anything involving mass destruction?

…yes.

Very well.

My point is, I can barely finish the things that interest me, let alone things that don’t even peak that interest.

And?

It makes me feel bad about myself. Because I want to be able to finish, but I just feel so…unmotivated.

In other words, your depression decides to add a few pounds so that you can’t do shit.

Precisely.

Then again, that could just be you making excuses.

That is another thing. I’m probably just lazy, and I just blame it on the mental illness.

Then get over it. Stop hating yourself. Give yourself proof that you’re not a bad person. Actually work.

Oh, I get it. You can’t. There is something physically weighing you down. You just can’t tell if it’s just mental illness or laziness.

…yeah.

Well you’ve got to get over it. Your future lies in the balance. This shit is year 12, make or break year.

I want to be able to…

…but you don’t think you can?

No.

Why not?

Because I can’t finish anything, even if I set my mind to it. I don’t know what I want to do with my life, fuck, I don’t even know what my morals are!

Ohhhh, I see. It’s not just self hate. It’s guilt.

For some part.

Togami? Ash?

Yup.

I don’t know what you see in them. Togami’s a self absorbed prick and you’ve seen your other suitor. If one can call him that.

Togami appears to believe that I can get better. It’s not a relationship anyway. As for Ash…yeah, I can’t make excuses. He’s a sleaze bag.

So it’s Ash that you’re guilty about, not Togami.

Yeah. Everyone hates him.

Except for you.

I hate him too. Just not enough to stop seeing him.

Are you going to sleep with him again?

No.

Good. Now stick to it. Don’t let him seduce you with Sword Art Online.

Shaddup.

But that’s not it.

Of course it’s not.

Jeezus. It never stops, does it? What is it with being seventeen? Does something change suddenly that lures in hot dudes? Hehee. Cat Madigan 101: How to pick up hot dudes.

Oi.

Okay. Togami I’ll let you off the hook for. Ash, you’re kinda a bad person for. So what about candidate number three?

…he’s insanely intelligent, sweet and not condescending. And probably isn’t at all interested in me in that way.

…he asked you to the fucking movies. On fucking VALENTINES DAY.

…it’s Valentines Day on Saturday?

Argh….yes. And you’ve got a fucking date.

…he’s probably called it off. I’m a nutcase, as he’s now well aware.

Whatever…I know where this is going. ‘Why would he be interested in me? I’m insane, I’m ugly, I’m retarded. He’s going to lose interest in me eventually.’

Of course.

So what? You’re going to let a potential relationship slide out of your grasp?

Look, if he’s not interested in me, he’s not interested in me. And chances are, even if he is, he’ll eventually decide that I’m not worth the trouble.

If that’s the case, then what are you alive for?

Hmm?

You’re insane, ugly and retarded, as you pointed out. You’re lazy, because you’re not finishing the work you need to. And you’ll never be desirable to anyone because of those things. So why are you still alive?

…because I don’t have the guts to kill myself.

Oh, I see. So you’re just a waste of space, taking up everyone’s time and oxygen. You’re disgusting.

I hate myself.

As you should.

But…

What?

…I hate you more.

I hate you, the voice in my head that reminds me how horrible I am. You’re the one thing standing in the way of me living a normal life. You’ve always been there, clinging to me like a chain around my neck. I know what you are…

You are that miserable illness that’s been eating away at me since I was six. You just sit there and whisper things to me and feast on the pain it produces. I hate you far more than I’ll ever hate myself.

So kill me.

I can’t.

Of course you can. All you need is a bullet in the brain to take away the pain. Heh, I should be a poet.

No. I’m going to live.

No you’re not.

I am. I’m going to live so that every day for the rest of my life, I can tell you to go fuck yourself.

Everything you said was true.

No. Everything you said was true. It could happen. But then again, it might not. But I think I’ll stay around and find out.

You’re not going to survive me.

I will. I’m stronger than you. Look at what I survived already.

Give it up. I’m the one you should fear.

Pessimist’s Dilemma

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Today we’re going back to Reality. So shut up and listen.
______________________________________________________________________________

“Were there any problems on the way here?” Lolly asked.

I don’t pretend to misunderstand. “Nah, Mum and I didn’t talk much,” I said.

“Fair enough.” I walked into the office and barely stopped myself from flinching when I saw him in the chair.

“Hello.”

I grimaced at him before sitting down. “We’re not doing this again,” I said under my breath.

“What? I promise I’ll be good, every now and then.”

“So how was work?” Lolly questioned.

“It’s okay…” I said. “I’m not eating though.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah…I’ve just been stressing out about stuff the past week. I think that’s what’s been causing it.”

“How’d you figure that?”

“Well, my anxiety’s been acting up more recently, and that’s when I’ve had trouble eating. It’s probably connected.”

“Do you know how that works? Why people with anxiety start having trouble eating?”

“Actually no. How?”

“You know the ‘flight or fight response’?” Lolly questioned. “Well, when that happens, your body prepares itself to do one of those two. Meaning blood usually goes to the areas responsible for carrying out those actions.”

“Okay…so what?”

“When you’re anxious, your body automatically goes into ‘fight or flight mode’,” she explained. “And when that happens, hunger becomes less of a priority, so your body ignores and even repels that sensation, so that more focus goes into the ‘fight and flight response’.”

“I think I understand now,” I said. “It’s kind of like with exercising, how blood goes to the muscles which do the work. That’s also why your fingers are cold after running.”

“You see? It’s simple when you think about it,” Lolly explained. “Now, you’ve been stressing this past week. Why?”

Yayyy, the fun part. Daniel began making kissing sounds. Shush, you. “I’ve just been worried about work,” I told Lolly. “It’s just been me worrying about what’s going to happen if I screw up.”

“What exactly does ‘screw up’ mean?”

She always makes me explain this stuff. I elaborated. “If I don’t hand in stuff on time, it’s going to have more negative repercussions than if I don’t hand in stuff at school. It’s a magazine, deadlines have to be kept. See?”

“I understand. But that’s not going to happen if you think that that’s not going to happen.”

“Yeah, well, my mind doesn’t work that way.”

“Well, that’s one of the practises of CBT. You learn how to avoid thinking in such a way, and stop you from worrying.”

“I know…I want to think that way, but…”

“It doesn’t come easy, I know. Still.”

“…have you heard of the prisoners dilemma?” I asked Lolly.

“…no. What is it?”

“It’s just a philosophical exercise. Say there’s two prisoners. Apple and Banana.”

“Apple and Banana?” Daniel snorted.

“Roll with it,” I told him aloud. “They’ve committed a crime, and they’re both arrested and put into separate cells. There’s no way they can communicate with each other, so rule out that possibility. Anyway, a detective comes in and talks to both of them separately about their options.

“He says, ‘Listen here, even if neither of you confess, we’ve still got enough evidence to put you both away for two years. You’re going to jail no matter what. But we can make a deal. All we want is a confession, it doesn’t matter who from. If you rat out your partner, you’re only going to have to do one year in jail. Of course, that means that they’re going to have to serve fifteen years time. But if you don’t confess, and he does, then it’s you who is going to be stuck in jail for fifteen years, while he’s out after just one. Now, you’re probably thinking, what if we both confess? Well, I can knock some time off both your sentences for confessing, but you’ll still go to jail for confessing.’ Get all that?”

“…a little bit?” Lolly says weakly.

“I’ll draw a diagram,” I said. I took out some pens and made a little table on the whiteboard.

20141219-122747.jpg
“Easier now?”

“Yeah. So what’s that got to do with thinking positively?”

“Which solution would be the most optimistic outcome?”

“…that would be the one where you trust each other. You don’t have to live with the guilt of ratting out your partner, and you can spend two years in jail knowing that at least your trust in him wasn’t misplaced. Unless you’ve got no qualms about ratting out your partner.”

“Nah, you’re right. That’s the best situation, when you can trust eachother enough to stay silent. Now, which is the worst outcome?”

“…I’m starting to see what you’re getting at,” Lolly told me. “You’re saying that if you trust your partner, there’s a chance that they’ll rat you out, and you’ll have to be in jail for fifteen years. And that, for you at least, would be the worst outcome.”

“No, it’s the worst outcome period,” I insisted. “It’s fifteen years in a hellhole, and you’ll spend that time knowing that your partner was the one who sent you there.”

“You’re right. So what point are you trying to make?”

“I’ll adjust the graph a little bit.” I took the pens again and rubbed out a few words and added in new phrases.

20141219-125331.jpg
“When you look at the diagram, thinking negatively is a much safer option than thinking positively. Though it would be great to believe that everything is going to go right, when you look at the potential outcomes, it’s not the most rational choice,” I clarified. “Preparing yourself in case the bad luck does come about means that there’s fewer consequences.”

“How so? The bad luck has still happened. The same event has happened. How does already anticipating that it’s going to happen make it better?” Lolly questioned.

“Because you have time to prepare yourself,” I told her. “Things are easier to stand when you’re already anticipating them. In the Prisoners Dilemma, if you assume the worst case scenario, you’re at least going to have less negative repercussions than if you chose to believe in the best case scenario.”

“Do you really think that?”

“Yes,” I confirmed.

“Still, I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with thinking that the positive could happen.”

“I never said there was,” I said. “The Prisoner’s Dilemma isn’t about looking at just one side of the spectrum; you can assume that there’s an equal chance of something positive and something negative happening. It’s more about preparing yourself for the negative outcomes, not disregarding the chance of something positive coming about.”

“I’m curious about one thing,” Lolly said suddenly. “In the Prisoners Dilemma, you get the least amount of time if you think negatively and the positive happens. Does that relate to real life for you?”

“Yeah, I think so. I reckon good things are even better when you least expect them.”

“As opposed to expecting good things all the time?”

“Of course.”

“So that’s your outlook then,” Lolly fixed her glasses. “What are you really worried about here?”

“Huh?” This was such a change from the philosophical discussion we were just having that I had to rewind for a moment.

“I mean, what is this ‘bad luck’ that you are preparing yourself for?”

“Well, that I don’t hand in assignments on time.”

“Or are you afraid of what will happen if you don’t hand in assignments on time?”

“…yeah. That.”

“And what will happen?”

“…they’ll yell at me. Or fire me….mainly yelling.”

“What do you associate with yelling then?” Lolly questioned. “Why is it hard for you if someone yells?”

“…I don’t-”

“Because it means they’re angry,” Daniel interjected. “And you automatically think that it means that they’re angry with you.” I stared at him. “It’s true. You’re a people pleaser, Miss Madigan, and when people you care about to some degree are upset, you blame yourself.”

I looked up to see Lolly looking at me expectantly. “Sorry, I just blanked out a bit,” I said.

“Daniel’s there, isn’t he?” she said flatly.

“…yeah.”

“What was he saying?”

“…things considering my situation with yelling.”

“…which is?”

“…when people yell at me, it means they’re angry. Which means I’ve fucked up and made them that way,” I admitted. “It’s…completely stupid and I hate myself for it, but yeah. That’s what it feels like for me.”

Daniel smiled at me, and I was relieved to see no malice in his eyes. “Yeah…I learned that eventually. It’s not stupidity Cat. Personally I think it’s more of a habit you’ve developed.”

Doesn’t stop it from being ridiculous.

Lolly agreed with Daniel. “Cat, you’re only seventeen.”

“…yeah.” I cracked a smile. “Yet I’m meant to have my whole career mapped out by now, according to school.”

She laughed. “School is stupid.”

“Yeah. Little bit.”

“Will you be okay for the next two weeks?” she asked. “I mean, if something happens, you know what to do, right?”

“Yeah, we’ve been over this. Get backup and if that fails, call ART.”

“Also, I have something for you to look at,” Lolly added, handing me a document.

We talked for a bit longer before we all headed out to meet my mother. Daniel was quiet on the way home. He never talked in front of my mother. Finally, as we found the safety of my room, he broke his silence. “You lied.”

“…”

“Work isn’t what is worrying you. It’s him, isn’t it?” I looked at Daniel in silence. “You both agreed that you didn’t want to be in a relationship. Not unless you were sure it would work out.” I nodded once. “This, Cat Madigan, is not a good alternative. Especially for you.”

“Yeah, whereas it was perfectly fine with you.”

“I would’ve never hurt you. And you’re a liar if you say you believe otherwise.”

“I don’t expect anything from this,” I told him. “I’m not in the right place for a relationship, and I already know the negative repercussions of what might happen. I can take the risk.”

“You deserve better,” he said staunchly.

“Do you really believe that?”

“I do.”

Stress Relief

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Or to be more specific, boredom relief. But stress relief sounds better as a title.

You see, my Sunday’s total food intake was eight Mars bars, six Snickers bars and two strawberry Bulla bars. It was only after I had finished devouring that second chocolate covered strawberry flavoured deliciousness that I realised “Oh fuck, I’m going to turn into a ball of lard by February.”

So, I applied for a volunteer writing position at a magazine. It was just a local one, but it was that type of magazine where I could write about things that I enjoyed. Such as talking about my mental problems. Well, to an extent. Anyway, the interview went a lot more optimistically than I thought it would.

It was a colourful underground studio with murals covering the walls. As soon as I entered, I knew that my mind was going to be engaged for hours looking around at everything. Damn short attention span. More people came in and we started talking more about what the magazine was about.

Basically their main categories were Music, Art, Fashion, Theatre, Social Issues, Politics, Film, you know, that stuff that your parents discourage you from getting into when it comes to career choices, because it doesn’t pay as well as say medicine, or law, or business, or drug dealing. Luckily for me, the category I was interested in, social issues, had plenty of availabilities, though I could always write for other topics if I wanted. And I start on Monday next week. It’s pretty cool.

So for once, things are looking good.

Well, with the exception of my trust issues flaring up once again. They do that. Especially when it comes to strange humans.

Seriously, why do I let myself interact with the human race? What’s it with me and throbbing emotional pain that I find so addicting? And I’m getting better for fucks sake! Supposedly.

Sigh…

For those who can’t speak Cat Madiganese, after the interview, I remained behind with another strange human to wait for the managing human of the magazine to discuss stuff. After the managing human phoned in saying that they couldn’t come in today, the strange human asked if I wanted to go get lunch.

“I already ate,” I told him. “Plus I’m poor. Lunch with me would basically be me watching you eat food.”

“Okay. Do you want to come and watch me eat food then?”

“Um, okay. Why not?” I didn’t have shit to do that day. I already did a makeup thing in the morning and I didn’t have to be home till 4 in the afternoon. Not to mention if I was going to be working amongst strange humans, I might as well get used to them.

“So I take it from the interview that you write a bit about mental health stuff?” he asked.

“Um, yeah. It’s…just something that I’ve had to deal with a lot for the past few years. Usually I just use it in fiction and things like that, but yeah.”

“What sort of stuff do you write?”

“Well…pretty random things,” I admitted. “Mainly short stories at the moment. I like psychological, philosophical stuff. Things that make me think.”

“Cool, I did a lot of that stuff in uni,” he told me.

“I thought you said you did programming at Murdoch?”

“Oh yeah, but I helped around as a lab assistant for my friend, when he was working on his thesis.”

“What was he researching?”

“Well, basically his research was looking at if it was possible to change a person’s way of thinking using electrodes and stuff like that,” the strange human informed me.

“Oh yeah, I’ve heard about that stuff. Well, I mainly looked at the ways of thinking. You know CBT?”

“Yeah, cognitive behavioural therapy.”

“Yeah, I just had a look into it. My psych gave me a few pages on thinking patterns. It’s pretty cool. Only thing is I can now see all the bad ways my friends think.”

“Yeah…self diagnosing isn’t a good thing to do though.”

“Well…technically I’m doing it to other people…but yeah, I get your point.”

“Yeah, there’s just too many people going “Oh, I’ve diagnosed myself with schizophrenia or PTSD” or whatnot. I mean, sure, maybe that’s the problem, but if that is the case then maybe you should get it checked out by, say, someone who actually knows what they’re talking about?”

I thought of the girls at school who talked about struggling with depression before sniggering about someone who had scars on her arms. “Yeah, I get what you mean,” I said sadly.

“Really? Because I just looked back on what I said and thought “Wow, what an asshole.”

I laughed. “Nah, it’s okay. You’ve got a point, some people tend to make things like this become a trend. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s an actual illness nowadays. It’s the truth.”

“Yeah, well, I guess you’ve got a point.”

“Hey, you’re the one who said it.”

We entered the cafe, he offered me the comfy booth seat and ordered his lunch; deep friend squid, beer and cheesecake. “Want one?”

“Nah. I can have icecubes.” I slipped one in my mouth and crunched down on it.

“Oh yeah, that’s right, you’re what, sixteen?”

I stuck my tongue out at him. “Seventeen. And I don’t even like drinking anyway.”

“So you have drank?”

“Once in Europe on a cruise,” I confirmed. “But it tasted like crap.”

“You’ll probably change your mind at some point,” he said. “Everyone does. It usually comes with the knowledge that life is shit and that it’s nicer when you’re plastered.”

“Well, I’ll take your word for it. But yeah, based on everything that has happened these past few years, it’s probably better that I stay clean. I don’t wanna relapse.”

“Yeah, I guess you’ve got a point. Well, you’re smart enough to make your own decisions.”

I burst out laughing. “Yeah, no.”

“Well, you’re doing better than I did two years ago.” Strange Human took a sip of beer to prove his point.

Later on…

“Aww, why did I order cake?” Strange Human complained.

“Yeah…probably should’ve waited until you finished actual lunch before ordering dessert.”

“Hey, do I look like the sort of person that learns from life’s decisions?”

“Yeah, true.” I grinned at him cheekily.

“Hey!” He cracked up. “That’s not how this conversation’s meant to go. You were meant to reinforce the fact that I’m actually a good person and make me feel better about myself!”

“Yeah. I wanted to see your reaction though. Humans are funny.”

“Hey, you’re one of us. Get used to it.”

I shrugged.

“Now, do you want this cheesecake? It would be a shame for it to go to waste.”

“It’s okay, I’m fine for food.”

“Pleaaaaaase? Wait, let me sell you this cheesecake.” He held it up to his face and smiled seductively.

I covered my face with my hand. “Oh god, don’t,” I giggled. It didn’t help things that he looked like Byakuya Togami from Dangan Ronpa and actually could’ve passed as a cheesecake model. “C’mon! You’re taking advantage of the fact that I’m a complete idiot when it comes to laughing!”

“Everyone hates how they laugh,” he replied, still modelling with the cheesecake.

I groaned. “If I eat it, will you stop?”

“Yes please.”

“Fine.” He held out the spoon and I took it. “Meanie. Now my face is red.”

“Shush and eat.”

I stuck out my tongue.

Even later…

“Tell me something interesting about yourself.”

“…ummmmmmm.”

“C’mon. There’s gotta be something.”

“Weeeeeeeell, to be honest, most of the interesting stuff about me….also happens to be in the same sorta category as depressing stuff.”

“Oh…now I feel bad, can I give you a hug?”

“Yeah, okay.” He moved over to the booth seat and put his arm around me. Then he brought his beer over to my side of the table. “Was that just so that you could sit in the comfy seat?”

“What? Awww, I’m not that bad a human being!”

“Yeah, I know. Just teasing.”

“Meanie.” He elbowed me. Which resulted in an elbow off which lasted about ten minutes.

Finally….

“I need to go home,” I told him.

“Where do you go from here?”

“Oh, I just need to go to the bus station.”

“Cool, do you mind if I walk you? I need to go to the train station anyway.”

“Oh yeah, you live in Thornlie. Yeah…if you want.”

We paid the bill, well, he paid the bill, and we walked out. “I thought of something kinda sort of interesting,” I volunteered.

“Oh?”

“I made my ball dress for my school ball.”

“Oh nice! What does it look like?”

“I….uh….it’s…I dunno!”

“Well, I’ll probably understand the technical terms if that makes it easier.”

“Oh yeah, you’re a fashion photographer. Okay….yeah, it really doesn’t. I’m not good with…verbalising things.”

“Fair enough.”

“I’ve gotta pick it up on Monday anyway. Chances are you’ll end up seeing it anyway.”

“Cat!” A girl’s voice called out.

I waved back. “Hey Elle!”

“Hi random human!” Togami called back. I cracked up. “Who’s she?”

“Oh, she’s a friend of mine. She’s pretty nice. Her boyfriend doesn’t like me though. Not that I care.”

“Oh? Is he an ex?”

“God no.”

“Then what is he?”

“Oh, just someone who slept with my ex.”

“You’re a lesbian?”

“Nope,” I replied. He thought for a moment. “Think it through.”

“Ohhhhhhh.”

At bus stop…

“So you’re starting Monday?” Togami asked.

“Yup. Monday Wednesday and Friday, till I get assigned.”

“Well I’ll see you then.” He gave me a hug and let go. He frowned at me. “Are you single by any chance?”

“Um, yeah.” I looked down. “For a pretty good reason too. Because I’m mad.”

Togami looked at me for a moment before leaning in and kissing me on the cheek. “It was nice meeting you,” he told me.

“…thanks. You too.” I stepped onto the bus. “I’ll see you Monday,” I told him. He waved and started walking to the train station.

So that was the cause of my anxiety flare up. Because the only reason I could see a human showing interest in me in that manner was because they were Ted Bundy and they were going to rape and torture me. Or sell me into human trafficking. Or something BAD.

Goddammit.

What It Feels Like To Die On The Inside

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Maybe the monsters who lived under my bed when I was a kid managed to find a way inside my head instead. Maybe that’s what caused everything to go downhill.

You know what sucks? I’m not even trying anymore. I just don’t see the point in trying, when nothing I do is ever going to be good enough for anybody.

I wonder what it’s like to not feel worthless. To actually feel like there’s a reason for you to wake up tomorrow. Did I feel like that once? I can’t remember it now. Why do I have to feel like I want to jump off a cliff when anyone else my age is growing up, falling in love and shit like that? Everyone is moving on with their lives, while I’m stuck in this dark hole that I can’t climb out of.

Tonight, my parents were yelling at me, telling me how stupid I was, for not completing another one of my assignments, when suddenly, I lost it. I remember lifting up my plate and smashing it down on the table. Silence. I hope you’re happy, Dad said. Do you honestly think I did that to be happy?

By this point I’ve probably forgotten exactly what that is.

I think the thing I’d like the most is to know where the hell my life is heading. To know for sure that things are going to get better. Because even though everyone is telling me that, I can’t believe it. Because people say a lot of things, that doesn’t mean you should believe them. But when I don’t believe what they tell me, they get sad. And I hate myself for it; I wish I could believe them, I want to believe them, I really do. But I can’t. Not when everything else in the universe is telling me otherwise.

I’m such a fucking hypocrite. I tell everyone not to worry about me, that I’m perfectly fine. I even laugh to try and convince you that this is the case. But deep down, I’m hoping that you’ll see how I’m about to burst on the inside and how I’m silently screaming for help, and make it all better.

Because I’m falling apart, and I can see every piece of me hitting the ground and shattering around me. And it’s killing me.