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. 

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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.

The Moment When My Mind Is Free

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Internet’s out again. Anyhoo….enjoy my quick update on my state of mind in Reality, which actually isn’t too bad at the moment.
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As soon as I entered my room I burst into tears. Then I saw Daniel standing at the head of my bed. “Daniel,” I croaked. I had no idea whether or not he could hear me or not, but I was at the point where I no longer cared. “I’m done with Reality,” I told him. My legs buckled under me, and part of me hoped that my head would hit the edge of my bed, and the blow would knock me out permanently.

Daniel caught me before that would happen though. He said something that I couldn’t hear and lifted me up. “I can’t hear you,” I sobbed, as he placed me on my bed. A second later, he was lying beside me, gripping me tight against his chest. “Not only do I feel like I’m dying on the inside, but I’m losing you too.” I gasped for air, trying to stay in control, and failing miserably. I don’t know whether or not he was speaking at all, but he was holding me tightly in his arms and that’s all I cared about. “Don’t leave,” I pleaded. “Don’t leave me alone with my madness…please…”

I felt his mouth graze my temple, and his hand rested on my head. I awoke several times that night with headaches which weighed a tonne and emotions that wouldn’t stop spinning, and Daniel, no matter how many times I lied and said I was fine so that he could go home, was always there. I remember that when I was crying myself to sleep, I was apologising to him again and again. I was so sorry for being a nutcase.
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Then I woke up feeling better.

But I knew I couldn’t take those pills again.

So I didn’t take them. Mum was angry, but I didn’t care, I was too numb to. I had experienced three days of utter misery in a row and I didn’t want to spend any more like that. Not even if it stopped my horrible emotions, not even if it managed to stop Delirium. For fucks sake, they weren’t even for Delirium, how could they be when I hadn’t even told mum about it? They were for depression, but all they did was store everything inside until it would all bubble over and HURT LIKE FUCKING HELL.

School was still distracting. My head was still fuzzy and I couldn’t think when it came to creative subjects like Lit and Textiles. Some deluded part of me thought that maybe the ‘medication’ was a trick, a conspiracy in to rid me of my creative powers. I quickly laughed it off though. It would soon return, my imagination, I hoped. If not, I would smash the bottle of pills in Mum’s face.

Maths was good. I had been moved down from 3A/B to 2C/D and we were doing the work that we were working on in 3A/B, only it was far easier to understand. For the first time in forever, I got through my work. In my head, I was thinking I can actually do this. I’m intelligent!….well, I wouldn’t go that far, but I’m getting it!

I was only vaguely aware of a low, familiar chuckle from behind me, and it took me two periods later to realise what exactly it meant.

I went straight to the library at lunch, and I entered the little corner room to find him. “I heard you,” I panted. “I can hear you….can I?”

Daniel hesitated. “I hope so,” he said finally.

“Oh thank god.” I threw my arms around him and just laughed for pure relief. I had this huge, stupid smile on my face and when I saw Daniel’s look of amusement, I felt slightly sheepish. “I’m sorry I’m an idiot. Last night I was probably incredibly emotionally unstable-yes, even more than usual,” I told him, making him laugh. “I thought that you were fading and that you were going to vanish, and I was scared because I thought I was going mad in my head- well, that’s not so different- but I was afraid I’d never see you again and-”

“Shhhh,” Daniel told me, before he kissed me. To my surprise, there were tears running down his face.

“Don’t cry,” I murmured after a while. “Only I cry. I’m the crybaby out of us two.”

“I’m allowed to cry, I’m a big boy,” he replied. “And I love you.”

…wait, what?

I looked back at him, eyes wide. Boys had said this to me before; Podge had, and one bad relationship years ago had also used that phrase as a way to try and coax me into unwanted activities. I believed Podge’s one though, even though I knew deep down that eventually he’d change his mind and move onto someone else. Daniel wasn’t like that, but still…

Not for the first time, I felt that rush of fear you get deep inside you, telling you that one day, the person you cared about the most would decide that he was wrong about you and leave alone in the world with nothing but a shattered heart and an ego beyond repair.

Damn anxiety.

“I…really can’t imagine why,” I finally replied weakly.

“You’ll figure it out,” he said cheerfully. “One day.”

And then my friends came in and we had to shut up.
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I had a Youth Reference Group meeting that evening, and after hanging out with Flash, Slenderman and Lady Delamore for an hour or two, I got on the train and headed there. That was where I learnt about the training session that Black Dog Institute would be holding.

It was training to become a Youth Presenter. Basically, if I got the job, I would go out to schools and talk about depression and anxiety. Initially, I decided that as someone with an aversion to speaking in front of people, I’d have to give it a pass.

However, as the meeting went on, I found myself more and more opinionated about things. We were discussing the idea of using a new statement to use for the logo.

“I don’t like this one,” I said flatly.

“How so?”

Where depression and youth suicide stops. It sounds too…authoritative.”

“It is what the organisation aims to do though,” the group coordinator pointed out.

“Maybe so, but it sounds like…like they want to eradicate it. I mean…” I inhaled. “To me, it sounds like that if I went there, they wouldn’t be so much helping me with my problems as much as…forcing me to stop feeling this way. It’s as if they’re telling me outright that how I’m feeling is a bad thing, and because of that, I’d feel reluctant to go there, if all they’re going to do is tell me that.”

“It does make you feel a bit ashamed,” Miss J agreed. She was a blonde twenty four year old woman who looked a lot younger than twenty four. “In fact, it nearly reminds me of those church groups that go around attacking homosexuality. I immediately feel as if I’m going to be attacked for feeling like this.”

We discussed it further, and before I knew it, the meeting was over. Miss J, on the way out, told me that I did well.

I thought about the training a bit more on the way home. Talking in front of people, after that meeting, didn’t seem so bad. I figured that although I suffered when it came to reading out lectures in class, my aversion to speaking aloud didn’t apply to things that I cared about. I could hold my own in an argument, providing that I was deeply interested and engaged in the topic at hand. And telling people my story, and how, no matter how bad things get, or how many mistakes you make, you could still rise above everything and keep moving, felt like something I really wanted to do.

That’s what I want to do in Reality, providing that Delirium doesn’t kill me. I want to learn how to help people through invisible illnesses that no one else can see. I want to teach people that depression and anxiety can’t be fixed instantly with a pill or a shot, and that the best thing that someone can do for someone feeling like this is to listen, and to let them know that you’re there. There’s so many things I want to be able to say. Maybe this training will be a good start for me.

I know I have my own demons. I know that I have days where I can barely function because of them. But I understand now that this doesn’t make me the psychotic freak that my family makes me out to be. And just because they can’t accept that I’m not like them doesn’t mean that everyone else is the same. Some may even understand, there are already ones who do.

Maybe I can never get rid of it, this mad world in my head. Maybe my demons will be with me for the rest of my life. Then again, if I lost them, I’d lose my only angel too.

My goal is not to get rid of Delirium. If it ends, so be it. But I intend to make my way through both of these mad, twisted worlds, and be able to smile at the demons and hypocrites within.

One day I’ll get there. And none of you can tell me that I can’t.

Kaya and Cat?

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Why does Reality hurt me more than Delirium?

It seems like a simple matter of logic. Delirium doesn’t actually hurt me in Reality, where I receive comfort from my friends and ‘family’. Whereas if I’m hurt in Reality, I receive little comfort in Delirium, if any at all. Daniel…for some reason Daniel doesn’t really count as something from Delirium. He’s closer to human than…them. But at the same time, he’s not from Reality either; I am the only one who sees him.

So yesterday, Flash broke up with me.

He said he was always worrying about me, and that left little room for romantic feelings.

In other words, he couldn’t handle my Delirium.

And I don’t blame him.

It’s just I feel like whatever hope that I had is now gone. Before, I had a firm idea of who I would hurt if I had gone. Now I’m not so sure.

But when he did so, it unintentionally brought to light something in myself that I had probably been aware of for some time, but had never put together the pieces.

There’s reasons why there are times I can’t remember things. Why there are sometimes blank places in my memory.

And yesterday, Papa Willis, Smith and Chase had the not so pleasurable experience of meeting her.

And when I say her, I mean her.

I may have another personality. I can feel her now, in the back of my mind. She’s not always there though, but I know when she is. She talks to me like Daniel does, only I can’t see her. Why I am only connecting the dots now is a mystery to me, but it makes sense. Somewhat.

Sometimes when I went into Delirium, I reawoke to find myself in a completely different place, and I had little memory of doing anything. Say school for example. Now I think about it, it happened whenever I was feeling scared or vulnerable or hurt. When something bad happened in Reality, I’d go into Delirium.

But someone had to protect my body.

And that’s Kaya.

Kaya had a talk to Chase yesterday. I don’t know everything they talked about, but I’m working on it. To respect him, I’m not going to say stuff on here. He’s a good person.

So I had gone into Delirium, and I was extremely reluctant to come back to Reality.

Of course, Delirium is not so much better than Reality. I did a lot of running. Fire hurts a lot.

Water is strange in Delirium. You can cup it in your hand and blow it away like a cloud of dust. It’s somewhat peaceful to do that.

Then I heard a voice. One I didn’t think I’d hear again.

And I yelled at her. She was meant to be dead, I saw her die. And she wanted me to come back to Reality.

After a big fight, she agreed to leave me alone.

When I calmed down, I didn’t come back completely. I just snoozed a little, and then I realised my body was still active.

“Kaya!” I yelled.

It feels weird, feeling your body move and yet have no control over what’s happening. It’s as if you’re in someone else’s head, wearing their skin.

Speaking of skin…there were bite marks on my hands, scratches too. “Kaya…”

So now you want to return. Make up your mind.

“Let me back. Now.”

She smiled. Well, I smiled. It’s weird, okay?! And I came back.

And Kaya had gone.

She later came back and explained to me little things, basics of the conversation with Chase. Essentially, I figured Kaya wasn’t always in my head, but whenever I was in pain/feeling vulnerable/hurt in any way/etc, she’d take control of my body should I choose to spend too much time in Delirium.

So in a way, Delirium is a safe zone, for a lack of a better term. Or a reflex mechanism or some shit. And Kaya protects me in Reality when I go to Delirium.

Only trouble is, Delirium doesn’t come with its own protection, or reflex. I can’t always escape the pain there.

Kaya has firmly stated that she only controls me in very rare cases, but I’m still very wary. Kaya, from what I’ve heard from Daniel, and the reluctant witnesses in Reality, is very angry. Well, she can get very angry. So I worry about when she does control me, and what she says.

It’s uncomfortable having her in my head. It’s like a dull ache, one which I can’t get out with Panadol, or binge drinking on tea.

For the record, it’s irritating for me as well. I feel like I’m wearing itchy clothing.

There’s clothing in Delirium?

Of course there is, silly girl.

She’s not there much though. Now I can conclude that whenever I get headaches that don’t go away, it’s simply her. Why she refused to say anything till now, I don’t know. While it’s still on my mind, I need to test a theory I have. Next time she’s in my head, I’ll hit it against a wall to see if she goes.

I wonder if Daniel knew about this…

….fuck you brain.