You Sounded Just Like Him.

Today my mother said I sounded just like him when I said something. She doesn’t know what you did so had no reason to understand that hearing it would hurt, but that doesn’t change the reaction in my mind.

In that moment all that I wanted to do was reach into my skin and dig around till I found a vein, then pull it and watch as the lattice of connected blood vessels rose to the surface only to tear and spill the fluid that had been keeping me alive.

I wanted to reach into my chest and pull out my lungs, squeezing them until every last puff of air had left then watch my body slowly shut down step by step as it ran out of oxygen.

I wanted to pull apart the atoms in my every cell, leaving no bonds unbroken so that I could never be anything like him ever again.

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Processing.

My CPU is running at 110% of the natural capacity, never dropping back into the range of its natural capability and it’s threatening to burn out. Constantly humming as it runs through calculations of possible future, past and present perceptions of the world. The better ones are always there just out of reach, mocking reality through the harsh glass of recent events. The reflections of the past glaring at me covering what could have been in a sinister haze of what can never be.

This is all done in the background, to the observer there is nothing going on, no visible windows just the deafening sound of the processor running overtime. If this continues immolation will be inevitable, the candle is being burned on both ends and there is no wind that can extinguish it.

Power.

You’ve given me a type of power I don’t want. I’ve had this power before and acted on it – one of the worst decisions of my life. You gave me the power to turn around at any point I choose and destroy everything for you. Ironic, because when you did it I felt powerless to do anything even though the only thing I wanted to do in that moment was punch until the squirming stopped. And that scared me. That’s why I just laid there letting it happen. Because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to stop if I did anything to protect myself.

Now I’m afraid too, I’m afraid that I’ll use the power you gave me and I’ll go too far with it, leaving you with nothing. I’m actually considering doing that now even though I swore I’d never do something like that again. But now you made me want to and gave me the means with which to do it. Should I get the authorities involved or should I keep this on an interpersonal scale? That’s up to you. It depends on a few factors and answers that you give. It depends on how you react when I confront you about it. It depends on how much you deserve it. Some would be far less lenient than I have but I suppose that doesn’t matter because it’s not them you did it to. And now I have to decide. I have to make one of the most nerve wracking decisions in my life. The ball is in my court here and it’s coming down to the wire.

So, what would you do?

Questions.

Why did he do it?

That is something only he can know and I suspect that he currently hasn’t thought about it enough to know.

Does he know that I am aware?

Doubtful. He probably thinks he got away with it. No harm done, nobody affected. But even so I lay awake at night unable to sleep, not feeling comfortable with the thought of being in my own bed.

Is this the first time?

I bloody well hope so. I don’t even want to think about him having done that before. It makes my skin crawl. Especially since he’s seen how people are damaged by this sort of thing.

Would he do it again?

I’m not sure, I think if he doesn’t see some form of repercussion he might, but if he sees how it has impacted me then he’d never dream of it.

Does he understand why it’s wrong?

I’m not sure that he does. Of course, that doesn’t change what he did and it doesn’t make it any better – but at least I’ll understand why if he didn’t realise that’s what he was doing.

Should I confront him or leave it in the past?

If I sweep this under the rug and act like nothing happened I won’t be able to deal with it – I’ll go insane or have to cut ties with everyone I know. They all associate my presence with his. If one of us is there then the other likely isn’t far behind. I can’t keep that up. Not now.

What’s the next step?

It can’t be the police – this is something that needs to be solved via interpersonal means. Something which I’ve never been good at, and he can barely grasp the basics of it. I’ll need to talk to someone who has been in a similar situation before.

Who can I talk to about it?

I could talk to a professional but that would mean there is some form of permanent record of it. I don’t think his intent at the time would justify something that damages his future to that degree. Perhaps a friend that I can trust? No, even now I can’t do that to him – I can’t turn his already small friend group against him, especially not now that he’s closed the circle. It would leave him with nothing. There it is again, my unrelenting sense of loyalty biting me in the as even through this shit. Am I that person who just rolls over and takes the hit because I can’t bring myself to bring the appropriate justice to course?

How do I confront him?

That’s a heavy question. I don’t even know where to start or if he will understand without just locking everything out and becoming defensive. I imagine he’ll just brush it off as something he didn’t think about at the time but that doesn’t justify his actions, it points out a much larger flaw in character. One that I’ve tried to fix for years but he never quite gets the point.

How do I sleep at night now?

The one person I thought I could trust with anything, the only person for which my sense of loyalty had never wavered and he does that? While he thought I was asleep, too. He was going to just hide it from me and continue like nothing had happened. Is that all he thinks of me? I often just lay there for hours at a time thinking about it, trying not to vomit out of disgust at the notion. Usually I give up trying to sleep at about 3AM and start the day early, drained of energy with no drive to keep going and get things done, too tired to function.

Can I ever go back to how things were before?

I have no idea how to even begin.

Cold Sweats.

Some nights I wake up in cold sweats, my pillow soaked and my skin clammy. If I’m laying on my back there’ll be a small pool of sweat in the center of my chest. I’ve tried everything – medicated antiperspirants, sleeping with a fan on and the windows open, sleeping without a duvet. None of it works. I just wish I could leave this body and be done with it, no more flipping over the pillow half way through the night because the side I’m using is damp. No more showers in the middle of the night to wash away the sweat. But unfortunately that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

Worrying.

Sometimes it’s good to worry about things; it can help us come to terms with potential future events, plan for eventualities, find motivation, discover a way to avoid negative events or even consider different perspectives.

Sometimes it’s bad for us to worry; we sit paralysed by fear that we won’t be able to do what we want, we break down in tears because we can’t take the thought of what could be around the corner, we remain silent when there are things that need to be said because we are scared of what might come of them.

Worrying is neither an inherently good nor bad thing, it’s what we worry about that makes the difference. Someone close to me has recently been worrying a lot about something she cannot change the result of; this is the bad kind of worrying, she has no control and no way to reduce the perceived need to worry. She has panic attacks when she has to get out of her car because of it and can’t sleep at night because her mind is screaming at her in fear. This is not a healthy process, all it can achieve is suffering and fear. Once you realise that it becomes much easier to deal with issues in other ways or just stop worrying about them once you’ve reached a point where you can gain nothing from doing so.

I’ve spoken to her about this and my thoughts on the matter seem to have helped a lot, rather than just worrying she’s decided to get professional advice on how to deal with the thing she has been worried about. This is where worry becomes healthy, when it leads to taking steps towards fixing things or contingency plans.

Passion.

I remember a time when I used to be full of passion, always motivated. A burning force that drove me to do everything I ever wanted or needed to do. A passion so strong that it felt like if I wasn’t working towards something I was choking, strangled by my own zeal.

But that’s the thing about choking, eventually you will inevitably stop fighting and embrace it. Even just for a short time, and when you’re choking you lose the strength to go back to breathing. The vehemence and desire to be something more was the first thing to die, without oxygen the fires of passion stopped burning and began to smoulder. No longer could it drive me forwards.

When you’re choking someone your muscles eventually fatigue and lose the power that let you grip their throat. Your hold on them wanes until you no longer put any pressure on them. Your hand just stays there; a distant reminder of what you once could do, and then it falls away. Never again to reach up and grab them.

That’s what happened to my passion. I let it burn too strong for too long until one day it had consumed me, leaving nothing but ash. Now when I think of things I want or need to do I don’t feel anything driving me to do them, I just leave them be out of habit. The fuel is there but the spark of life has gone, like a car with a full tank of gas but a dead battery and a faulty alternator. Sure, you can jump start it for a short burst of motion but that doesn’t fix the underlying issue. Nothing to keep that battery charged, no power to keep that spark alive. Completely useless without someone that has some energy to spare, and even then the moment it stops I’m back to square one but with a bit less fuel than before.