don’t slap that fish.

cw: mental illness, intrusive thoughts, suicide.

Writing about mental health isn’t necessarily a pleasant process. Usually, there are giant tears rolling down my cheeks as I type about the struggles mental illness comes with. There are people in my life who really don’t like it. They won’t say it in so many words but they tell me by asking me why I do it. Why do I pour my tears onto a page? Because I’m compelled to. I need to write out the struggles so they leave my mind a little breathing room.

The other problem is I’m too blunt. Bluntness can be a dagger just waiting to slice. I don’t mean it to be that way. I just don’t know how to fluff up the information. I’m also at a stage where I’m tired of wading through other people’s crap just to make them feel comfortable when I feel incredibly not. People don’t like that very much.

Talk about the fish! Okay fine, the fish.

I’ve been to Pike Place Market enough times to know that they throw fish there. They make the fish talk and do silly things with them. My first instinct was to walk up to one of those fish and slap it. Straight across its dead little face. For no reason whatsoever. You see, intrusive thoughts are the weirdest little neuron firings. Where the fuck did that come from? I never wanted to slap a fish until I saw them being thrown across a marketplace, I guess.

Intrusive thoughts have confused the fuck out of me since I was little. They weren’t always violent. I was about 7 years old when they started to tell me to jump off things, to harm myself. The anxiety was a way of preserving myself. The anxiety mixed with depression was the recipe for coming up with a plan. How many plans have I had? Too many. How many plans have I told other people? One.

The thing about having chronic anxiety and depression is it’s chronic. I’ve had both for as long as I can remember. I have them because I’m neurodivergent. The answer is simple. Blunt. I developed both as a coping mechanism for being different. I’ve spent the last few years untangling all the mixed wires in my brain to show myself that life doesn’t have to be so loud. I don’t have to slap the fish.

Saying that one plan out loud was enough to seek treatment and finally realize what life is like without either sitting on my shoulders. I don’t have to hate myself. I don’t have to be angry all the time. I still get intrusive thoughts but I know what they are now. They are absurd neurons firing in my brain and not violent little fact nuggets infecting my thoughts and feelings.

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