Sometimes I want nothing more than to escape this body I am trapped in. Like Superman ripping open his shirt revealing his costume underneath, I too want to rip my body open by the chest, step out, kick this exterior aside, and feel free and unencumbered. When the triggers are there and the meltdown is happening, I feel the emotional pain all over. My muscles tense and seize up within me. I feel like uncontained water and want nothing more than to feel held, compressed. My heart doesn’t just hurt, my entire chest hurts. My skin feels like it is crawling and there is this unbearable cry for relief. If it were just physical pain, I would take it, I would understand it. But it’s not. It’s this invisible pain that doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand why it has seized my body and entire being and there is no escape. Many times I have chosen physical pain at the end of the razor instead of enduring whatever this is. That pain is easier. That pain is bearable. I have hit myself, scratched myself, burned myself, and cut myself. All for relief. All for escape. Those I confided in for help told me I was sinful, outside of God’s will, crazy, manipulative, making bad choices, evil. I felt guilt, shame, and beat myself up for acting against God. But I was self-medicating. I was self-medicating things I had no idea that was happening to me or that was different from other people. Recognizing the truth behind it and the story in whole has lifted a burden of self-shaming from my shoulders. And although I know that’s not what God wants from me and I’ve witnessed firsthand the improvement in the quality of my life from eliminating those self-injurious behaviors, in those moments, it’s hard to not opt out of the invisible pain by choosing the bearable physical one. In those moments, I want anything—anything—for relief. Even apart from the meltdowns, I long for an escape. I was unexpectedly wrenched out of my happy, safe world and thrown into a dark and cold one bringing in tow a burden of confusion, injustice, and loss. While everyone gets to continue with their life, I am constantly faced with triggers lurching me back. I don’t want this. I don’t want these triggers and to be in this unfriendly world. But I am held captive by living expenses, social pressures, education investments, healthcare, and a plethora of other sensibilities restraining me from walking out and being free of the triggers that hound and plague me. This world is too hard to be fully present in. From the sudden change and following heartache, my threshold is low. Apart from triggers, even the external is unbearable. Light, noises, my clothing rubbing, a vent blowing, I want away from it all. My own skin becomes a foe, my own brain, an instigator. When this world is away, I am fine. When it is out of my thoughts, analysis, and external senses, life is ok. I detach myself from everything. Even joy I don’t want to feel. I want this world to become nothing to me, and me to become nothing to it. For when there is nothing, there is no pain, no overpowering desire for relief of the unresolved, no crippling confusion, no heartaches, no reminders, no triggers, no meltdowns. Nothing. I avoid people, events, engaging. I retreat whenever I can to nothingness, to an enclosed, dark space where I control my stimuli and surroundings. And in this unbearable world, that is how I am happy, that is how I survive. There is a very select few who have permission to pull me out of this space within me. The select close friends who I go to for relief, for help. But apart from that, no one else is allowed. If others were to force me, I’d pull back even more, resist and retreat deeper. For this is my solitude. This is my safety. This isn’t my wish to be like this, this is my survival. This last shift was a bad one, rocking my very core, changing my external environment, workplace, and people I relied on. I am beyond overwhelmed, exhausted, and just want relief—an escape from all of this. But somewhere along the line, somewhere out in the deep distance, somewhere far beyond what I could possibly hope to grasp right now is partaking in the world again, desiring to engage again, being joyful again, and loving again. I just need myself to be numb a while so my heart can rest, my body can regain its strength, and the triggers and memories can fade so I can truly move forward as the rest of the world seems to so easily and seamlessly.