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  1. Summary: Rant, & does anyone else feel like they're wasting their life? (warning, it's a downer so don't read if you're not in the mindset for that sort of thing.) The last day of my freshmen year of college a friend I'd met during welcome week (and who shared most of my classes with me thereafter) asked me something in passing: "What was your favorite part of the year?" The answer came to me immediately, but I paused for a minute. There was that familiar fear of sounding too sad, the fear of being seen as "whiny", or an "attention seeker", of being "found out", of seeming like a downer. But I was OK this time, I thought, I'd always been "happy" around this friend, I didn't confide in him. I didn't really confide in anyone, for that matter, but I knew I hadn't let too much "slip" around this guy. "Honestly, I can't think of one." I was so miserable, every day. I didn't say that last part. I thought of that moment on my 20th birthday, sitting in my therapist's office. I cried the entire hour - I never cry, and I certainly had never cried in front of her before. Every time someone said "Happy birthday, ___!" It felt like someone was asking me all over again, "What was your favorite part of the good life, huh?" And I had the same answer. "Honestly I can't think of one. I was so miserable, every day." That was a really hard time. Usually I just float, I don't let myself get that existential. I unfollowed all my old friends on instagram, I avoid weekend updates on facebook, I don't watch snapchat stories - I can't stand being reminded of what life should be like. I don't think about it. I just sit in my room all day, deaf and blind to everyone around me growing, learning, experiencing life, making memories, and try to numb everything going on inside. My mind is so overwhelmingly blank most days, and my feelings so powerful, I don't have the time or energy to feel jealous or mourn my losses. But that day, I looked back at twenty years and I saw so much loss. I saw myself in fourth grade: ears pink, face flushed, eyes watering, throat dry, heart racing at every social interaction. I saw myself in eighth grade: laying in bed all day, refusing to speak to anyone, sick to my stomach for months at a time. I saw myself freshman year of high school: isolated, embarrassed, aimless, praying to God that I would wake up and be the only person in the whole world so that I could stop having to pretend, stop having to feel so much of what everyone around me did, drowning in empathy, low self-esteem and anxiety. I saw myself at high school graduation: relieved, scared, excited, going into a field I knew I hated because at least, maybe, if I could get the degree (yeah, right) I might be useful to somebody (yeah, right). Half my youth, gone. My entire childhood, lost. No real boyfriends, no first loves, no group of childhood friends, no hobbies, no talents, no longterm jobs (so much anxiety), no personal development: twenty years of exhaustion, of enduring life as it came, of pretending, of trying to please everyone, hoping that someday somebody, or something, would save me. My whole life behind closed doors, my whole life on mute - outside, so far outside, looking in at a foreign movie with the subtitles turned off. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say I've spent more time alone in my room than anywhere else. Is this how it's always going to be? Will I look back at the end and see more of the same abyss? God, I hope not. Does anyone else struggle with this? Feeling like you're wasting your life? Time that you'll never get back to pursue a skill, better your emotional and social intelligence, to do things in your youth that might never again be socially, legally, financially or physically possible? I guess it feels a lot like getting left behind. For me, it was like the fast forward button got hit the day that first wave of anxiety hit, and then everything paused with depression. Everybody else is so much better at being human than me, it feels like. Sometimes people talk to me and I run out of generic responses and I just stop, a deer in headlights, and we're left staring at each other in a blackhole of silence. My head is white static. I'm always struggling to figure out what to say to people, how to respond, always with one word answers or short, close-ended comments. I never learned how to carry a conversation, never learned how to talk about my feelings or express myself, I never learned who I was as a person outside of depressed, numb, scared. At this point, I don't even know if it's possible to rehabilitate: If I'll ever be able to be in a relationship, friendship, community. If I'll ever be able to live inside of me, whoever that is, instead of a daze a million miles away. It's not that I don't have anyone who tried to teach me, had a really bad childhood or anything like that. I have family who loves me, who checks up on me and is accepting. I have opportunities to go out, make friends, meet people. I just can't. I have no energy, I have nothing to talk about, I feel so overwhelmed and crowded by people. Every option seems like the wrong one, and I'm so anxious all the time. I have an identical twin sister who didn't go through any of this: who's bright and smart and energetic, who loves people and life, who has an amazing job, studying what she's passionate about, has a string of handsome and engaging boyfriends, a group of incredible friends, who is beautiful and charismatic and loved. I don't know how I got here. I have no clue how I got to this point, or where the last two decades have gone. Anyways, sorry for the length. Please, if anyone else feels like this, tell me your story. I don't want to feel alone in this anymore.
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