Shadow of My Heart

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short story that explores the mind of a young adult who finds love, but who is consumed my the mind of depression and anxiety.

Submitted: September 24, 2015

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Submitted: September 24, 2015



I’m not saying that everything was perfect, but everything was definitely better. Why? Because of him. Plain and simple. He was my rock.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, great. Another cheesy love story.” However, that isn’t the case here. It’s a love story, but it isn’t cheesy.

I grew up being told that love was the answer to everything. But if love is the answer, then can you rephrase the question? I heard a comedian say that once. And I thought it was a great saying. Because I simply don’t get how love could be something so amazing, yet something that tears my heart in half. I don’t quite know the cause of love. Gravity can’t be why people fall in love. Love is something so deep that I still don’t quite understand. But all I know is that I love him.

And there was always this one place that he could always touch me to make me feel really good. My heart.

See I didn’t want to be physically touched. I needed order in my life and grew up being told I could be a little too “controlling.” But I didn’t mind when he held my hand. And I would squeeze his hand three times every time it grasped mine. And he never questioned it. I don’t know if he ever noticed it. But I knew. It was something I had to do. If I didn’t, then I would start to feel anxious. I was always feeling anxious.

I met him on a Thursday. I know it was a Thursday because I tapped my right foot on the floor seven times before talking to him. And I knew from the moment I saw him that I wanted to talk to him. My mind was dragging me towards him. Gravitating me towards his charm. But I couldn’t just go and shake his hand or anything. When people would do that, I would become very anxious. I didn’t like physical contact. I didn’t like sharing the germs. I never really liked the touch of someone else’s body touching mine. I hated everything from bumping into people’s shoulders, to being expected to hug someone hello, to having someone try and give me a high five.

But I didn’t have to worry about that with him. Because he didn’t touch me. In fact, he didn’t talk to me much at all. But I asked him out. On a Thursday. It had to have been a Thursday, because we met on a Thursday, so that was the only thing that would have made sense. And he said yes. And we went out.

And I uncomfortably sat as far away as possible. At least that’s what my brain was telling me to do. But as the moths went on, he dragged me in and my brain was intoxicated by the sound of his voice. By the way that he laughed. By the way that his eyes cringed when he smiled and his eyes lit up as the happiness spread. And I got more and more intoxicated the longer I was with him. And soon I wasn’t scared for his touch. Because his touch made me feel whole. And in all those moments when I would panic and break down, the moment his arms wrapped around mine, all of the voices would disappear. The only voice that mattered to me was his.

I was always scared to get close to someone. My dad used to tell me that I always pushed people away. Because I was… different. I had to have things be exact, and I couldn’t have someone touch me, and I needed to be told I was important a million times a day to just deny it and not feel important all over again.

Depression hit me hard. Like a brick. It knocked me out. He took all of the bricks of my broken mind and built me back up. He made me feel whole again. He was the missing piece I needed.

But as great as things were, my anxiety kept getting the best of me. I couldn’t believe that he truly liked me. I couldn’t believe that he told me he loved me. And meant it. I couldn’t believe how I was never able to be alone with him, because the screaming voices in my head wouldn’t leave me alone. But most of all, I couldn’t believe that he would stay mine.

That’s what happens when your mind overcomes your judgment.

See, I always had this problem. I would get upset when things didn’t happen right away, right how I wanted them to. I liked to be in control. I didn’t like the unknown. My mind raced to a million different thoughts of worry and anxiety at any given moment.

I told him from the beginning that I was very broken. That I was a million of little pieces that could never be made whole. But he held my hands and looked into my eyes and told me, “I want to be the glue to help hold you together then. There might still be cracks, but nothing is perfect. Everything and everyone has imperfections. But your imperfections make you perfect. And you are perfect to me.”

My mind would not accept that. Perfection didn’t exist, and I was far from it. Yes, I was pretty, but no, I wasn’t gorgeous. I wasn’t one of those hot girls that guys wanted to be with. I was always that weird girl. That girl who walked through the hallways and would sometimes have to twitch- twitch- twitch my neck. The same girl who heard all of the whispers around me. People whispering my name. They all said how I was weird. How I was crazy. How they thought I was insane.

And I was insane. I was completely, madly insane. Insane to think that this boy, this amazing boy, would ever truly love me. I never really believed in the word “love.” I thought it was a word overused and rarely meant.

But he started into my eyes and promised me I was perfect to him and promised me that he truly loved me. And I did something extremely crazy. I believed him.

My brain screamed. My mind screamed and told me not to trust him. There was no way that a guy as amazing as him could possibly love me. Me of all people.

In the beginning I was anxious about letting someone else into my mind. The voices in my head told me not to open up to anyone. Not to share. Not to become exposed. But despite the anxiety and the worrying, I opened up to him and exposed my soul.

I thought he would back out and run away. But instead, he held me, and told me he loved me. He stayed by my side. My mind yelled at me to stop exposing myself. But the moment he touched me; the moment he held my hands in his, all the voices went away. Before, the touch of another would send my mind in a mini panic attack. And I would twitch- twitch- twitch my neck to try and get the feeling off of my body. But I never wanted to push the feeling of him off of my skin. I never wanted to lose the feeling of his lips gently pressing mine. I didn’t want to ever leave his side. He made me feel safe from the chaos that was my own mind.

I grew to trust him and to love him. For the first time, I truly loved someone. Without fear or worry. But I still knew he would leave if he knew all of the thoughts that revolved around my mind. When we were together, he was able to tell the very moment I was upset. And he would say exactly what I needed to feel stable again.

Technology was a different story though. Through my phone screen, he would ask me how I was doing. And I was sitting on my side of the line crying. Crying my eyes out because my brain wouldn’t shut down. Because I felt numb yet intensely sad and scared, all at the same time. Without him by my side, I felt constantly alarmed and empty and broken. But I wanted to be strong on my own. I knew I couldn’t depend on someone else for my own stability.

But he was the first person I felt safe enough to open up to. My voices were silenced when I talked to him and looked him in the eyes. But as much as I trusted him with my soul, my numbness and voices tried to convince me otherwise. And as I cried and felt the weight of the world on my shoulders, I knew I had to open up to him. So I typed, and typed, and opened up to him so I wouldn’t have to carry my burden all on my own.

But then I remember. I remember the past when I would try to open up to someone. To a so-called “friend,” or to a parent. They told me I was blowing things out of proportion. That I was crazy. That I was making up how I felt for attention. How I had a great life and didn’t have the right to claim I was upset. They shut down my feelings as if my feelings didn’t matter and as if they weren’t justified. But my feelings were just as real as anyone else’s. The numbness in my mind didn’t make the emotion any less valid.

So I erase my text. I erase the thoughts from my mind. And I tell him I’m fine. Because I don’t want to scare him away with the horrors of my mind. And it tears me apart to keep all of my feelings bottled inside, but I can’t stand the thought of losing him.

He consumed my heart and took control of mind. He was my own personal crack that I couldn’t get enough of. My mind kept telling me I was too clingy though. My anxiety would tell me that I had to talk to him every second of every day to be happy or else I would break down and crumble. I became clingy. And then the anxiety would get worse as my mind pounded as it told me I had to back off or I would scare him away.

All of the over thinking of my mind didn’t allow me to truly live in the moment with him. I became too much for him to handle. It became hard again to believe him when he told me he loved me. I had needed things to be exact. To be precisely how I wanted them. And I stopped seeing his eyes light up when he said he loved me. He started getting frustrated when I questioned him more so and more so.

He didn’t know I was depressed. I pretended to be happy around him. I started to believe I was happy around him. But as he slipped away, the voices in my mind just screamed, “I told you! I told you that no one could truly love you! And I told you! I told you that your worrying would push him away. But that’s okay. Because we don’t have room for anyone else. He broke up with you and left you. Get that through your head. But now you have more time to spend with me. And I? Well I will never leave your side.”

© Copyright 2019 Hazel Heathers. All rights reserved.

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