The amount of effort it took to retain my grasp on “fine” was exhausting and left me with precious little energy. I was always tired not because I had been doing much, but because I had been fighting so hard.
This Is What It Takes To Feel Normal
Hanna Brooks Olsen

There are so many things in here and in your new piece about being a “troubled girl” that I wanted to highlight. I feel like I know you, or like as soon as you met me you’d know me, too. I am a high-functioning depressive with OCD and severe anxiety. I’ve fought to prove to myself and others that I’m “fine” for over a decade. I’ve driven myself crazy trying to be perfect at work. I’ve lived in my head, spinning over and over and over on thoughts until I couldn’t stand to be in my body. I’ve checked the box on therapy paperwork indicating I question the point of life. Finally this past year my panic attacks got so intense that I gave in. I was bigger than me; out of my control. I had to get help. I was UTTERLY exhausted. But I was too overwhelmed to get help. There were hundreds of therapists in my city, and I doubt I need to explain the irony of being a girl who can’t get help for being overwhelmed because the act of getting help is too overwhelming. At 32 years old, I had to have my mother help me pick someone. Now I’m on prozac and klonopin (as needed), and yes, as soon as I meet a fellow mental health sufferer, I compare notes on drug brands and dosages. I too have written about the absolute fucking beauty of feeling “fine” and “okay” — a feeling that I never knew existed before I finally caved and accepted that I could no longer do it by myself. I love your writing. I’m so glad I found this. Here’s what I wrote when I finally broke down:

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