I have my reasons.

My life has been hard. I’m good at it, but it’s hard.

Let’s start at the beginning, although most of the events aren’t difficult in and of themselves, remember that trauma has an interesting stacking effect. And the order is probably a bit off because both eating disorders and anxiety affect the ability to write and recall memories.

Almost die in birth.

Grandfather who I handled know moves into my childhood home to die, brings his daughters with him. They stay with us until they are grown.

Take heavy allergy medication for first 7 years of life and sleep through everything.

Have father who doesn’t express emotions well, is very volatile and aggressive.

Mother works full-time, plus brings in people who need help as often as possible, is very distant/busy.

At seven, medication stops, all the sudden I have so much energy that I cannot keep myself out of trouble for more than a week at school, despite trying so hard.

Leave school at 12, spend next six years in almost complete Harris County isolation.

Grandmother, matriarch of family, diagnosed with terminal colon cancer.

Mother quits job spends two years taking care of grandmother.

Sister/roommate diagnosed with depression.

Father loses job.

Half-sister/aunts move out. No communication.

Grandmother dies.

Brother diagnosed with anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia.

Sister diagnosed with anxiety disorder.

Sister diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Mother diagnosed with anxiety, panic disorder, depression.

Borderline sister kicks me out of our bedroom, spend year sleeping in living room.

I finally get my own room, but spend every night laying awake hoping my sister doesn’t kill herself.

Finally diagnosed with anxiety because I cannot sleep unless the sun is up.

Develop separation issues with high school boyfriend, who moves away to UGA. Have meltdown and break up after first encounter of a sexual nature.

Develop agoraphobia/schizophrenic tendencies sophomore year of college and almost drop out.

Father develops depression, stops talking to most siblings/family. Sends me the title to my car in the mail, unprovoked.

Borderline sister punches me in face during an argument, I threaten to move out — Dad tells me I cannot because then she’ll direct her rage at them.

Meet Matt, college boyfriend, who proceeds to fight with me endlessly, worsen my anxiety, and then cheats on me, 100% ghosts me for two years.

Father loses job.

Get molested by a “friend” I had been telling I wouldn’t date him for over four years.

Get incorrectly diagnosed with bipolar disorder, put on ridiculously heavy meds that cause me to miss tons of classes, fail to do lots of assignments, wreck my car, and become suicidal.

Meet Dan, borderline sister has crushed on him, doesn’t talk to me for 18/24 months while I date him.

Grandfather (adopted) develops AFIB (is that how you type that?)

Grandfather has open heart surgery, with three procedures.

Grandfather falls down flight of stairs while recovering from open heart and rips nose off.

Grandfather flat lines during reconstructive surgery, they settle for only fixing half his nose.

Grandfather develops brain bleed from fall, goes into coma.

Grandfather wakes up, has no idea who I am, is very angry.

Get laid off from job.

Mother moves in with grandfather.

Father develops depression.

Father attempts suicide.

And here we are.

None of it is so bad. Intertwined in here is violent outbursts by my father, heaving drinking by my mother and brother, and constant and debilitating arguments with my sister — who is the reason that I was born, and the creator of my personality/interests, which just made them hurt even if they were minor.

My coping mechanisms have consisted of cigarettes, excessive drinking, occasionally the abuse of my own prescription medications, and an eating disorder that had me going into college at 5' 3" and 80 lbs (40 pounds less than I weigh today).

I write all this not to whine to you about how hard my life has been, but to say, I am surviving, and sometimes surviving isn’t pretty, and sometimes the things you do to try to survive look to others like failure. Sometimes surviving looks like you’re destroying your own life and running away.

All I can do is pull myself in, heal, and try again.