This is an anxiety journal, so a general content warning for all content.

Yesterday I started a writing piece called “The Day I Lost God,” about when I stopped believing in God because of all the suffering in the world. My disbelief came about in group therapy back then, when I met child prostitutes, widowed mothers of gang babies, girls that would give anything to stop their suffering, the depths of which I witnessed when one girl breached the nurses’ office and took all of the pills she found in there at once. I had found her, writhing on the floor in the room that I wasn’t allowed to walk into (her room, hospital rules), and crying because life offered her no respite. God offered her no respite. She had been selling her body since she was 8 years old, after being kicked out of her parents’ house because her mother didn’t believe that her stepfather had raped her. I stopped believing in God.

I also joined, as an editor, a Facebook group, advertised as a gender-neutral space for survivors of rape and sexual assault to discuss their experiences in an anonymous setting. I wrote a few pieces for them, even digging up an old email from my rapist where he told me I needed love, and that that need was driving me crazy. In reality, he used this kind of language to manipulate and keep me crazy. I’m thankful to be out of that situation now, but reading those horrible words now, made to soothe but with the ulterior motive of keeping me docile and emotionally pliable, it stings.

Last night, after I couldn’t focus on the words for my peer review assignment for the University of Iowa’s International Writer’s Workshop, I decided to unwind when I had time home alone to drink, watch TV, and eat ice cream. My grandmother gave me a disapproving eye that only mirrored my own disappointment in myself when she took notice that I didn’t clean the kitchen, and that I drank some of her moonshine, which she was going to keep as a souvenir and not for drinking. Thankfully, she was going to a doctor’s appointment, so I was able to continue to clean the kitchen before I start on my next assignment for the class. I feel upset for disappointing her.

I am tired, but I cannot sleep. The fear inside keeps me awake.