Heather, Wallula Junction

When we started climbing down, it was almost dark. We draped her blanket over the barbed-wire fences and helped each other across.

We looked for a way down, careful of the steep cliffs, and once we saw three deer, maybe a half-mile away, watching us.

And how glad we were to find the paths left by those sure-footed watchers.



"At night, it felt like my arms and legs were breaking."



"I’d lie awake most of the night, crying because it hurt so badly, but I put my hands over my mouth so my parents wouldn’t hear me crying."



"It felt like my brain was collapsing in on me,

it felt like it was disassociating me from life, and from

who I knew I was. 

It felt like I was awake

in the most terrible dream."



"I remember putting pillows over my head, and trying to sing songs, and trying to pray, and trying to remind myself of the things I knew I was: 

I love mountains, 

I love flowers, 

I love my family, 

I love my mom, 

I love my brother."



"I have two mutations of MTHFR: 677c and 1298c. 

My cells are starved and my neurotransmitters don’t work as well as they should."



"My brain and my body malfunction in awful ways, but they do it separately: one day, 

my brain will be giving me the worst time, and another day, 

my body will be giving me the worst time."



"I’ll think that I’m normal,

I’ll think that I’m fine, and then all at once 

I’ll feel myself crashing."



“And that feeling of: today I hope

I can get my stuff done and maybe I can see my friends, 

and maybe I can make this for dinner: 



all of that is gone.

I feel nothing. 

I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to stand up, I don’t want to be a person, 

I just want to sleep.”



"And I’ll look at myself and think things like, 

No one ever really loved me, 

and I never really loved myself. 

And I’ve never really been happy."



"It’s because 

I have no dopamine in my brain, 

I have no neurotransmitters functioning:

my body is so starved that it’s just gone numb."



"I sit on the floor, and hold myself, and I tell myself again and again: 

You’ve got to be brave. 

You’ve got to be brave. 

You’ve got to be brave."



"And I say it and I say it and I say it,

and it feels wrong, it feels weird, it feels stupid, and then I start crying and I just hold myself there on the floor, and I tell myself:

it’s okay to feel nothing, 

it’s okay to be broken, 

it’s okay to be a shell."



"And I do this 

until I feel a bit of love for myself."



"And then I take myself to bed 

and I sleep if I need to sleep 

and I do homework, I call my friends 

and I kiss my boyfriend and I know 

that four or five days from now, 

everything will be okay."



"The worst part 

is that people think they understand, 

and that’s the most limiting, 

because if they were able to admit they couldn’t understand, 

then we could have a sense of 

togetherness in that: in knowing that we don’t know."



"It feels like I’m trying to pretend to be healthy 

and it feels like I’m trying to pretend to be normal, 

and it’s very difficult because I crave connection with people."



"Connection where they can see me as I am, and we can reach out 

and cling to each other through that, 

even though I’m me with my broken body, 

and them with their broken selves 

(you know everyone is a bit broken)."



"The one thing that remains 

is that when I drive myself into the mountains, 

and when I hobble or climb as far as I possibly can

with my broken body, I feel like a miracle

is taking place inside of me."



"My feet just start going 

and my heart is soaring 

and I feel like I have sprouted wings out of my back."



"My heart gets so big inside of me."



"I feel, more than ever before, like I am human, 

I feel like I am powerful, 

I feel like I am


than I have ever been in my entire life."






Danielle ShullComment