Cognitive Distortion

“I’m not good enough”

“I’m not worthy”

“I hate myself”

“It’s my fault”

I imagine each as a tiny pebble striking my window. I turn and look outside, and there standing is myself, or perhaps a darker version of myself, whose face I cannot see but recognize, and in whose hand is cupped a small bag of rocks; with each thought I have, another is thrown.

Tap.

Tap.

Tap.

Tap.

Like a leaky faucet dripping, it continues. I turn over to go to sleep but hear the tapping, the rap-rap-rapping at my windowsill that keeps me up, awakens me to doubt that enters through an adjacent door, comes and sits down on my bed. It’s left the door open, so a cool breeze can enter too. A cold reality—or what is believed to be.

Now the tapping at the window is worsened by the weight I feel settling onto my bed, the weight of doubt. I tell it to leave, I ask it, beg for it to leave, but it stands and walks over to the closet and lets out guilt, which stalks over to me, ever-looming, and climbs overtop me until it has me by the neck and is suffocating me. All the while the sound of tapping from my window continues; doubt follows guilt back to bed, and I am left thinking I deserve this, believing I do, as I gasp for breath within its clutches. But doubt makes me question whether I’m good enough to breath, whether I’m worthy.

“Are you certain?” it asks. “Are you most certain you do?”

I can’t answer any more than I can breathe, but the tapping at the window can. It reminds me that I’m not, that I don’t. It reminds me that I should hate myself, that it’s all my fault, that I deserve to die.

And die I do—

Over and over again, each night.

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