Chapter 6, edited

She hates me, Riley thinks as tears flow and she holds back panic that will come anyway—it always does. It used to be with Tracy, now as real life events pan out Riley is failing at managing emotions on her own during every waking moment she has an opportunity to think. It’s completely devastating.

How do I get through this? She wonders. Panic tells her this is the end. Of what, she’s not sure. But the impending doom is ever-present and all-consuming.

Riley’s mental health is rampant. Sudden panic attacks, mood swings: deep-end-questioning-worth depression mixed with straight up fear.

Riley briefly finds reality, the edges of her body, her breath. Before it’s gone again hours later and she sets out to protect herself from further damage by canceling things, isolating, deleting and taking away coping mechanisms like journals, and worst of all: creating stories about everyone she loves and how they hate her and she is never allowed to be vulnerable with them again.

I need a hug, and my mom. This is so awful, Riley cries out to God. Please hear me.


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