Life As a Perfectionist with Depression and Anxiety

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There are secrets—
Well, there are always secrets.

But there are secrets that lie in wait for me. 
They lie just below the surface.

They hide in the ‘point’ in ‘four-point-oh’.
They come out to play with me every night,

the markings of your blood-red pen
tracing endless lines across tender fair skin.

You lovely fool, you have no idea.
Your words of criticism sit heavily in my chest—

as if I didn’t have a hard enough time filling my lungs with life.
Your words are the anvil that sits, iron on my chest,

when that awful feeling comes,
and I struggle to remember how to breathe.

The blackness that surrounds me, 
when I finally surrender to the panic,

reminds me of your stupid chalkboard,
where I wrote endless lines of genius,

only to have them scorned by someone far less intelligent than me.
Through it all, you sat silent at your post,

observing, chiming in only to add to my pain and frustration. 
And for that, I say, “Go to hell, Mrs. Smith.”

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