Nowadays, Ben never goes away. Even on the good days he is patiently waiting in the shadows, choosing the perfect time to make an appearance – just when I start to believe he’s taken a well overdue holiday. 

In the last two years I know how much I have changed, maybe not noticeably on the outside, but it is inside that I feel the full effects of this disorder. When I was 19 I loved my life. I was confident, settled and happy. Ben made such rare appearances back then it makes me crave the freedom I felt at that time. I crave the calm. I don’t understand why he had to come back and why he had to take so much away from me. Sometimes I feel powerless against him. Despite managing him daily, there are so many times where he wins even after all the fighting I put in.

I don’t want to be his puppet anymore. I want to live my life without questioning every little thing. I want to do anything I want without the fear or the physical symptoms that Ben creates. I want to believe myself when I say I’m okay, there’s nothing to be scared about, this too shall pass. I can’t put into words how much I wish there was a quick, easy way to make this all happen. But there’s not. And that’s something I am beginning to accept. I can tell myself a hundred times a day that I am okay but I will always believe the one voice that tells me I’m not. It is beyond frustrating to live with Ben, I never wanted him and I resent his presence. But I am making it my lifelong goal to learn to accept him and his messed up way of controlling my life.

And I can only hope that one day I can feel 19 again. 

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