Subject: “:(” – A Letter to My Therapist

Dear Dr. ————*,

Ever since talking on Friday, I thought that things were getting better for me. I realize now that I was too quick to assume I was okay… Over the last few days I have experienced a number of really stressful panic attacks? anxiety attacks? I’m not sure how to describe them. But they have gotten to the point where I was so mentally paralyzed by fear and frustration and confusion I felt like my I didn’t have control over my own body. I did use the methods that you suggested to me, like breathing techniques and the cold pack for my face–and these did help but only temporarily. (Often, the only way I truly calm down is if I step away from my work and like…lie on the ground and shut out the world–which is really depressing sounding but it works.) These feelings have been coming to me in waves every hour or so over the course of this weekend.

I think it has a lot to do with the academic stress I am feeling…and it sometimes makes me want to just forget all of my responsibilities and run away (so to speak). Already, I have been negligent of quite a few things that I was supposed to do or should be doing currently. I feel like I have no excuse for feeling this way but when I consider what I’m feeling, it just feels like a huge cloud of negativity and emptiness. I can’t think or make decisions or rationalize anything other than lying in my bed and trying to escape myself.

I know how I seemed in our session on Friday…heck, even I thought I was doing pretty okay. But that night when I really reflected on myself and my mental state, I realized that I subconsciously delete moments when I am feeling really down from my memory, or somehow dissociate so much from those feelings it is unfathomable that I could even think them in the first place. When I am around my friends or even talking to people about my problems, I almost forget that side of me with all of its self-doubt and periodic panic exists. I haven’t been able to do anything productive in the last almost 48-hours because of suffocating thoughts like “I don’t know” and “I don’t want to think about anything.”

Even this email–I have been working on it since 6:30am this morning when I really began feeling the effects of my frantic anxiety and lack of sleep, (I had stayed up all night trying to finish an assignment I ended up not finishing) wondering whether or not any of this is even real or if I’m just blowing my stress out of proportion. I am scared because I can’t figure out what to do with myself. I can’t figure out what is wrong with me, or even if this is a real problem…and recently I have been thinking about how much I want to sleep.

All of that being said, I am not planning on taking any extreme measures to harm myself, so please do not worry. It has really just been a difficult weekend, and I needed to tell someone before I convince myself that none of this had happened and that I am completely fine.



* Dr’s real name has been removed for privacy reasons


One look as all we need.

i glance over
and catch your eye;
that one look.
your eyes softened
my lips curled
and i knew
the secret between us
would remain confined.
pressed like flowers
holding the weight of beauty
in our palms.

This is a new chapter.

Dear me,

It’s been one hell of a ride. Four years of learning, suffering, surviving. Gearing up for another four? Hell to the yes you’re fucking ready. Ready to take on New York and New Life and New Everything. In one week you’re free of the restraints of adolescence. You’ve become bold and beautiful. Don’t let anything stop you now, fucking get ’em.

In reflection, I’ll remind you. Be soft, speak clearly. Know what you want, pursue everything passionately. Have fear, have humility. Let it guide you to strength and power and happiness. Success is in your grasp.

Much love, Emily


Dear me,

Here’s a reality check. It’s March 29, 00:33, and you’re about five assignments behinds schedule. You’re ready to take a break, from school, from people, from life. But.

You made it through the shittiest fucking months of your life. Made it through trips to California, Las Vegas, and New York (and Carnegie Hall?!). You also made it through five college acceptances. You fucking destroyed whatever shit misconception you had of your self-worth, your confidence. You’re a Barnard woman now.

Much love, Emily

Oh wonder, I wonder.

autumn leaves fall,
colors fade;
august eyes
dreaming for a day
unlike today
where they may rest
on february ice,
and hold onto this love
so bright


I wear silent headphones.

Dear me,

I wear silent headphones to cancel the nothingness with silence. To shut up the chatter of my brain, the wandering of my ears. I place them over my ears to suffocate the spillage of composure. Almost as if, when I remove these silent headphones, my thoughts will dismember and float away.

These silent headphones hold me together. Perhaps the only things that keep me moving onward, forward. Progression has become so difficult these days.

Much love and apathy, Emily



Lost at Sea

We float on boats,
Carried by the swirl and sway.
We are so delicate,
It’s all fun and play.

We near rough waters,
Innocent and blinded.
We tumble down deep,
Cripplingly empty-minded