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Mental Illness as an Excuse (...for whiskey, for takeout, for lacking finesse)

I often find myself limiting my self-worth to a series of outside validations: degrees, a marriage certificate, a pastry arts diploma, my 'healthy' habits, the notable city I live in, the opinions of others, etc. When I think of my worth I think of what I could cook for you to make you happy, how you might respond to my rampant difficult-to-disguise anxieties, and whether or not you're going to stare at my dead prosthetic eye (please don't).

Sometimes, all too often, I want to give up. Sometimes I do. I give up on leaving my apartment because it's raining and with the sun I lost the motivation to do much of anything. I give up on going to local shows and other events because I don't want to run into someone and not have anything interesting to say. I also generally don't want to interact with strangers. I give up on trying to be close with old friends in the moments I believe I have nothing to offer them. I give up on trying to explain how and why I'm …

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