I’m just tired

More stories from Abby Berlin


“Are you mad about something?”

Bees fill my brain. They swarm my thoughts, and I am left to pick up the pieces. These insects infest my feelings and cloud my thinking. They are anger, frustration, and confusion. They are there not knowing their purpose, so they damage whatever they find.

My inability to focus is represented by a scowl on my face. Despite my best efforts, I am left surmounted. All of my inimical emotions take form as these bees. Everything around me is muffled by their buzzing—it’s maddening.

No, I’m just tired.

“You seem distant lately.”

I am never where you see me. My mind wanders to different places, so I can escape my problems. I always found myself being the one that is stuck on the outside looking in, so I decided to look somewhere else. 

I am surrounded by many people, but I still feel isolated. I am encompassed by many bodies; however, I have left mine. I am found lying in the clouds accompanied by only myself. There may only be a few feet between us, but I am millions of miles away.

My focus on what I can’t control in my head is represented with a scowl on my face.”

No, I’m just tired.

“Is there something going on?”

I’m wallowing in my own immobility. My feet have melted and seeped into the cracks of the floorboards. They harden like the walls I built around myself, and they lock me in a dungeon with my demons to keep me company. I am shielded from the world outside of my chamber because my feet are stuck in place.

My life plays on like a broken record outside: clamorous, reiterating, and mind-numbing. Though my dungeon is filled with fear, it offers solitude from my cluttered life. I now find comfort in the darkness I used to shy away from. I find myself chasing my shadow in hopes to conceal my anxiety.

No, I’m just tired.

“Are you ok?”

I’m drowning silently. My splashes of struggle are masked behind a forced smile. I’m embarrassed because I cannot seem to float like everyone else around me, so I pretend like I’m swimming fine. 

I’m tied down to my emotions by a chain. The baggage attached to my ankle started off weightless. I used to float with the waves like gravity itself turned off for me. That switch, however, turned on—and more weight was added. 

Yeah, I’m just tired.