I used to think that I’d get over shutting down, eventually. When I moved here, I hoped that this would be the place that would make me feel so alive that I didn’t need to shut down. It isn’t. The truth is, I don’t know that one single place has the power to do that. When I struggle, I shut down. When I’m tired, I shut down. When I start to feel emotions, I shut down. When I’m bored, I shut down. It’s my go to thing to feeling safe. I get to disappear into a world so deep inside of me that no one can find me and find solitude and quiet. For a little bit, the world gets to be quiet and though people continue to talk to me and I to them, I don’t hear it. Though I continue to move through my routine and do the things I need to do, I don’t see it. For the time, I get to choose where I am and who is with me and what I want to do. When I first moved here Bailey was good at recognizing when I’d gone versus when I switched, same with Grace. As they started questioning it, I started hiding it more and more until they stopped asking. It became easy enough for me to disappear and still function at a level that seemed stable. But then I started going to school and it all fell apart. At school, I can shut down and it bothers no one. I don’t live with people I must connect with there, so I know it’s safe for me to completely shut down, and it scares me because it’s coming to the point of when I first arrived. Then when summer comes I’m tossed back into a home where I am needed to connect. I choose to be here, and I choose to work to connect, but I realize how much harder it is to be in relationship than out. I have this need, when I am in connection, to be in constant connection. It’s hard for me when I’m not because my brain forgets people who I’m not connecting with, even if it’s for the day. Lately, all the “grown up’s” have been especially busy so their ability to connect has been far less; to the point I struggle daily to remember them. So, without realizing it, I slipped back into major shut down mode. It wasn’t until recently when Grace brought it to my attention that I knew, and then made the conscious decision to stay gone. Healing is hard and by expecting these people to be available all the time is unrealistic and hurtful to them. But I don’t know how to be okay with that either. So shutting down makes it bareable. It makes knowing that if they leave, I don’t have the emotional tie to them. I have been getting much closer to Grace as of late and my heart tugs in directions that I can’t allow it. It wants her to be my mom; it wants her to love me like my mom was supposed to. And she can’t. She has a life and I’m an adult. She and her partner have opened their hearts to me but just as most of the adults can only open it so far. And so I shut down. I don’t know what else to do. I need a cure for this, but the quiet, the solitude; the lack of pain feels so good.