subject line: rock, paper, sickness. September 03, 2015 by Hannah Brencher agloe, new york. I see a therapist every Thursday afternoon. Thank God for her. I admit this fact of meeting with her openly because I think the culture we live in does a really bad job of talking about mental illness and the importance of strong and consistent support from every angle. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since 2010. I am not ashamed of this. If you ask me I will tell you, “Stigmas are meant to be broken. Just like porcelain plates.”So I have seen a therapist who has the same name as me since November. And she’s saved me in more ways than I can fully attest to because she is the first therapist of four who has ever looked me in the eye and called my bluff. She isn’t there to hang out on the surface with me for an hour every week. She isn’t there to help me “coast by.” She looks me dead in the eye and she asks me honestly: do you want to change? How badly do you want to change? If the answer is “bad enough” then stop trying to live and die on these hills you’ve created for yourself. That’s all any of us does: We create our stories. We write out our own hills. We imagine our shields. We narrate from the corner. I think we all want to live in our most edited form. I think we are all too aware that our imperfections trump our filters. I think we are hesitant to let the people who call our bluffs actually stay in our lives. She tells me my stories are awful. I am living the wrong stories. If I was a writer for a TV show, they would fire me. After just the pilot they would send me home because there is a fine balance between being a weak character, being a perfect character, and being a character who no one gets to touch. I am none and all of these things. My mind screams of weakness. My social feeds scream of perfection. My heart screams of distance. My heart screams, “Don’t get too close. I don’t know if you will like me without the filters.” In a lot of ways, I am a paper doll. I let other people cut me out. I let other people dress me up. I let life dictate who I’m going to become. I find a weakness and I build a home inside of it. Weaknesses are meant to be gotten over, just like hurdles. Weaknesses are not supposed to become the heroes of the story.