Once upon a time there was a girl. 

She found herself in a forest. A dark, dark forest. It took her a while to realise that she was in the forest. 

Alone. 

She was scared. She tried to call out for help but her voice was so small.  And the darkness was suffocating. It invaded every part of her. Extinguishing her happiness. Smothering her. Leaving her numb. 

She knew that there was a creature lurking in the darkness. She couldn’t see it. But she knew it was there. It wanted her. It wanted to consume her. So she ran. She ran through the trees. She ran through the forest. She ran through the darkness. Adrenaline coursed through her body, her skin was clammy.  She felt as though she would be alone and terrified forever. She despised her own actions. Her thoughts were loud and told her she was useless. She was unloveable.

Eventually she noticed that thorns had cut her skin. It hurt. Perversely she found pleasure in this; being able to feel something at last. There was a little space to breathe again. Chinks of light forced their way in through the dense canopy which allowed a tiny view of the leafy prison and offered a small amount of warmth. She could hear distant laughter but it did not move her. She heard kind words but they didn’t reach her. Didn’t connect. Didn’t comfort her. The creature, although still present, seemed not to pursue her with such intensity.  She began to relax. Adrenaline still flowed but she found she could distract herself from it sometimes. The thoughts were quieter now. They were less cruel. She stopped hating herself but didn’t dare allow herself to believe anyone could like her.

Time passed and one day she found she was able to see clearly. She was able to inhale deeply and revel in the warmth of the sunshine.  The creature had gone. At least, she couldn’t sense it… She knew that one day it would be back but for now she wanted to live. She wanted her life without fear. Without self loathing. Without darkness and negative thoughts.

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