As the light started to shine through my curtains, and my eyes flickered open, I quickly realised that I must have fallen asleep at some point—probably on and off throughout the dark hours. My head pounded, my body ached, and nausea swam around in my stomach, making me want to throw up.

This was how I woke up every single day.

Since my positive diagnosis, I hadn't woken up in a happy, carefree mood, even once. I always started the day feeling like utter crap. And the belly full of fear—that was always there too. That didn't leave me either, it stuck with me throughout the entire day, clinging to me like a bad smell. I didn't even know what exactly it was making me anxious, so to make it even worse there was no reassurance, nothing I could do to cure it. I just had to accept it I suppose, as a part of who I had become.

I padded across the floor, straight from my bedroom and into the kitchen. I switched the kettle on and poured myself some cereal, as if on autopilot. The same routine I had every single day. Then, as always, I crunched the cornflakes, feeling the spike as they slid down my throat. I didn't even taste what I was eating, I never did. I just ate it out of habit, to keep myself going. Even when hunger growled fiercely behind my ribs I never craved anything, I never felt an incessant need for anything in particular.

I just ate to stay alive, to keep this empty little life going.

My phone bleeped shrilly, alerting me to a notification from Facebook, but I resolutely ignored it. I've had my social media account from before and even though I never paid it any attention, I still had it activated. Just in case.

Being totally honest, I did check it now and again when I was feeling particularly weak, and I wanted a glimpse of back home, but it always just ended up making me feel gut-wrenchingly awful to see all my family and my old friends moving on without me. It wasn't exactly like I expected them to freeze-frame their lives because I made the unexpected choice to leave my home town, but it still hurt to see how unnecessary I was.

If I'd been dead, things like that couldn't affect me. Things would be exactly the same for them, but it wouldn't scar me internally, I wouldn't have to witness it. They could move on, without my shadow looming in the background.

It bleeped again, the noise feeling louder than it really was in my fragile mind, so I picked up the phone to turn off the Wi-Fi. Being reminded of my pointless existence was not what I needed at that moment. But that was when I noticed, it wasn't an update from someone from my past, but a friend request from someone from this life.

Amy Acton.

Curiosity got the better of me, and without really thinking about it, I accepted, taking a few moments to read her status updates and see her most recent photos. I couldn't help but wonder how someone managed to look so damn glamorous all the time, even when she'd clearly had a few to drink. I may not have had much time for the girl, but looking at her life online, it was clear to see that she really knew how to have a good time. In every photo, every update, she was happy, enjoying herself, living life to the full.

As if she had no idea what true misery looked like.

Tears unwittingly filled my eyes, and started to fall, wetting my cheeks as they dropped. I wrapped my arms tightly around my body, as if I was trying to hold myself together, as the emotion overcame me. I felt pathetic, useless, terrified, and sad all at once—a horrific combination. With the jealousy added in, for the first time in a very long time I felt something new. The desire to change.

I couldn't carry on being this person forever; it would end up destroying me completely.

I wasn't sure how long I cried for, but by the time the tears dried up, something inside of me had shifted. I suddenly felt angry, really, really mad. Throughout everything I'd been through, anger had never really even been a consideration of mine. Not even right in the beginning, when I first got all of the bad news. I just sort of...took it in my stride.

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