Fear. My mom is an amputee in a wheelchair. She lost her right leg below the knee because she couldn't quit smoking; now she is in a nursing home and we're about to lose her house. My brother is an alcoholic and an addict. I have an order of protection against him that his lawyer is trying to have dismissed, and I have no lawyer to defend me. My dad is dead; he died of liver disease in March of 2008, scared and alone in a hospital down in Chicago because we had no way to get there to be with him. I suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and anxiety disorder. I have horrific nightmares spawned from a lifetime of witnessing and enduring endless abuse. I took an antidepressant for eight years, and it did permanent brain damage. As a result, I have refused all medication, and remain disabled. I have fantastic friends who look beyond the issues and have discovered that I'm worth knowing. But that doesn't stop the fear. What's going to happen to me when my mom is gone? She loves me unconditionally. I have a place to live because of her. I would not survive being without a home, and that unfortunately, is where I'm headed. I love to write and take pictures. I adore animals and nature. I am young at heart, have a wonderful imagination and a terrific sense of humor, and I'm watching the very things I love about myself die; suffocating under mountains of fear. I am becoming more withdrawn; isolating myself more, only going out if I absolutely have to, crying all the time. I am afraid this world is going to leave me to die, and that is what keeps me up at night. Fear. Bone-crushing, heart-wrenching, all-consuming FEAR.

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