Public Analysis of Intent & Struggle

“Four months, ‘four months,’ he kept saying”… the time constraint for the data to be reviewed rings loudly.

Darci Ann Burdett
5 min readAug 1, 2020


Four months, four months, 120 days give or take. End of July subtract four months, end of March? April 3rd if we calculate from today — dead center between the beginning of the pandemic and the date I finally achieved gainful employment, a solid 4–0 per week.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but a fool would have realized this was going to be too much for me. This pandemic alone has been salt in the wound of our society’s slow trek towards becoming a more empathetic community. What chance did I have — on the edge of getting the medical benefits needed to return to therapy and everything riding on not fucking up these last four months.

Prior to leaving home I had dug my heels in, saved thousands of dollars, been in therapy weekly for three solid years, found medications that worked insanely well for my particular struggles and found the footing I needed to make the next step to where I deserve to be: out of an environment where my every thought is an abuse on my psyche and there’s no volume knob. I developed the delusion necessary to believe I could do this and decided there was no turning back.

Met with constant hiccups that could have only been known through others who had done what I was achieving too, I struggled and I kept my head above water with the love and support of those back home who knew what devotion I had put into this future — a future with a job I enjoyed, symptoms I could control, and ease of access to the things that helped me stay sane.

120 days he said. Running through the data for all the signs I missed that I was loosing footing, a sigh of acknowledgement that loosing footing this close to the goal is a bit of an understood in my reality. My life functions a bit more like walking on hot coals, perfecting the timing to leave your foot on the hot coals just long enough that you won’t get burned too badly before you need to put your foot in the next position. “Constant state of crisis,” he called it. I’m sure I’ve heard it before. Dave explained it as that “waiting for the other shoe to drop” feeling, and sometimes, when I get too anxious about it dropping, I knock it down — but that’s not what happened here.

Exhausted of explaining these details about how my POW-style stress disorder differs from someone who was in a singular horrific incident, normal levels of stress knock my brain off kilter. I know it looks wild to you “normies,” you can’t imagine reacting in violence to a conversation that doesn’t even involve you. There is no reality in your minds where you are so frequently a victim to others’ emotions that it seems like the only way life ever is. In a constant state of fear that waiters disapprove of you, the man driving behind you is angry, and your bosses secretly despise you — your brain lights a fire for each instance and the only treatment is practice in putting the fires out.

I spent three years in therapy learning how to see the fires. So many unfortunate humans knew me in a time when the fires were smokeless. In a rotation of making all As and weekend benders where I would sit at the dining room table in my college house and see how many Klonopins it took to make “it” go away. Universal thanks for the humans who came to rescue me knowing that they may lose me next time, never be appreciated, or never hear from me until I needed them again.

It wasn’t the first time my career goals had caused my mental health to take a nose-dive either and in the original incident, I was working 60 hours a week, and legitimately not doing shit to improve my emotional strength. Not even seeking treatment until after an unforgettable incident in which I drove the key to my car into the solar plexus of my partner and pulled down — because he attempted to prevent me from drunk driving during an episode in which I was seeking safety. The emotions that swelled in me as I saw the injury on his slim, crystal torso the next day in the shower will haunt me for decades to come — and I sought treatment.

Originally seeking testing for autism in 2015, I went through three weeks of psychological testing that cost me $1,200 out of pocket and I spent the next year paying it off. The diagnosis of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was received, and it was explained that my CPTSD looked like autism because of my father’s behavior and how it related to my abuse (he was diagnosed autistic in 2016). Things were beginning to come together at last after a quarter of a century and with the fuel identified, the fires began to be visible to me.

And then my therapist went skiing and died.

Another lull set in as my partner endured struggles that my sick mind didn’t even have the consideration to make note of, and I continued working 60 hour weeks, drinking, having benders, and expecting everyone to carry on as usual — just as I had been asked to do as a child.

This is in no way what has happened in this situation, and the 120 days rang in my head as blatant disrespect to the effort it has taken me to transform myself from that broken woman who was devastating everyone and everything in front of her. There are men who suffered beer bottles to the face during my darkest moments, and I have not spent a decade coming to terms with the painful reality of what I have done to those I love to add another beloved human to the list. If I have the strength to be open and apologetic about the horrible things I did to those men, I am obviously apologetic for the minute issues — snapping when hungry, needing alone time after extended chaotic social situations, panicking when a perceived authority figure stands between me and something I need to survive. These issues have been such flecks on my radar of important issues to solve that it felt as if my overall goal was completely misunderstood to hear someone arguing over the lack of effort in prioritizing them.

Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should be appreciated for each and every thing they do for each other, but I think appreciation comes in many different forms, many of them non-verbal, and if my survival is between making more of an effort to make you know that I’m sorry for the dangling issues that exist in queue for my next therapist and my ability to stay stable long enough to get a new therapist — I’m definitely choosing me.

And I’m damn proud of what I’ve accomplished in the last 120 days.

always surv;ve | never surrender



Darci Ann Burdett

Struggling millennial with a tendency to rant on delicate topics, with comma splices.