After everyone else leaves the dinner table, my sister and I stay to finish our drinks. Our conversation, as usual, revolves around homesickness and the conflict of living excessively good lives so far away from home. It is just after six but it has already been dark for what seemed like hours. I mention having to remind myself that Seattle is much farther north than it appears on a map of the US.
I'm having a tough time lately. And by lately, I mean always. I can't remember a time that wasn't tough. That I didn't struggle.
I do well sometimes. So well that even I don't believe that I'm on a tightrope of depression and anxiety. I feel like I'm walking that line so perfectly, so capably, that I am keeping my thoughts of doom and wrongness away. But after awhile, in they seep and I realize they've always been there. I've just been good at ignoring them. Ignoring the tightrope. The trepidation.
I'm early for my appointment so I sit in the waiting room. Usually I wait in the first floor lobby, alternately checking my phone and people watching until it's time to go upstairs for my session. I also hang back from the bank of elevators, waiting to catch an empty one. It's a busy building so I'm hardly ever successful, but still. I try.
On Sunday I told you about the post I was writing for Stigma Fighters and how important it was to me. Well I actually followed through on something (yay me!) and am proud to tell you that my piece, On Choosing Life, went live yesterday. It was a difficult, empowering confession to write, and I am very proud of myself for having submitted it.
I have this recurring pain in my right leg. Electric jolts of nerve pain shoot back and forth between my lower back and the arch of my foot and my knees will buckle beneath me. It's really, really, awful.
For a long time I thought the pain might be the symptom of a tumor. I tried really hard not to breathe life into that fear, but still it burrowed deep in my brain. When I found a lump in the back of my leg, I freaked the hell out until Ian finally made me an appointment to get it checked out. I was both terrified and hopeful that my doctor would find something. Terrified because, OMG tumor. Please, please, don't let it be a tumor. Hopeful because please, please, let there be some reason for all of this pain.
I write another post about the complicated jumble inside my head and I pause. Do I really want to blog about all of this garbage?
Well, no. I absolutely do not.
I don't want to admit all of the stuff that I admit here. But it's more than that, of course. I don't want to have these thoughts, these feelings, to admit to.
For the past five years, I've started out my weeks talking to a woman I don't actually want to talk to.
Okay, so that's not exactly accurate. It has nothing to do with the woman sitting across from me, and everything to do with the woman I am. Nothing to do with want and everything to do with need. I don't want therapy, yaknow. Don't want to be quote-unquote crazy.
I'm starting to nose my way out of it now, but for the past couple of weeks I have been fighting a tight little depression spiral. I have been wanting so desperately to withdraw from everything, finding an awful solace in that soothingly ugly isolationist voice my mental illness uses when I'm feeling overwhelmed. And boy, has it been overwhelming here. Not only has it been overwhelmingly busy lately, but (as it sometimes happens) the busy lined up perfectly with my overwhelming hormonal cycle. Which, yay*! The fricking worst!
"Dammit, Yoshi," I said, scooting him out of the way with my foot. "I already fed you."
He meowed in return, arguing (as usual) that while he had been fed before, he wasn't being fed now, so clearly something was terribly wrong.
"You wait for lunch," I told him, as if my fat orange cat actually understood. A moment later he gave a clipped little cry and sauntered into the living room to sleep away the interminable wait for his next scoop of dry food.
Maybe he did understand.
Trigger Warning: suicide, stillbirth, self harm.
I sank into the cushions of my therapist's ridiculously comfortable chaise lounge for the first time in two weeks and picked up the billing statement she'd left for me.
“Well, that's one benefit of fewer therapy sessions,” I quipped, noting the almost quaint balance due.
“The only one,” I added. I didn't add that I wished I could get away with so few therapy sessions every month. She already knew.
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