It’s not as if anything in particular went wrong. Nothing dramatic or unusual happened to me. I’m on my Zoloft, so I’m not hauling my life around unmedicated. But this week I’ve cracked, and couldn’t even feel the tension building beforehand. There was no warning.
Some of you might know this process all too well. Your garbage cans are overflowing and there are crumpled paper towels wilting all around them on the floor. The dishes are piling up into a great wall of china. You haven’t showered or gotten dressed yet today. All you can do is bury yourself under the covers with your headphones and wait. If you’ve ever been there, whoever you are, please know that I’m there with you. We’re in different trenches, but we’re both buried. There is no hierarchy underground.
I had to call out sick from work. I’m going back tomorrow, but just couldn’t do it today. When you work with the public, so much of it involves smiling and engaging them and not exposing others to an emotional virus, especially children. So I quarantined myself. You might know the feeling. If you do, then you know anyone who would tell you to just pull it together can fuck right off. So can anyone who accuses you of “attention whoring” for posting about what’s going on. Even if you’re not directing your thoughts to anyone specific, which I’m not, casting them onto the web can seem like a lifeline. You might even be afraid to talk to anybody individually. Whatever you say might come out overbearingly emotional, as if you’re leaving them with some final goodbye. I’m in that place, too.
I don’t want to die, and I’m not going to. I just want an intermission. Just a frozen year. If only I could sleep for a year without dreaming and wake up to a world where nothing but me has changed, picking up right where it left off.
Mike has been incredible in his support. I lay down with him in his armchair for hours last night and he told me, “You’re a beautiful ball of life.” If you’ve ever been in the same place, please know that you are, too.
If you’re a friend or well-wisher, don’t be afraid to talk to me. But also, please don’t think you’re being rejected if I don’t write back for a while. It helps to hear other voices, instead of my own thoughts swimming in circles and dragging me underneath. But if I don’t have the energy to respond yet, it’s nothing personal. There are so many other people reaching out who have problems a lot more urgent than mine, but I can’t reciprocate at the moment and am so disappointed in myself for that.
I’m not okay. And maybe that in itself is okay, because I trust that eventually I will be. If you’re in the same place, which ironically feels completely solitary, please know that you’ll be okay too. This shadow can be a blanket, and we can all sit together, bundled in the quiet until we're ready to come out.