It’s Friday night, and she’s just arrived home to realize she has forgotten to pick up her monthly prescription. It might not have been such an issue if she had enough to get her through the last day and a half, but now she would be bordering on taking only 20% of her prescribed dose within the last two days. She gets home, showers and begins to plan out her Saturday; “I’ll go to 10:00am yoga, then take the subway over to mid town to pick up my prescription. By then I’m sure I’ll still be fine.” She gets into an Uber with her pup and drives to her boyfriends apartment 9 minutes away. They kiss hello, share the details of their day and sit down to a beautiful meal he cooked for her. “I went out and picked up these groceries so I could make this for us tonight.” She feels special and empty and her brain is sloppy. “Is everything ok?” He asks. “I ran out of my medication and was so busy at work I completely forget to pick up my refill.” She begins to fade, her gaze turns away, her face expressionless. “I’ll get a car, we’ll go pick them up, it’s important that you have them.” She feels special and warm and loopy. They bundle up for the cold and pile into the car, when they get to the drug store, she says “I don’t want to go inside” so he does. He tells her how to lock the doors to the vehicle and steps onto the street and walks towards the pharmacy. She watches the rearview mirror, she waits, she forgets to breath, her chest tightens, panic floods over her. She takes out her phone and texts him “Please come back. I’m not OK.” She waits, stares in the rearview mirror and struggles to catch her breath. “Where is he?” Pedestrians are passing by, looking into her car, making it worse. Then she sees him jogging around the corner, towards the car. She slams the unlock button, he rushes inside the car, he opens her Gatorade and hands her the pills, she swallows her daily dose. She sits in a puddle of shame, he pulls her in close as she unravels completely in his arms. They stay parked for minutes, or was it hours, she cries and he holds her tighter, assuring her “you’re safe now baby, nothing bad will happen to you now that I am here, I won’t ever let anything bad happen to you.” They pull away from the curb and drive towards home but it’s too overwhelming. The lights of the other cars, the traffic, the people on the sidewalk, the hovering buildings. The world is caving in around her, her chest is crumbling with it and its now impossible to catch a single breath. Her hands cover her eyes and she screams out “I can’t. I’m not OK. I’m not Ok. I want to go home. I can’t.” The air leaves her lungs and then she sharply inhales another breath. She tries to remove her hands from her eyes, but they fail her, unable to focus, she throws her whirling head down, face into arms and curls up into a ball in her car seat, trying to quiet the world, quiet her mind, catch her breath. He is still there, trying to get them both home, trying to calm her, trying to just get home. They pull up at last, he is parked 7 houses away from his own. Too far. “We’re home”, She peeks up, “Where?” she asks, he repeats “We’re home, see? Right there” and points to his home. She shakes her head no. “How are we going to get there?” His face looks confused “We can walk babe? Can we walk? Do you want me to drive up to the house and walk you right in?” She shakes her head yes. They park in front of his gate, he steps out of his car door and walks over to hers. Her door opens, she latches onto his arm. He presses the buttons to the keypad and the metal door opens to the backyard lane way. Complete darkness, she begins to cry harder. “No, I can’t”, she grabs him tighter and closes her eyes. He leads her through the lane way, she is trembling from the cold and also in fear. Finally they make it to the front door of his apartment, she is still latched on to his right arm as he fumbles to unlock the door, then…light. She has made it, she’s runs into the light, into the warmth, she is on the sofa, she’s breathing deep, her eyes are closed, she has a blanket on her, she breathes in deep and lets out all of the air. She is safe. Her breath calms. She is safe. Exhausted, she drifts off to sleep. I was texting with an old friend of mine tonight, she told me she loves the new, uplifting, honest stuff I am writing. “We all need it right now.” I told her I love that she is reading my stuff; I confessed that not all of my days are easy and bright, and I think it’s important to share when they are and why. Then she said “and when they aren’t and why too. Maybe even more so.” It’s hard for me to share about living with bipolar, sometimes my Friday nights consist of Netflix and take out and some times they are scary as fuck and next to impossible to verbalize. My bravery often hides under a pile of fear and shame, but reminding myself that I’m not alone in my mental health journey, I’m doing everything I can to lead a healthy life, and it’s OK if every day isn’t easy and bright is part of this wellness journey too.
Thank you Elisa; I may have inspired you to experiment with neck scarves but you encouraged me to be brave.
Thank you Vanessa for sharing your feelings about being pregnant and your eating disorder recovery. You pulled me into a warm spot and pushed me in the direction of sharing my own struggle.
Thank you Allan for always being supportive and sensitive.Thank you to everyone who reads this and realizes you are not alone – you are the reason I share.