Maybe I will awake at 6:30am each day, if a cat, construction season or panic attack does not beat the alarm. Maybe I will pour a cup of cold espresso dredges from the French press because brewing fresh coffee feels as possible as climbing Everest. Oh I could do it if I really made up my mind to. Once I regained my stamina. Even then I could die trying, though. Maybe tomorrow. It’s been done before. But maybe doing something already everyday for 10 years of your life is reason not to do it now.
Cat food – check. Pill – check. B12 – check. If I can manage not to think about it maybe I get a banana peeled and down my gullet. Maybe I check my messages knowing well there’s nothing but spam and work and the kind of pithy comments left on the internet between 1 and 6am.
Maybe, despite the matter of not making it to work, the previous day had been wildly productive and I’m more prepared, organized and hygenically presentable for today. Maybe I came home and made a healthy dinner with spinach even and forced myself to take 3 bites even. Maybe I did laundry. Maybe I did 30 minutes of yoga, wrote in a journal, and sat down with a glass of wine to plan my week. Maybe I crawled into bed, exhausted at 9pm, put on a sleep mask, turned off the light…
Maybe I lay there feeling as though I have been hit by a bus, hit not run over, just aching and shaken up, in some type of shock, sore. Crying, clutching pillows over something petty I made myself not cry about all day because I am strong and mature and have better things to do but when sleep won’t come at night I have no strength no better things to do nothing to prove. Maybe, still awake 2 hours later, I swallow a Klonopin and a Benadryl, angrily calling the chemical police on my noisy thought neighbors. Don’t they know some of us have to work?! No really, I can work. I swear.
Maybe it is now after midnight and I am tearing up reminders of the people keeping me awake, deleting emails, contacts, throwing away folders of “coping techniques” acquired in what appears to be a wasted stint in therapy, flushing useless antidepressants down the loo (happy happy little fishies), mentally canceling appointments, social plans, work… Because what is the point anyway? What good amid therapy and therapists that only leave me feeling worse, medical doctors who can’t tell me what’s wrong, employment I cannot fulfill? Even the powerful play has to have a closing night, no?
Maybe I think, lucidly, composed, “I’ve made a good faith effort for 36 years to turn lemons into lemonade and yet the world demands apple juice!”
Maybe it is that hollow hour of the night when even the homeless have gone home and I am googling “how to kill yourself.” Trains, the high-speed Japanese and European types, apparently. But to do that to the conductor… No… But I can’t go on. I won’t go to the hospital. No way in hell will I go back to therapy. Maybe I assure the cat I will find him a nice home prior to going Anna Karenina via Tokyo public transport. I feel sorry for him, seeing me cry. He nuzzles up under my chin, with purpose that breaks my heart. Maybe I fall asleep.
Maybe I should not write this down because it will scare my friends, my brilliant, warm, good and already living their own stressful lives friends. It’s my life to live. I have to do this on my own. No one can do this for me. Maybe it is inappropriate to publish this.
Maybe I’ve been on fanfuckingtastic behavior all things considered. And maybe if everyone learned how to talk about these things like something other than hysterical Puritans the human condition might ultimately be treated with a bit more dignity and nuance.
Friday, rather out of the blue, I woke up like this. I called my current and previous therapist and a friend. My previous therapist said all the right things which pretty much only reinforced my anger at having to leave them. My current therapist said I have PTSD. She said lots of horrible things. I hate her. My friend took both sides, saying that my therapist should definitely stop making me feel like shit, but that it’s good for people to ask “what happened to you” and not just “what’s wrong with you.”
I’m ok with the PTSD diagnosis for precisely that reason. There’s actually a term, “complex PTSD” for my situation, for those who experienced ongoing life-threatening trauma for years, esp. during early childhood.
But saying it made it more real, more frightening, more daunting. I don’t want to go back there. I just want to go back to the place where I wasn’t having a permanent anxiety attack. And back to the therapist that didn’t make me feel like shit. But I can’t.
So this is how I spend my long nights.