I always thought Winona Ryder was pretty.
I was really little, the first time I thought about dying. Seven. I punched a kid in the face because he was mean to my friend. To be fair, I told him that I would punch him if he didn’t stop being mean. He didn’t stop. I was the one who got in trouble.
When I got home, I opened the hall cupboard and stood on my tippy-toes so I could see how many boxes of pills we had. If I took some and went to take a nap, maybe I would never wake up. Maybe then Mom would never find out about me and Tim the Bully, who completely deserved to get decked in the face. I was so ashamed, and I didn’t know how to process those emotions of guilt in a healthy manner. Not much has changed, in that regard.
I am thinking about milestones, today. I’ve been Dani the Medical Mystery for three months, two weeks, and one day. I haven’t had caffeine in five months and one day. I’ve been living the “single” life, free from abusive relationships, for one year, one month, and six days. My dad died twelve years, four months, three weeks, and four days ago; my first boyfriend, five years, five months, three weeks, and six days ago. It has been less than a minute since the last toxic thought passed through my brain.
I told Jennifer that it isn’t about dying. I am tired. Everything I experience is so intense, and it is draining. The pain. The work. The Brain. The pretending like everything is okay. I just want to be done with it. I just want to rest. In peace.
Once upon a time, when James was my bestie and Jennifer had yet to come into my life and show me what Healthy interaction looks like, James and I used to joke about me checking myself into a psychiatric hospital someplace, and staying for six months. Or longer. However long it would take to fix me up as capital-“n”-normal and not think about pain medication cocktails when I am feeling insecure.
But I’m not that brave. After all, what would I tell people? I’m taking a break from school so that I can get my brain in order and learn healthy coping mechanisms which, in turn, will significantly increase my ability to physically function and possibly get me out of The Valley sooner? No. That would just make too much sense. Much better to stay trapped inside my own mind and fester in its toxicity. The people who are my blood? They’ve found a way to do it. Those are my genes, too. Why can’t I?
Yesterday, I could not get out of bed. I texted Jennifer, and told him that I was going to miss our morning classes because of a migraine. It was partly true. The migraine was there. How do you tell someone that you just want a few more hours of sleep before you have to get up and deal with the fear and the guilt and the omnipresent feeling that, even at your best, you are never going to be good enough? The migraine could have been triggered by something I ate; the more-likely culprit is the increasing number of panic attacks. Even my body has shoddy coping mechanisms.
So I’m sitting here in my pajamas, stressing about the Tolstoy and the Woolf I have to read before ten-o’-clock classes. Unable to concentrate, because panic attacks do that to a person. I can feel another migraine coming on, and I think this one has something to do with the lack of sleep I’m getting. It is difficult to sleep well, or for very long, when your mind won’t shut up and the pain won’t shut down. I’m wearing Dad’s old t-shirt and the flannel pants Mom got me for Christmas — sometimes you need a hug from your parents, but your dad is dead and you feel compelled to be strong for your mom. So you choose your pajamas so that it’s like wearing a sort-of hug. It doesn’t make me feel any better, but I like to think it would, if I were capital-“n”-normal and my insomnia was able to be defeated by a dose of Melatonin.
I sleep all the time. It has been months since I last slept.
I cannot take sleeping pills. If I have to choose between not being able to sleep, and not being able to wake up, I’ll choose the former. I’ve chosen the former. I am choosing the former? And thanks to the four months of Prescription Roulette at the beginning of last year, I’m flagged as having drug-seeking behavior. They try not to prescribe pain medication to people with pill-popping tendencies. They put people with fibromyalgia on anti-depressants, because they help to calm the nervous system. Apparently that’s what I have, if I don’t have cancer or MS or out-of-control anxiety. Maybe I have all three. I get to see a neurologist in a month. I think the wait time would be shorter in Canada, and I wouldn’t have to pay for the medical bills.
And the medical bills. How does one afford a stay at a psychiatric facility, anyway?
I told Jennifer that I don’t know if a stay would make me better, or if it would make me worse. He said he thinks I need a retreat.
How does one afford a stay in Aruba, anyway?
I wonder what Winona Ryder would look like with a mango mojito in her hand…