Recap.

Hey. I know. I keep disappearing for weeks at a time. I apologize…sort of.

I need someone to talk to and Jennifer is catching up on reading assignments. So, I’m just going to ramble for awhile. All right? Cool.

So. I…started a new semester. I have four incompletes that have yet to be finished, and I cannot bring myself to buckle down and finish the stuff. I have a massive panic attack every time I sit down to write a paper.

I’m not very good at taking my meds, which is probably part of my problem. But my body is being funky and I can’t decipher if it is tied to the meds or the anxiety or something completely separate and, of course, unknowable–because all medical issues in my life are fated to remain enigmatic until they result in my death. Super cool.

Chuck left for Guatemala on Tuesday. We said goodbyes at the airport and I’m all sorts of falling apart inside. I am trying to figure out how to be a good big sister. Do I be ultra supportive and fake my way through the next two years? Do I be me, and risk my brother’s refusal to acknowledge my existence? Do I just do what I’ve been doing and sit quietly on the sidelines, extending words of encouragement and trying my best to not stir up confrontation? Ugh. I just want him home. This is going to be a long two years.

I kicked ass in my ethics class (round trois, because I am the world’s worst student and stop showing up to class after three weeks) today, and think that I would have made a good philosophy major. My adolescent lit professor thinks the same thing, and probably would have preferred me having taken that path instead of this one. Instead, I approached Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics from a literary criticism perspective, today, and spent half an hour in adolescent lit, yesterday, arguing that xenocide is wrong and Ender’s Game is advocating a world in which no one should want to live.

Today, I read a book. A whole one, cover to cover. I cannot tell you how long it has been since I’ve done that. It felt…feels…good. I know that I am an English major and I should be reading many books cover to cover, but that doesn’t happen. I am the world’s worst English major, I guess.

I bought GRE flashcards and a prep book, both of which have made me panic about my decision to grow up, graduate, and go to grad school.

Why didn’t I go to BYU, find a nice RM, and get married? I could have had two or three kids by now. And I was skinny when I started college. Well. Skinny-er. I am all curves and contours, and that has been the case for the past twelve years.

In other news, I am learning to love myself. I wore shorts today. You can still see the purple marks on my thighs from the trauma-induced cycle of growing up too quickly. I don’t really care.

I’ve been avoiding my place of residence, because being there puts me back inside my head, amongst the toxic thoughts of panic and self-hatred. I’ve been staying at Jennifer’s. I like it here. I feel guilty for that.

I’ve stopped eating so much, which has turned into not eating enough, which is a constant reminder that I have an unhealthy relationship with food. But, I just don’t feel like eating.

I took Jennifer to meet my dad, on Sunday. It was Chuck’s farewell, and so he got to meet most of my extended family. I thought it only fitting that he meet my father, as well. So, we took a drive up to the cemetery. I think it freaked Jennifer out a little bit. I apologized. My dad’s not much of a talker.

Grotesque dead-dad humor, I know. It’s either laughter or crying.

These days, it is both.

Thoughts from a Tuesday Evening.

I have this need to…belong. I used to think that meant to someone. Now, I’m not sure what it means. With someone? Someplace? I don’t know.

And I’ve had this…this feeling for a long time now. Years, in fact. That I belong with the people who are with me, now. Now as in then. Now as in still. Now as in years down the road, I hope. And so I have been waiting. Patiently. Waiting for some sign or something that I am where I belong. Where is not a permanent place. Where is a state of mind. Sometimes you share Where with other people. And I have been waiting to know that I am sharing my Where with a person who wants to share Where with me, too.

I don’t know if that is the case. I keep hoping, and hoping, and sometimes I pray. I don’t know to whom, but I pray that if there is something out there, it will help me figure out if this is my Where. Or help me cope, if it isn’t. But I have no definite answer. I have received no definite answer. And so I keep waiting. And hoping.

I hate waiting.

And so I think it is time to move forward. To stop waiting. To make my own Where, and figure out how to survive on my own.

My worst fear is being alone.

I wanted to die, yesterday. I woke up, and the whole day I couldn’t stop thinking about what a relief death must be. An end to the waiting. Isn’t that all life is? Waiting for death? And I couldn’t do it, because I could never do it. Even though I want, so badly, to stop waiting. To stop feeling like my life is a string of mishaps and bad karma, like a lesson people tell their children. Eat your vegetables, or you’ll end up like her.

I did eat my vegetables.

I thought if I boxed these thoughts away, did some spring cleaning, that some normal person would emerge, and I could live a normal life.

What is normal, anyway? Some stasis. Maybe I should be grateful.

At least life inside my head is always interesting.

My Stewing Brain.

I hate the word “blessed.” It feels like a passive reception of something, rather than the result of actions. However, I do not have another word to quite convey what I am feeling.

I am blessed, I guess, to be in the company of good people.

In reality, I am not blessed. I have worked hard to make and keep the company of good people–their presence was not bestowed upon me.

But I have good people. And for that, I am grateful.

 

I am freaking out. About finals. I have so much to write, and my new meds make writing very, very difficult.

Oh, yes. In the month where I was absent, I became medicated. Good for my sanity. Terrible for my productivity. I am tired and sweaty all the time, but showing signs of decidedly less crazy. That, and excruciating pain has become tolerable and, at points, even ignorable.

But, I am freaking out. I have developed a drug-induced narcolepsy. Brain decides that any intellectual excitement should be coped with through naptime. I am an adult. I need my naptime.

So, I sleep. And I eat, occasionally. I sit down to write, and my brain refuses to cooperate. So, I blog about my brain being uncooperative–which feels sort of like brain cooperation, until I pause the blogging and return to paper-writing. Nooooope. Zero cooperation.

Brain? You suck.

I was hoping to be done writing by Tuesday, and that is not going to be a possibility. But it needs to be. Because I NEED THE BREAK. Only get a few days off, and I need every one of them to calm. the. frick. down. Read a book that I want to read, so I can remember why, in the name of all that is salty and crunchy, I decided to major in ENGLISH. Perhaps spend some time baking. Plant some herbs. Watch terrible comedies and laugh so hard that I cry. Break.

From my brain.

And then there is the part where I cannot SEE. I mean, I have dealt with vertigo-ish sensations throughout the majority of my life. I get dizzy. A lot. No. I had never known real dizzy until these new meds.

And the migraines get more frequent. And everything I eat makes me feel like there is a monster clawing at my stomach lining. (Truth be told, that could just be an ulcer. Or two. Or three. Anxiety.) And my panic attacks get more intense, albeit less frequent.

But I don’t feel like dying. And some of the sleep I get actually feels like sleep. And I am in better spirits, overall. These things have not happened in years.

It feels good.

So, I keep taking the friggin meds. And I blame my inability to focus on the fact that there is something wrong with my pituitary gland — even though I know my pituitary gland is not the part of my brain that makes writing happen.

But, since there is obviously something wrong with that part, too, I like to pretend.

Minimize the parts of my brain that are seriously messed up, you know?

Something Clever about Eyes and Beholders.

Hi kids. It has been a while. A long while, I know. I have been thinking about you. Often. Life moves at such a neck-breaking pace, and I can barely keep up. I have so much to tell you, and no words to communicate. But things need to get out of my head. So. Here goes:

Since we last spoke, I went to the Land of Happiness and returned. I got a t-shirt with Maleficent’s face on it because she is, by far, the greatest Disney villain. I usually don’t root for the villains, but she’s so elegant and her monotone voice is somewhat intoxicating. That, and she turns into a friggin dragon. Take that, Captain Hook.

I went to the beach. I hate the beach. Sand is like glitter, in that it never goes away and you find it in places you didn’t put it. The ocean is dirty, and smelly, and I arrived at the beach thinking about my genetic predisposition to melanoma. Pass the spf 4000, please. But then I laid my body and my brain down on a blanket. I closed my eyes and just listened to the waves. For a brief moment, I was peaceful. Not at peace–I don’t know that I am capable of “at peace.” But peaceful. Someday, I hope to live next to the ocean. Someplace with more cliffs and less sand than Newport Beach, but someplace where I can listen to God’s easy listening playlist…if God were a concept my mind could entertain, and easy listening were differentiated from musak. God wouldn’t condone using the ocean as a Kenny G metaphor.

Speaking of God, I’ve been feeling especially nostalgic for him. Him? I really don’t know. Deity is an abstract idea that does not fit in my brain, though I have spent a lifetime pushing and shoving and folding it, hoping it will fit in one of my boxes. Instead, I have music and language that bring me a sense of belonging and a glimpse of something divine. But then Easter comes, and General Conference weekend, and I remember the times when my appreciation for those moments were more than academic. But who I was and who I am are separate people, with others between us, and it would be silly to wish to be someone other than who I am.

But I do it anyway, somedays.

Like today.

Today, I wish I were Beautiful.

I have been reading Joan Didion again, preparing for a presentation I am giving next week. I think, foolishly, some days that I could be a writer. And then I read Didion and I collapse at her feet. Please, Joan. Teach me to mold language the way you do. Teach me to speak, and not just talk, as I put words on paper.

And I read blog posts talking about conventional notions of beauty, and how campaigns designed to make women understand that they are more beautiful than they think they are still teach women that they are only important insofar as they are beautiful. And I say, “Yes. YES.” and Jennifer looks over to see what I’ve become so emphatic about. I tell him, and we agree that the point is spot-on.

And then I lay there, staring at his ceiling while he naps and I fixate. What would I be willing to trade, to be beautiful? What would I give to have someone tell me that even when I show up on their doorstep at 2am, head bowed, eyes filled with tears, feeling so pitiful and vulnerable and heavy that my knees barely support my weight, that I am a beautiful person? Conventional definitions be damned; I just want someone to think, somehow, that I am beautiful.

I am certain that this desire stems from years of abuse. If I were uncertain, the many mental health professionals I’ve sat across from would certainly make it certain for me. I know. I’m broken, and I am trying to build a new self from the shards of old ones.

But people are like gardens, and they need to be nurtured. And while some may think that they are a secret garden, flourishing because of their attentiveness to themselves and their own needs, I prefer to think of people as public gardens. The words and actions of all who pass through contribute or detract from the well-being of the garden proper.

And discrediting the source of my desire does not make it any less real.

I am feeling self-conscious, as I am trying to figure out — for the first time in my life — what it means to be my own person. Freedom is a lot of work, and the work is terrifying. This is me, asking help of no one in particular. Writing crappy similes about gardens and people and being beautiful.

Maybe I should try sleeping.

I want to keep writing, because I am trying to convince myself that if I keep typing, something worthwhile will come out. That the Joan Didion in me will come out to play.

Speaking of coming out, I’m queer. Part of putting new me together is actually being me, and me happens to be “bisexual” but prefers, simply, queer. Don’t tell my mom, or my brothers, because I don’t think I’m ready for them to know and I don’t know how to tell them. If you are reading this and happen to be my mom or one of my brothers, I am perfectly happy if you go on pretending you don’t know, and would appreciate you not telling anyone else? Cool. Thanks.

And on that slightly awkward note, I think I will bid you adieu for the time-being. Did I tell you Jennifer is teaching me how to speak French? Well. Jennifer is teaching me how to speak French. I can conjugate ten-ish verbs, and ask, “Comment dit-on ____?” Or, how does one say <insert English word/phrase here, in the hopes that Jennifer will respond with the French equivalent.> I have to be somewhat fluent in French before I can go to grad school (and I have to publish, present at some conferences, write something that can be used as a writing sample, and finish a few more semesters in one piece).

Beautiful.

Breaking Point.

End of Spring Break.

It is a beautiful 54 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I drove to Jennifer’s with my windows rolled down. James Taylor, Bill Withers, Alanis Morissette blasting at a volume threatening to blow my Civic’s factory-issue speakers–but ’tis the soundtrack of spring. The wind and the music enveloping me as I drive, focused only on the road and leaving the pain and the frustration that seem to characterize my waking life, if only for the twenty minutes it takes to get from Mom’s house to Jennifer’s. Rejuvenation. I had forgotten what it feels like.

Spring brings with it many things that I’d prefer it left behind. Like hay fever. Yellow-jackets. The buds that fall from Mom’s tree and stick to your shoes as you walk inside. The lack of surety as to the weather…will it snow today? Rain? Will we break 80? Which jacket should I wear? Pants or shorts? (The answer is always “pants,” because you can roll them into capris if it gets too hot, and “light jacket,” because it’s better to be too cool than too warm. And we only break 80 in the valley when someone commits to bringing their winter coat with them someplace, just in case.) When Chuck played soccer, we used to joke about spring season, and how it was actually winter soccer. More blizzards in April than October, along the Wasatch Front. Spring is fickle that way, though the weather is rarely predictable here.

But then there are so many things to love about spring. Daffodils. I don’t even like yellow, but I love daffodils. Mom’s always bloomed around Easter. And then Easter. I’m not much for the holiday, itself. But Easter means family dinner, and I’m a sucker for those. Then soccer. MLS has started up again. Boo and hiss as you will, those of you who think MLS is lame. I am a die-hard Real Salt Lake fan. Their home opener is tonight, and I’m taking Jennifer. He’s never been to a game, and that is simply unacceptable. I’d be a terrible friend if I didn’t share the things I love with my nearest and dearest. Jennifer brought me comedy. I’m bringing him Nick Rimando.

And mid-way through spring, the semester ends. And summer classes begin. Summer classes are my favorite. I love the speed. No time to get bored. School should keep you on your toes–not because you’re tip-toeing around the broken pieces of your once-beautiful gpa, but because the pace is quick and the work is engaging.

And then there is the watching the world come back to life. I love that. Even here, where the air is disgusting and we seem to enjoy starting fires, the grass turns green again and under my mom’s ash tree becomes the coveted shady parking spot for all those visiting along her street. People begin to plan their gardens and commit to trying out the zucchini again, even though they never grow as big as Boyd’s do. It gets warm enough for picnics in the park, and hikes in the canyon, and you can stare in awe as the world seemingly puts itself back together again.

And I watch it all, and tell myself that if the world can do it, maybe I can too.

In Stereo.

Somedays it is all I can do to keep from bursting. I feel…that’s just it. I feel. Everything. So intensely that being conscious is a burden and sleeping is a piss-poor respite. I’m learning things. I love the sound of breathing. Listening to someone inhale, and then exhale, as they sleep. Me, brain moving at mach 5 and hyper-aware of every sound. Car doors slamming. Footsteps. Doors opening and closing. Cursing from neighbors. Rain on the windowpane. Everything in stereo, and I don’t know how to tell it to be quiet without also disturbing the music–inhale, and then exhale. I’m learning that loving and being in love are not the same thing. I don’t know if I believe in being in love. But I believe in loving. And I’m so full of feeling that I might burst. I just want to give and give and give until there’s nothing left…and maybe then I can learn to take some for myself. To ask. To nuance. Maybe then I will be healed, and whole, and I can listen to the breathing, the music, without panicking that it is only a matter of time before it goes away again and I am left alone, in silence.

Auditory Tripping.

Music is therapy.

I’m sitting in the cross hall at school, waiting for work to start. I had hoped Jennifer would be here early, so we could chat about my evening. He hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m on my laptop. Blogging. Listening to trip hop.

Think about the most intensely sensual experience you’ve ever had.

Multiply that by ten.

Imagine that feeling in sound waves.

That would be trip hop.

🙂

I listen to all sorts of music. Jazz. Folk. Classical. Classic Rock. Industrial. Funk. 90s Teen Pop. Others. I play the piano, and alto sax, and I sing, sometimes. Music has always been a fundamental part of my life.

But trip hop.

So, I’m listening to Massive Attack. They’re my favorite trip-hop group. Then Portishead. Then Sneaker Pimps.

It’s like all the anxiety of the past week is melting out of my body and joining the sound waves. Which I imagine I can see, if I close my eyes. The ultimate in visualization.

Anyway. It’s time to go clock in for work, so I’ll stop with the random posit on trip hop. Goodbye to Massive Attack, and to you. For now.

Body Talk.

My body is telling me to drop out of school. It is tired. It needs sleep. I don’t get sleep when I go to school.

I’ve always had weird sleeping problems. I can’t fall asleep. When I do fall asleep, I’m only half-asleep. When I wake up, I feel like I never slept. In fact, I felt more rested before I went to sleep than I do when I wake up. It’s always been like this, to some degree. But it’s gotten worse with time.

I think it’s my anxiety. I was talking with a friend (I’d like to call her a friend, so I’m going to do so) and classmate today about what stress can do to a body. My anxiety has been poorly managed for…how old am I?…21-7=…14 years, but it’s been especially disastrous throughout my collegiate experience. Oh, the school part of college rocks. It’s my sanctuary. Where I’m in my element. Et cetera. It’s the part where I’m no longer involved in newspaper/band/theatre/volunteering/church…also known as the part where my anxiety is no longer sublimating into being involved in EVERYTHING. And something about six years of 4-hour-a-night sleeping habits that caught up with me, and demanded I start sleeping at precisely the time when people stop sleeping: college.

Not sleeping does terrible things to your brain. Especially when your brain is already messed up.

When I was 7, my hair was falling out in massive chunks. I’m talking about adult-sized fistfuls, each time my mom would comb it. I had very thin, slow-growing hair to begin with, so we were worried. Went to a dermatologist. Had some blood work done to check my thyroid, which came back as negative for any abnormalities. (A foreshadowing of every other blood test for the rest of my life, apparently.) And in the same nonchalant, self-assured manner as every other physician I’ve seen in this lovely state, the dermatologist said, “Hm. Well. It’s probably just stress. Have a nice life.” “Um, she’s 7. What could she possibly be stressed about?” was my mother’s annoyed reply.

Precursor to the rest of my life. Things are wrong with my body, but we can’t figure out why. It probably is a result of stress. Untreated anxiety disorders galore.

But it’s SO DIFFICULT to find good help for anxiety, or depression, or PTSD resulting from something other than military service. And if good help is to be had, it is expensive. Can I afford expensive? Of course not. And I’m not interested in playing musical therapists until I find a good “fit” if I’m going to have to pay out the nose the entire time.

I went to the doctor in January of last year, complaining about migraines and sleep issues and an average of 16 panic attacks a week and suicidal thoughts. So. Like my life now, without the inexplicable, debilitating pain. Doctor thought that seizure medication would be a good solution. I’ve never had a seizure. I haven’t been to see her since.

My current primary physician doesn’t believe in prescribing me anything. Of all my visits to the doctor since November, four of them were made specifically because I was in excruciating amounts of pain and I didn’t know what to do. I go to the doctor and we discuss why this may be the case. RA or Lupus — the ultimate in masochism is an autoimmune disease. MS — I’m a high-risk candidate. Fibromyalgia — that label they assign you when they don’t know what the hell the problem is. Each time, I’m told to take some ibuprofen and come back in a few weeks.

When my face froze, the hospital gave me some Lortab for the pain I was experiencing, in the hopes that lowering my pain would help me sleep. A double dose succeeded in barely taking off the edge of the pain I was in. I was high as a friggin kite (opioid highs are the best highs) but I wasn’t free from pain.

I stopped taking ibuprofen because I was beginning to be concerned about how my anxiety and my college-student diet and my ibuprofen use were affecting my stomach lining.

I don’t sleep because I’m in pain. And when I’m not in pain, I barely sleep. So my body is telling me to drop out of school.

One year from now, I’ll be in my final baccalaureate semester. Hooray! And then I’ll have a whole year of being able to sleep. And getting my anxiety under control. And then it’s back to school. For another 5…7…10 years of intense course load and little sleeping.

So, hush, body. You present a convincing argument, but I won’t be persuaded. Be nice to me, help me make it through one more year, and then we’ll go on an extended north pole vacation. You know. Where it’s dark for 18 hours a day.

Totally conducive to sleeping.

Streaming Barely-Consciousness.

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…

Things Not to Blame Jennifer For:

Today, I discovered that people are not psychic. Said discovery is now safely filed away in a box labeled “Things You Know But Always Forget.”

I do. Always forget.

As I complained about a few posts back, my body is currently insane. INSANE. And my coping mechanisms continue to be curling into a ball and making contorted facial expressions. Unless Jennifer is around.

Jennifer is the bestie. It goes without saying that your bestie is one of two people around whom you should not have to pretend to feel strong. And yet.

Which does both me and Jennifer a huge disservice. I feel like I’m a liar (I am) and he has no idea what is really going on. It only follows that I cannot be resentful for his not being able to discern how much pain I am in.

Or how much being around him helps me stay out of my head, and gives me something other than the pain to focus on.

So, when I text him at 18.00 (my brain likes “military” time…don’t judge me), freaking out that I cannot think or concentrate because I am both physically and mentally exhausted from trying to keep it together while experiencing all this pain, I should not be offended when he doesn’t call me and tell me everything will be okay and he’ll come save me from myself.

Jennifer is not psychic.

The other night, there was a strange man in front of my house. I don’t get home from work until almost 2am, when people are usually in bed and not looking as though they are watching my house. Said man was leaning against my fence, looking at my house, for half an hour after I got home from work. I do not know how long he had been there before I got home. I do not know if he wanted something from me, or from my house, or if he just thought the house was nice and stopped to admire it. At 2am. In 10 Fahrenheit degrees of winter.

Whatever his reason for standing outside my house, he terrified me.

Jennifer came over and stayed with me. The man was gone by the time Jennifer arrived, but Jennifer stayed nonetheless. Once I calmed down, I was able to sleep, knowing that I was not alone.

Maybe that’s my problem.

I feel so alone.

I am trying to be all grown up, and take care of my problems myself. I cannot currently afford to go back to the doctor, so I am just taking the ibuprofen and applying the heating pads and doing things to try and make myself feel better but not really succeeding. I am feeling overwhelmed with school and the prospect of graduating and all that I need to get done before the semester is over, but I am keeping quiet about how overwhelmed I feel. I’m not sleeping like a real person, and I purposefully fail to illustrate how bad the sleeping issue is when people ask. I am tired, and stressed, and in pain. People ask what they can do to help and I say, “Oh, nothing. But, I’ll let you know if I come up with anything.” I say that because I cannot ask anyone to commandeer an MRI machine and kidnap its corresponding technician. But I say that because I do not know how to ask for the things I need.

It only follows, then, that I cannot hold it against the rest of the world for not doing the things I need it to do. The rest of the world is not psychic.

Jennifer is not psychic.

How do you let go of your pride and tell your best friend that the demons in your head are just as terrifying to you as the strange man who was outside your house? How do you tell him that you just need someone to hold you, so you can calm down? No. Not someone.

Just Jennifer.