lost weekend

I used to have a rule. If I ever feel like get­ting high and stay­ing home instead of going out and doing some­thing — any­thing — then I’d make a point to do the lat­ter.

Otherwise, it would mean I’ve giv­en up. That there’s noth­ing out there for me, and any­thing the world has to offer is no bet­ter than what I have in my house and on the inter­net. It’s a rule that served me well for years; one that kept me healthy and bal­anced and off my ass.

So when I found myself in my neck­beard nest after anoth­er month, not par­tic­u­lar­ly car­ing whether I got up or show­ered or shaved, I knew I was in a bad spot. Of course, just know­ing there’s a prob­lem isn’t enough to rouse one into action when basic hygiene hard­ly feels worth the effort.

The only activ­i­ties I man­aged to do, per­haps because they made me feel some­thing, were lis­ten­ing to ter­ri­ble music and watch­ing things suf­fer as they died. Eventually, I even start­ed tank­ing ranked games so I could get eas­i­er match­es (an emp­ty calo­rie habit I had­n’t had in years). Without the moti­va­tion to do any­thing pro­duc­tive, I lost more and more of myself until all that remained was a husk of a per­son.

I grad­u­al­ly turned to Heather for relief. Each day I’d just wait for her to come home from work so she could help take my mind off the suf­fer­ing.

Meanwhile, the stress of the hol­i­days caused her to retreat to work and sleep and social media. We end­ed up see­ing less and less of each oth­er at a time I need­ed her more than ever. I would tell her how hope­less and sad and unsat­is­fied I was, and she kept expect­ing me to get bet­ter cause I had­n’t cried in months1. I could­n’t help but think of Kath in Portlandia, trapped in the back­yard tent, firm­ly telling Dave while freak­ing out, I REALLY NEED YOU RIGHT NOW, and vain­ly try­ing to hug through the mesh.

Portlandia clip

Nothing I did could make my biggest ally under­stand the depth of the hole I was in. I felt aban­doned and unheard while she kept act­ing like noth­ing was wrong. Eventually, even the brief moments we did have togeth­er lost mean­ing.

Things final­ly came to a head when my anx­i­ety got the bet­ter of me and I had a full-blown pan­ic attack. On a night like any oth­er, my heart sud­den­ly start­ed pound­ing vio­lent­ly in my chest, then I could­n’t breathe or feel my hands. I had noth­ing to look for­ward to any­more, no way to form pos­i­tive mem­o­ries, and my body decid­ed to warn me of this by repeat­ed­ly and vio­lent­ly eject­ing the con­tents of my stom­ach.

Seeing me in such a dis­tressed state was final­ly enough to make Heather under­stand how wretched I was feel­ing. She apol­o­gized and promised to make me a pri­or­i­ty again, but I was left not know­ing who to trust or what to believe. My pan­ic attacks con­tin­ued on and off for a few weeks, until I reached a point of des­per­a­tion where I was will­ing to try any­thing to get them to stop.

  1. My 2g dose of arip­ipra­zole was cer­tain­ly doing it’s job. My psy­chi­a­trist described it is putting my emo­tions in a cast. The lows were less low, but I paid for that in numb­ness. []

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