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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