It’s been weeks since I left the house for anything but a doctor’s appointment, maybe three times since November. I miss the winter, even though it’s right outside my door. I miss my friends, even though they’re rarely more than a short trip away. It’s especially hard not being able to explain the distance. All I can do is hope they trust me when I don’t feel comfortable explaining, and try not to feel insecure about being so out of touch.
Sometimes, the thought of being away from my safety zone fills me with dread. Other times it’s just easier to not do anything. I barely manage the effort to wash my hair once a week, and the only reason I shave is to more easily wipe off the viscid sadness that so often visits my face. I suspect I wouldn’t even be eating if it weren’t for the fact that Heather enjoys taking care of people to fulfill her own need for security. She’s lived here a few months, and she’s already making sure the cats have their teeth brushed every day and all the bills are paid. I’ve barely known her for twice that time, and I’ve never been more dependent on anyone in my life.
It feels like I’ve taken two steps back, but I’m at this point cause it means I’m safe enough to start processing and understanding the things that led to me trying to hang myself from the railing of my staircase a year ago. I haven’t figured out what it means to keep going, when for so long I believed my life was leading up to that moment, and sticking around wasn’t a choice I made for myself. Just figuring out how to write about such a large and complex experience is often too much. I’m left broken when I simply want to understand.
I’m learning that recovery isn’t a binary process, but a journey with struggles and triumphs. I still suffer the trauma of being moments away from dying. I’m still haunted by the guilt of survival. With so many hair-triggers that lead to wholly consuming breakdowns, I can’t deny I’m not the person I used to be. Right now, it’s hard enough just trying to be okay with that.
I’m writing as a way of practicing self-compassion. Weeks get lost to the customers and commute, and when time off involves not thinking or being around people, it doesn’t leave much room for personal growth.
The problem is that nothing feels real or true unless I write it down. The changes are starting to flow together, and I’m at various stages of progress on several fronts. There are no beginnings, no ends, no chapters, no distinctive transitions I can sum up neatly in a title. The lessons stretch out to years instead of months. Development has given way to evolution. It seems silly to write about a feeling that won’t last from the first time I hit Save Draft to Publish.
I’ve been reaching out to new people cause it felt like everything I was doing was wrong. Marie came to feed the cats, not knowing I was back from the hospital. I broke down in her arms, and she babbled at me over breakfast, excusing herself for talking so much cause she was nervous about not knowing how to help. I asked if she’d watch a movie with me, something to do that was normal and not crying. It helped.
Jason’s also been talking me through the upheaval. Advice is easier to accept when it comes from a survivor, especially one who never presumes to know what’s best for me. He’s become the stick prodding me forward one small step at at time, a voice of reason in my ear that reminds me to keep on doing this until living is like breathing again.
It’s a reminder that I’m here only cause people believe in me; they’re the ones tipping the scales when it feels like I might as well flip a coin and let fate decide what I can’t.
O earth, I will befriend thee more with rain,
That shall distil from these two ancient urns,
Than youthful April shall with all his showers
I lost my life as I knew it, piece by piece, over days and weeks and months. Now things will never be the same. In moments of crisis, everything has been distilled; what’s gone is gone forever, and what remains is what I will carry for the rest of my life.
And as the threads unraveled, I tore myself from the world away, my face unable to bear the burden to others.
The vet’s office called this morning to tell me Leonard didn’t make it through the night.
I’ve been bawling randomly since. Uncontrollably. I haven’t cried like this since I was a kid. I suppose it’s the shock. I always expected Dolly to be the one to go first, and not for many years at that. I know I’ll be alright, I just need time. It was such a big decision to adopt another cat, and I jumped on it cause I wanted one so badly, and I made all the preparations, and nursed him back to health so many times, and now he’s gone so suddenly.
____’s been talking some sense into me. I blamed myself for not going to the vet sooner; maybe there’s something he could have done, maybe being on an IV earlier would given him the strength to recover. But I did what I thought was best at the time, and there are countless maybes in life, and there’s no way of knowing why he died because the tests weren’t finished. It could have been something congenital, which seems likely considering he was sick most of the time.
Continue reading “Goodbye, little buddy”…