As I wake up, I’m on the floor in my room. I can’t remember how I got there. There’s a slight pain in my back so maybe I fell somehow off my bed. Another panic-attack; no memory of what I did before, or during it. Somewhere in my mind I find I’m happy I’m alone. Fumbling for my bed for support I realize I can’t get up.
I quite enjoy the view from the floor. There’s frames to look at with the “kind-notes”, a piece of paper were people are supposed to write nice things about you. Even from here I can see the writings. “Always happy!”, “Spreads joy!”, “Beautiful smile!”, “I love your laugh!”, Absolutely wonderful!”
I laugh to myself.
My eyes travel to my medicine box. Anti-depressants, anxiolytic-pills, benzo-like pills for emergencies. I curse my ability to laugh easily. What’s the happy girl to do when she’s not spreading joy, but waking up from a panic attack?
Also, what is she to do when she has been isolating herself for the past months, losing a close friend because of it, because she can’t fulfill the requirements she has now set up for herself? Because when she’s not the happy, joy-spreading person she used to be (or she really is, she doesn’t know), she hides. She doesn’t answer the messages from the people she loves. She doesn’t answer when they call. She doesn’t do what she loves.
She writes in third person because it is painful to apply this to herself.
The wall to my right is the wall of important things; souvenirs from Romania, post-its I have gotten, flight-tickets. The picture of us. The one I received after Christmas and never thanked you for. We look happy. Actually happy. (I can’t tell whether you really were happy or not. We never talked about such things.) Somewhere inside my head it clicked. I do not understand “the concept of being happy”, but I remember I was happy there with you.
“Is there anybody in here who has someone they look up to?”
My hand is lifted up somehow.
The lecturer points at me. “Yes! You at the back! What is her or his name?”
I clear my throat. “Maria”
“And what makes her someone you look up to?”
“She’s genuine. She’s caring. If she is mad at God, she is, and that’s okay. She’s one of my favorite people in this world.”
I guess what I am trying to say is that I am sorry for not writing you. And thank you for that picture. I called a friend when everything had clicked, and I asked for help. He got me stable, got me to sit on my bed. Talked to me until I was calm. Because apparently, I don’t always have to be happy, Maria.
Just know that I still think about you a lot and that I love you.
All my love, Sara
I wanted to tell you
that you weren’t alone,
and that it would get better.
All those things
you’re supposed to say
at three in the morning
when nothing is right.
But I poured you another drink instead.
Somehow you seemed more grateful.
“It’s not your responsibility.”, my mother tells me as I talk to him at one o’clock in the morning, trying to calm him down in an anxiety attack.
“We’re just talking”, I say.
“Do you feel responsible?” my grandfather asks, watching me tap my fingers repeatedly on the table after hanging up.
“I’m just making sure he gets his medicine.”, I say.
Am I doing something wrong? Am I missing something? Isn’t our job in this world to see one another, take care of one another?
I just don’t know.
It is not my responsibility, but if I don’t do it, I am not sure he will survive.
Have you ever been followed?
I experienced this tonight as I was talking a nightly walk in the cold winter weather. When my usual route came to its end, instead of going home straight away I walked to town. Since I live about five minutes away from probably the most crowded part of the city, I didn’t see that as I problem. I’ve done it before.
However, as I was crossing the usually trafficked but now almost empty highway, I noticed a car parked too close to the crosswalk. (Yes, I am studying for my driver’s license.) As I passed it, I saw a man, about thirty years old, staring at me through the window of the car. I looked away because I’m socially awkward and continued walking. He turned the car around and followed me slowly as I continued on another, biggest street, containing more people. I noticed that he was following me when I stopped and he had to drive around the house to look at me again without stopping the minimum traffic. There was stopping, parking right next to me, waiting in the corner of the house I had to pass to continue walking on the street, and lap after lap as I stood completely still, not knowing what to do. Fear struck me. The raw, aggressive, blinding kind of fear, and I just stood there, seeing him passing me by slowly and passing me by again.
I am fine. I am perfectly fine as I’m laying in my bed right now. I ran to my boyfriend’s place and he followed me home and that’s that.
I have been spoiled, or blessed, call it whatever you want, with never having to be afraid. I have always known that I have people around me that care for me, and I have never been scared of someone. And I just realized as I came home tonight that so many people are living with this fear. This biting, blood-pumping, icing fear. The fear of not knowing what to do or where to go. The fear of not knowing how to get out of your situation, or being afraid no one will ever care.
I just experienced a glimpse of the fear some people live with all the time, and that was absolutely terrifying. So, tonight my prayers go out to all of you. If you are reading this, you are strong and I know you will get out of it. I believe in you.
All my love, Sara