I remember how I felt as a child after I was lucky enough to have a friend over to play. I would say goodbye at the door. Invariably, the moment I was alone would feel like all the air had left the room. Though I was a bright, articulate little girl I’m quite sure I never told anyone what it felt like after that glorious togetherness evaporated–but I know it well now.
It feels like a deep, horribly relentless desperation. A hungry, gaping, pitiful void. It feels like nothing will ever be okay again. Like; how can I possibly get through until tomorrow? Like I can’t breathe–and why bother to breathe, anyway?
I remember sometimes I would go look in the bathroom mirror so somebody would see me, and that my eyes would be too big and my face wrong somehow.
I sit on the carpet in a guest room of the home of a couple I don’t actually know. I’m watching their dog because I don’t want to be alone and I’m afraid to ask if I can stay with any of my friends, even the ones who have already offered. Afraid of what? I don’t know. Afraid they don’t really mean it, or they’ll change their minds or resent me. Afraid my cursed life will rub off on them or threaten their happiness if they get too close. Afraid they’ll want something I won’t be able to give them–perhaps happiness.
The dog looks at me in what I imagine to be apprehension from her place a few feet away on the carpet. This dog is anxious, like me, and she isn’t very comforting to be around. I see that the dog sitting arrangement won’t perform as hoped to relieve my anxiety.
I can’t even remember the rest of the week. I’m spent from crying and worrying and trying to talk myself out of worrying. I have that dull ache behind my eyes and scalp tension threatens another headache. My mind feels foggy, I’m tired, and I’m scared of nothing in particular–and everything.
The concussion specialist joined a long line of people, doctors mostly, to take one look at my standard depression screen and ask me to consider SSRIs. Except this time he’s pointed out that my anxiety may be impeding my recovery from the concussion. Of course I hate pharmaceuticals, I’m afraid of the side effect and the risks of dependency and withdrawal. So I’m anxiously weighting the decision about the anxiety medication, which is almost funny except it’s not.
Eventually I give up and go to bed. I make no decision about the medication. Dahti the dog sleeps against my feet, and I do not sleep soundly.