“But you aren’t choking?”
I was suddenly very careful and aware of where I was. I am in the psych hospital a place where the state will 302 you if you present as a danger to yourself or others, or are unable to care for yourself.
“No, I am not.”
I begin listing things in my head to calm me:
1. sometimes resilience is the only consolation
2. I need to check in on Evelyn, Patricia, Carlos, Peter and Janelle first thing monday morning.
3. I forgot to enter that note about Rinita.
4. Strength accumulates in the body in a series of traumas that turn into seizures if you’re not careful with how much media you consume.
“I feel confused.”
My legs were crossed and so were my arms. I take up as little space as possible, even in panic, I shrink to the size of a bean.
“Tell me more.”
Put me in your pocket. I began suddenly in the middle. He said mmm hmm when appropriate. I gestured to the air a lot. I let tears sting my face for the first time since my last partner told me I weaponized my own emotion to grab power.. He appeared amused by the way I mentioned synchronicity enough times and then on the other hand, but I would say it
“On the other hand.”
And I would dive into all the ways I understood textbook psychology, and stress and the ways it builds in you. What it is like to be surrounded by people with delusions.
“You understand, doing this,”I wave my hand his way. “The ways in which we infuse with others’ beliefs unnoticed.”
Tell him about the apparitions, Cat.
“You can’t take my spiritual practice away from me. It informs a big part of me.”
Tell him about the mirrors.
Intentional, distraught but I intentionally marched my way into the anxiety. It’s the anxiety of the ritual, of the ways in which I recount things.
“And then I began to list them.”
1. Write the note for Rinita
2. Check on Carlos first, but call Janelle and Peter, then go see Evelyn.
3. Buy wet food.
4.Throw away the stone on your dresser altar, it is cursed.
5. Jump off the bridge, Cat.
The bondage of safety, I craved safety.
Tell him how many times you rearranged your house this year.
“I can’t untangle these things and yet, I realize I am fully here and present in this body being eaten alive by the stress of my job and no finances and just trying to calm myself.”
I could have told that man I was thinking of tying myself to the bedpost and setting my apartment on fire but that I had no plan to do it and just imagined it because I compartmentalized emotion and understood that my ire at a system that failed had to be represented visually and turned internally.
Tell him about all the times you wore the red bracelet.
“It’s not suicidal ideation, it’s frustration.”
I was in no danger. He wasn’t listening and he won’t listen in the future. And I know, and I unburdened you of the mystery, because he referred me to a psychiatrist that doesn’t even take my health insurance, didn’t check my throat in which he would have discovered a goiter caused by hyperthyroidism which was causing several spikes in mania throughout the day leading to trembling panic attacks, spikes in mood, drops in mood and encouraging my sugar addiction. This would, in the future, grow so large that it would lead me to almost choke to death several times before medical intervention became necessary. He let me walk home, exhausted from sobbing for two straight hours about how my job was so stressful I did not know if I could last another day, that I sometimes think I make things happen with my mind but could also see myself falling into my clients delusions, that I was surrounded by nothing but people with bipolar, borderline and delusions, the only friends I had were either in crisis or community organizers so hanging out required untold amounts of labor poured into a person or project, that I daydream to escape this and that my spiritual practice guides some of my manifestation belief so it was hard to convince me that manifestation wasn’t real.
“That sounds confusing.”
He let me walk home that night in my tiny shorts. It had rained a little, so I was dotted with drops and full of terror. When I see you again, look me dead in the fucking eye and tell me men listen to women because your number is written in red and I distinctly remember asking you. I distinctly remember asking you. I distinctly remember walking across the bridge and asking you for help. You said (I do this out of spite), I distinctly remember because I catalog error
“I can’t get into any of this right now.”