I worked yesterday.
Early in the morning, on little sleep.
The morning prior to work involved a shower mishap that brought me back to falling flat on a wet floor the first day of the ill-fated semester of Spring 2013, and an odd interchange with the unusually grumpy man life, which brought back all sorts of memories filled with anger and verbal assaults, and I had to remind myself that no, I am not living that life anymore. I am not that girlfriend anymore.
Then I worked a crazy shift and had 5 hours until a Kirtan yoga/meditation group I had been relishing the attendance of since its existence first entered my awareness a week prior.
So, I wandered around New Haven in a barely conscious haze, spending money on brioche I couldn’t afford, attempting to read books I couldn’t concentrate on, staring at young, vibrant Yalies whose life was so close to my former life, the one that ended with the fourth hospitalization in 2009, and whose lives now seemed so immeasurably far away. I hated them with their promise and hope and respect and lives filled with jobs that aren’t minimum wage and homes that aren’t crumbling on their foundations.
I wondered if any of them had ever been called an overindulged lunatic by their grandmother. If any of them knew what it was like to be woken up at 5 AM by a schizophrenic performing an exorcism on a night nurse. If any of them were ever cornered by their boyfriend, were ever trapped against a wall by an acrid nimbus of cheap alcohol, were ever described as the “worst fucking thing that has ever happened.” If any of them woke up day after wretched day to their minds telling them that death would be preferable to their hellish life and the utter failure they have become. If any of them knew pain.
I tried to stay in New Haven, but I was so tired. I felt fragile. I craved nothing but sweets, and masochistic sex and my body kept unconsciously gravitating toward the mental illness section of the Yale bookstore and I knew that I needed to go home and get to sleep.
So, I did.
I barely made it home. I was so exhausted I nearly careened off the road. But I did.
I immediately fell asleep and dreamed horrific dreams. Dreams about him, about Jarett. Flashbacks and reconstructions. Him lying to me and screaming and becoming out of control, and me trying to convince him that this wasn’t right, that he was hurting me, and him telling me that I was crazy and too sensitive.
Finally, I remembered in the dream that I had a no contact order on him and I called the police, who got the address wrong the first time around, but were on their way when I woke up in a cold sweat.
My dad said he had come in while I was sleeping and I was white as a sheet.
Sometimes, I don’t even know how to make sense of all of this. These years of bipolar depression, the suicide attempts, the unplanned pregnancy, the adoption, the abusive boyfriend, the dreams deferred, the poverty, the fear.
My older sister, Shannon, upon hearing a story about a really terrible date with what turned out to be a drug-addicted misogynist that had occurred some five years past, looked at me and decided I must be paying on some heavy karmic debts from a past life.
Maybe. I’m crying as I write this. I am not a fan of crying. There was a period of time in the spring when I cried for six hours every day, right after Jarett had fallen off the bandwagon, when my sainted roommates were leaving for marriage and a condo and everything in my refuge of an apartment was haphazardly thrown into boxes, when any words, from newspaper articles up to to the cell biology texts I should have been memorizing, turned into a jumble of black before me. I hate crying. It doesn’t do anything. I know it’s supposed to release cortisol or some other stress hormone, but for me, it just leaves me depleted and reminds me of every other time in my life I have felt powerless and hopeless and every other less that exists but fearless.
Sometimes, I feel that I have royally screwed up this life. That I was supposed to do something, and didn’t, and the avalanche of trauma that has descended is some sort of cosmic punishment for failing.
Sometimes, I feel that my chance in this life is over, that I should just bide my time as quietly and uneventfully as possible until the inevitable occurs.
Sometimes, I feel that I should make the inevitable happen more quickly.
I talked with my sister, the younger one, Francesca, on the phone tonight. The lone sibling to have escaped the worst of mental illness. The one leading the closest to the normal American life with the normal American worries of a 24 year old college graduate.
She felt far away too. I didn’t know how to counsel her. Her life branched off a long time ago. I was calling her frequently in the spring, crouching on her for support in the maelstrom, until finally she told me pointe blank that she was sick of the endless conversations about my poor mental health, that she just wanted a sister she could call up and talk about How I Met Your Mother episodes.
I disliked How I Met Your Mother. I couldn’t relate.
Aaah, life. Where are your pieces? Where do I begin? How do I put you back together again. When will you make sense? When will the intrusive memories stop?
I really need to regulate my sleep.