As bad as it was for me, mentally and emotionally. I held onto that relationship. It was one sided in effort but Sam had told me that he loved me and I took that seriously. I wanted it to work. I really did but I was struggling to get him away from the computer and away from April and Holly so I could just be with him.
It all came to a head when I had a breakdown. I was admitted to an inpatient ward. I needed help. I needed something to change. The medication that I was being prescribed wasn’t working and my doctor wasn’t much help. I sat in group and art therapy in an attempt to figure out what it was that I actually felt beside raw. My nerves were on fire. I felt like I had clawed my arms to pieces but there was still skin left to destroy. But as I sat in those sterile white rooms in pajamas and listened to the other people, I realized, that I didn’t belong there.
I knew I was sick. I knew that I needed help. I had come into the ward voluntarily. The others were there because they had actionable problems- they were suicidal, homicidal, needed rehabilitation from drug addictions. In the face of someone whose arms were covered from shoulder to wrist in cut scars, my problems were trivial. I had issues sure, but I didn’t want to stop living. I cared too much about my family to do it. I needed help and the doctors told me that they couldn’t help me. They adjusted my prescription for antidepressants, told me to come in to talk to a counselor to refill my medication. That’s all they could do for me, I was unwell, but I would be fine without them unless I was likely to actually hurt myself.
I am grateful for the perspective. But I was upset because I had been deemed unworthy of help because I was actively trying to get better. I wanted to feel like i had value again. I wanted to feel… wanted.
There is this one thing we learned in group therapy that I still reflect on. I still have the piece of paper they handed me. They called it the “Stages of Recovery” and asked us where we thought we were on it. It is as follows:
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in this same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I fall in...it's a habit...but my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down a different street.”
When I was in the hospital I had said I was at Stage 3. I was aware I was in the hole and it was my fault. I hadn’t gotten out of it but I knew why I was there. It was this fact that alienated me from the others in therapy. I recognized that I had the ability to heal myself. I just needed to get out of the damn hole.
Then I got the phone call. Holly called to tell me that she had taken Sam out on a date and slept with him, but she laughed and asked if I minded since we weren’t dating any more. I almost snapped my phone in half. This was a revelation to me. Sam had said we weren’t dating? Why hadn’t anyone, especially Sam told me that it was over?
I said something like, “I guess not.” And hung up. I was reeling. My friend had just laughed at my feelings. Sam hadn’t bothered to get hold of me when I was in the hospital. I did have missed calls from work, Dawn, Tammy, and Lisa. They cared that much, at least. I sat in the dark for a while after Holly’s call. I was angry, dejected and a little bit relieved.
I was free. No more World of Warcraft. No more all day raids. I could never log in and be done with it. If he had written me off enough to fuck someone else, and not actually tell me we had broken up, then fuck him. Holly could have him. I didn’t need him. I felt worthless since I wasn’t even worth a break-up text.
It took me a little while sitting alone in my room to figure out what to do next, after I snapped my game disk and uninstalled that damn game from my computer. My mom came by with cookies and a smile to see how I was doing post hospital and I just couldn’t hide it. I told her what happened with Sam. Mom told me that he was a jerk and suggested that I ask Shep out. He was a nice guy and a member (technically) of the same church, I was friends with him so why not? After my mom left and we had our fill of sugar and teary chatter, my phone rang.
It was Shep, it had gotten through the rumor mill of the church that I had been in the hospital and he was checking in on me. He had never called me before. It must have been providence. The timing of that call was too perfect. I asked Shep if he wanted to go to a movie with me and he accepted. I was never so happy for someone to say “yes”.
To be continued in Beginning Part 3!