I was sitting as still as I could on our old couch, but time seemingly didn’t notice my static state and continued to blissfully tick as I sat there, my body as a statue and my mind as a vortex. It was only 10 minutes until my first shift, my first real shift anyway, at my newest job, and I did not want to lose this opportunity.
“ How pitiful am I, to not even be able to go to a job that I want to do? “
“What on Earth is wrong with me?”
These are the things that circulated through my skull and my sullen eyes were too tired to weep any longer. I knew I couldn’t make it into work, not like this, not with who I am. I had to give my new boss a call, though she would be incredibly disappointed in me there is always the chance that she might understand; maybe she’s just like me? Then that would mean I am not alone…I must call her!
“Yes, hello, I am sorry for my voice, I’ll try to speak clearly. I do not think I will be able to make it in today, I didn’t tell you during the interview, (because I wanted to get the job), but I have a pretty severe case of depression and anxiety. I am having a really bad panic attack right now, and I am unfit to drive or be in public, I’m so sorry about the inconvenience, I am. I just really can’t come in, and I apologise.”
Now at this point I have finally found a sliver of stability, and I am clutching onto it with all that I am in silence and anticipation of the words that will follow mine; this is all I can do.
“Ah, I’m sorry to hear. Now, please breath and calm a little bit, do you want some advice? I think that you should ‘man-up’ and come to work, depression is an excuse for the weak and I know that you’re smart and strong, I believe in you.”
“You’re right, thank you so much. I appreciate it, and I’ll see you soon.”
In that moment some demons had lent me some power, some words, for spending so much time with them in the darkness. They knew what needed to be said, they always do, they know how to get what they want. Simply say the right things and people will believe anything you say. The lies I’ve learned to tell from the demons on my shoulders could trick even the most devilish of souls, and I wouldn’t feel an ounce of regret.
I did not go to work, I instead drove crying-eyed to my G.P. (General Practitioner)’s office because he told me if I was ever in trouble, that I should go there. I did not know what else to do because those words cut deeper than I thought and I lost all ties to who I was, and the demons had only lent me a couple words. I sped there as quickly as my patchwork car could take me, and I opened the doors in haste and heavy-handed, which led me to meet the gaze of my favourite nurse.
The question was innocent enough, to be fair to the rest of the world. The nurse simply wanted to know if that was my name, if that was who I was. Clearly I seemed to be quite like the man, entering the building like that, for her to think of the name so quickly; it could not have been simply sitting on the top of her head. Those words poured over me like the thickest ink I have ever come upon, and it soaked me through to the soul and I felt a shiver of which I’d not like to remember, if I could forget.
Mark is the name of my alcoholic father, the man that I drunkenly vowed through vomit and tears countless times that I would never become. I will admit that at the time I knew him a lot less than I do now, as I am him and he is I and that is something I cannot escape, and my reaction was harsher than it would be now. There is a part of me that will never forgive either of us for that day.
Once the ink had claimed me I tried to clean them with tears though they were not quite so sour to make much of a difference. The nurse acted quickly and I thank her for that, she knew I was in danger and truly I was; I had already died and simply just had to wait. She sat with me and asked me to promise her that I would drive my sorry self to the hospital, and check myself into the emergency department. I obliged, though I think it was only because I was much too afraid of everything else.
That rusty car seemed to move through tar while my mind was moving faster than any plane I’ve ever been passenger to, and I told myself under my breath as convincingly as I could,
“We don’t have to crash here, no, we don’t have to die. We can make it to the hospital, we can try. We can do it, can’t we? We have to make it there. We don’t have to crash here, no, we don’t have to die. We don’t have to die.”
A part of me died that day, and I’m glad to never meet it’s unmarked grave again, and a warrior was born within those hospital walls. I found hope at the end of my life, but I hope to show people theirs before they get there. I have an idea that I’d like to help teach the world how to dance with their shadows, instead of run from them. How to use their weaknesses and ugly bits to be their real strengths. I want to teach people that they’re not the horrible things they think they are, and that simply, they are not alone. Not any more.
I am currently an aspiring poet/writer, and I try to help through the community when I have it in me to do so. I love to read the likes of Charles Bukowski, Christopher Poindexter, Marisa Crane and other poets of the sorts, those that are a bit more bare.
Tyler can be found on Instagram.
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