i say “i’m seeing a therapist” and he takes a step backwards. why he wants to know. what happened. what made me like this, basically. what was the final step that pushed me safely into the side of scary people like them.
there’s a lot i think about. like how my illnesses effect me outside of the actual symptoms. like beyond the weight there’s a second river to drown in.
i mean we don’t talk about having to stare at employment papers where they ask you to self-identify your problems. that little bead of sweat that forms when you worry - what if i don’t tell them and i need help? what if i tell them and they think i’m a risk factor? what if they won’t give me the job?
we don’t talk about the way some people act when they find out. the ones who are rude about it are one thing. but then there’s those people you thought were your friends who act like you just told them you’re infectious. who become weird and distant and suspicious like a switch flipped. like if they get to close to you, you’ll give it to them.
we learn to be okay with things we overhear on the bus but we never get used to it coming out of the mouth of the people we love. we carry this secret with us like a rotted fruit, clutching it to our bodies. we’re ashamed of our scars in front of our boss. we don’t talk about our panic attacks during lunch breaks. when the cop pulls you over “i’m disassociating” isn’t an excuse we can open the page on. when you watch people make these ranting posts about how real friends always text back, how if someone loves you, they’ll find the time to spend. success stories make other people cry with inspiration while some part of your brain is saying you can’t do that, you’re not like them. things are uglier at the bottom. you can’t explain why you can’t just make friends. you can’t write because you’re depressed but when you’re depressed you write best. you can’t eat today and no don’t ask why please. nevermind taking the train. never mind trying to be happy. never mind reading books and watching movies and wondering where exactly are people like you in hero stories. i watch a video where a man tells me that being depressed is just a mindset. when i wear all black someone remarks i look particularly emo today. it’s 2017 does anyone say emo anymore, i ask her, and she laughs, “you just look like one of those fake-depressed girls.” okay.
i don’t tell him my therapist is actually why things don’t happen anymore. why i’m getting a handle on it. my tongue feels swollen. i feel embarrassed talking about it. in the highest twist of irony, i think of how many people know my problems anonymously on the internet. i almost spill out all my troubles onto him. instead i tell him it’s just a precaution. that i think everyone should really see a therapist, they’re brain mechanics and we all need a tune-up now and then. he relaxes.
okay. okay. i’m sorry i’m one of them.