I think I may have a problem. I was never very good at setting goals, so I avoided making them. Kept my head down and said I had to follow the path chosen for me. Then all of a sudden I became a person that made too many of them. I don’t really know where I am looking as I make them… Just that there seems to be so many.
Yesterday I really hit on quite a few. I was lucky in that the morning class to hell I had was cancelled. This meant I didn’t have to leave early or miss a class to get to my big promise to myself: Follow through with registering with the OSD (Office of Student Disabilities). I was going to keep my promise and actively fight against my remaining sin of pride and my anxieties. I was going to accept that people needed help and that wasn’t wrong or bad. It didn’t matter about silly things I remembered from being a kid. That it was wrong to expect a kid to be able to sit in class with a hundred and four degree fever, not get caught and be sent to the nurse’s office, to let it affect me in a way that would require my parents knowing of this, all for the sake of the paper official pride of our family’s last name. These silly little things I carry with me and allowed to shape me.
The thing is I didn’t quite realize I was incapable of realizing how much it would hurt to be there in that office. From the second I notified the front desk I was here for my appointment a panic attack made an intense stabbing pain in my chest. I had my eyes trained on the floor as I waited there for my turn. I had chosen to get there 20 minutes early in case of fear of being late, so let’s just say my head had been hanging low for quite awhile.
The first problem, or fear of my promises, was when I looked up for the first time. One of the counselors was in a wheel chair, had limited range of movement and a slight speech impediment. And he was happy. Very happy. Smiling so widely one could think he was on drugs to be that positive. I mean McGill is equally hellish on staff. I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy in my life. Certainly, I wasn’t really happy since all of this began. but he was, so goddamn happy. I wasn’t like him. Nothing kept me in a chair everyday, made my occasional slur that bad, or was a constant mobility challenge. That was the first sharp needle to my chest.
The next one came when I met my counselor. She was a beautiful woman who could literally be the picture example of chipper in the dictionary; even started the meeting with an adorably unfunny joke. When I met her I was thankful about one thing, one skill I had: I was never someone to stare. I had grown up around a lot of crazy. I had seen people do a lot of things to stare at. I had volunteered at a special Olympics and been someone who hadn’t ever looked at them like something damaged. I felt proud about that; like i had retained some sort of of a kindness among everything that made up me. And I didn’t stare. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was this beautifully woman was marked with a scar from her mouth to her chin. An obvious speech impediment from the moment she opened her mouth. Yet, she was the pictorial example of chipper.
I sat there explaining to her that I had no idea what I was supposed to say or what I was supposed to ask for. She smiled as she took my medical records for me and read through them. The first things she came up with was a general outline of things people usually requested for similar issues. Me, in all my awkward forced type a pride, immediately responded to her I probably wouldn’t need most of those things. I could get to my class on the hill if I left an hour early. I had teachers who were willing to work with me, and had two to three breaks to help with staying focused in class. I could manage my sleep and focus issues well enough with ritalin and ZzzQuil. Then I went silent at the sight of a lack of pity. She was only smiling more as she took my hand. “A lot of the students who walk through this door are recently diagnosed and in a state of confusion about what they’ll need and how to handle it. You have what we call an invisible illness. It’s something that can be hard to understand sometimes.” My anxiety was the only thing that kept me from breaking down into tears…And my unconscious decision to pretend I didn’t know what an invisible illness was.
The truth was since I walked in there all I did was feel ashamed. First, I was ashamed about needing help. I wasn’t supposed to have to change my life or do things differently. Then I felt ashamed for needing such help when the people around me seemed to need it more and were so happy. Ever since I’ve had this moment in my life I’ve finally come to the point of pitying myself again. Having to recognize all these things about yourself hurts. I was weak, damaged, unfit to move as expected, full of mental health issues both inherited and nurtured, fat because of bad decisions when in decline, alone because of an an inability to connect properly with people or the willingness to even try. I was me, and I hated that.
I remember walking home from the meeting in a haze. Everything seemed to swirl around me. My eyes were stinging and my fingers and knees hurt. I even wondered if the pain in my chest would cause a heart attack. Wondered if finally I would go to sleep and simply just not wake up. Would I be able to find some sort of relief in this… I don’t even remember arriving back into my apartment.
The next thing I remembered was it suddenly being nine at night. Nothing accomplished. Nothing done. I was still in the nicer clothes I had put on for my meeting. The day before I had promised myself I would be productive since I had a lucky day off. I clearly hadn’t been productive. I clear hadn’t really been anything. The realization scared me more then anything. Not only had I been so okay with not achieving a minor goal of trying to be productive, but I was having a weird relationship with time. It was either moving agonizingly slow, or moving in a way I wasn’t even aware of, It made me so scared.
Not only was my brain no longer working the same. Not only couldn’t I remember things the way I used too, connect dots the way I used to, not have my head feel like it was splitting open, or be able to picture things so clearly in my head it was like a scene matched with perfect words. Now, I couldn’t even recognize time properly. Was I more depressed then I realize? More crazily scattered? More hyper focused? More anxious? More of anything? Maybe I was getting worse with age like my family dead. There were so many crazies in my family. So many with a mental decline. Would I be able to remember anything of the languages I learned at this point? Everything felt like it was slipping away from me. Understanding and memory the most. I couldn’t remember half of the things I used to, and the things remaining were mostly things that hurt. What a duechy selectiveness my brain was having.
I don’t know what I am becoming, or what I will become. I don’t know how to ask for help. Certainly, I don’t even know how to accept the help offered to me when there exists someone who might understand what it like for hell to be invisible. The more things I don’t know are increasing every day.
I think there exists a lot of promises I’ve made to myself that I haven’t been able to keep. Yet, more and more are being made and asking for resolution. I don’t think they will get that resolution. I don’t think I am capable of giving it.
I think I am falling. Deeper and Deeper. Faster and Faster. There is no end in sight, but a certainty that when I fall it will be painful, excruciating and then finally nothing.
Mighty Long Fall – ONE OK ROCK