May 13, 2017

Standard

Diagnosis Guilt (Part 2)

Each slight movement of her friends, her ears picked up. Darcy’s fingers tapping on her thigh. Aimee’s fingers combing through her hair. Lila’s steady breathing. Roarke’s thumping leg. Paul’s shifting against the couch. Comforting yet the most nerve wracking sounds in the world. 

Emma’s eyes locked with Darcy’s, blue into brown, ice and water into earthy soils. She lost herself in those eyes, finding the confidence she had lost long ago. They seemed to send her messages, of hope, of courage, of strength. She dared not break her concentration on them for fear she would back down. She couldn’t afford another back down. Not after last time. Not with the time they have left before the great graduation diaspora. 
“Listen,” she began, her voice foggier than she had hoped, “we’ve known each for a long time now…”

”Four years and counting,” Aimee chimed in. Always the one to deal the show. Regret welled up inside Emma’s chest. Why did she invite Aimee again? 

Darcy’s snapping her fingers refocussed her attention. “I think it’s important that you all know this about me. We only have a couple months left together before…” She choked over the words, you leave me. A sensitive subject. Thinking about it caused Emma’s pulse to pick up. She could feel each beat coursing through her veins. Her fingers clenched, a ball arming inside her too-long sweater sleeve. 

Emma breathed in, the air rushing in in measured gulps. Each one, she paced to a beat, in an attempt to calm herself. It didn’t always delivered the desired results. “I have this–this thing. People call it a disorder. And before you ask, yes, I’ve been diagnosed.” 

She felt the unease ripple through the room. Eyes closed, she ignored it. An ungainly silence fell over the group as the silence within surrendered to the newfound but not unfamiliar chaos. Everything became personal. Her subconscious teased her body– back, shoulders, neck, even her wrists and fingers felt the weight. Cracking her knuckles, she heard her wrists begin to pop. Each new turn of the wrist brought an unpleasant symphony of the sounds. She winced. 

Again refocussing on Darcy, Emma steadied her breath. Her next words, she addressed to Darcy, in every way but uttering her name. “I know some of you claim you do, too, or that you know what it’s like, but I also know you’re self-diagnosed. Any idiot can type those letters into a Google search box and get the same results. You wouldn’t self-diagnose a brain tumor or a deadly disease. Why should this be any different?

“I feel guilty for bringing this up,” Emma said, turning away from Darcy’s gaze. “I know it isn’t easy. I know it might feel like you do have something, and you might, I don’t know. I’m as qualified to diagnose you as you are to diagnose yourself. I’m not trying to disregard you or your struggles. I know this is delicate. Trust me, I do. 

“And as much as I wish I could say I believe you one hundred percent, I can’t. It’s hard enough to do that with an actual diagnosis. I’ve been diagnosed several times and I still find myself in denial. I’ve been on medication for it several times. I’ve had therapists mention it. I have a real diagnosis and I often choose to deny it. Out of fear. Out of a wish to be normal. 

“So please understand when I say this: hearing you offhandedly mention it upsets me. You don’t really know. It could be a coping mechanism for you to believe it, an excuse. But please understand that it isn’t for me. For me, this is very real. The overwhelming fear I experience on a daily basis…” 

Emma raised her eyes and for the first time in her whole speech, she glanced at everyone. Her eyes made contact with every other pair of eyes. Each held emotions she only imagined she would see: pity, empathy, sorrow, caring, love. A wave washed over her, a wave of affection flooding her systems, causing her to collapse. 

Each friend stood to join her. Darcy. Roarke. Lila. Paul. Aimee. Each embraced her like the world had died. No one said a word. Their affection said it all for them. 

And in that moment, for the first time in her memory, Emma feared nothing. 

* * * 

Prompt: Finishing yesterday’s story. I would have finished it yesterday, but I was half asleep at my keyboard. 

May 12, 2017

Standard

​Diagnosis Guilt
The incessant pounding of her heart deafened her, all other sounds coming as little more than background noise. In an attempt to calm her boisterous nerves, she breathed in, counting each breath. With each breath, she noted what she sensed: the faint scent of baking chocolate chip cookies; the restless rustling of clothing against clothing; the slightest dent in the door, giving it character; the carpet prickling the soles of her feet.

Her hand clasped the doorknob, its cold metal awakening her nerves to the present and calling her forth out of the disaster-run fantasy hidden behind her gentle, shy eyes and between her ears. With a single motion, she pushed the door open to face her friends, the people she trusted most in the world. Darcy, the girl she told all her troubles. Aimee, the girl she worked with. Lila, the girl she felt in charge with (a strange occurrence, indeed). Roarke, the guy who she could always count on for a hug. Paul, the guy who noticed her at her worst.

She waved a little wave, a nervous giggle accompanying. The eyes of her friends boring into her soul, she shifted her weight from foot to foot. Her fingers tangled themselves in the stretch of her jacket. Clearing her throat evolved into a fit of coughing as her friends watched her flounder. Tears, half of fear, half a result of her coughing, welled behind her eyes, but she demanded they stay put. These, too, like everyone else, refused to listen to her authority and laughed in her face.

Not a finger, not a foe, moved on the couch. Her friends sat is deadly silence, gazing upon her, their expressions tainted by worry and pity. “You don’t have to tell us, Emma, if it’ll be too painful,” Darey said, breaking the silence. But Emma’s stony gaze reminded Dary of how far Emma had come — and how she had come to aelieve it.

Emma took a moment to take care of a few last minute things, eyes closed She rolled her sleeves to her elbows. She adjusted her hair to lie as it should. Her sleeves rolled down. She adjusted her glasses. Sleeves up. Her fingers lingered on the earrings she always wore, her mother’s. Sleeves down. Determination, appeared. Target, selected. Going down the line, she sought the attention of others.

* * *
Prompt : An internal monologue I had. TBC, hopefully tomorrow.

April 21, 2017 (A Day Late) 

Standard

Defenses Up

They’re ignoring you again, her brain said. 

She stood in a circle with her friends, her closest on her right, standing perhaps too close for the comfort of her friend. She didn’t mind it. The closeness comforted her, let her know that she did indeed exist, with every little brush against her friend’s arm or every little shift of the air as her friend shifted from foot to foot. 

They don’t even see you anymore, her brain said. 

She looked around at her friends, their smiling faces and their laughter inundating her senses, filling her heart. The friend on her right brushed against her as they laughed. It filled her with the warmth of love and affection. 

Yet still her brain protested. They haven’t spoken to you or acknowledged you in years! it said, despite the greeting she had received just minutes earlier when she joined them in their circle.  

True, she noted, that since then, her friends hadn’t spoken a word to her. Their conversation bounced from topic to topic: Star wars to philosophy to marriage to the future. No one minded much. Most had things to say on every subject, but she stayed quiet. She might say the wrong thing. She might sound ignorant. She might deserve ridiculing laughter. Too much was at stake, her dignity above all, to raise up her voice and speak.  

They don’t care about you, her brain said. 

She could feel it in her bones. The prickling underneath her skin. The heaviness weighing on her shoulders. The blank blackness covering her mind. The chasm that seemed to form between them. They started to drift away! Their voices sounded further. She could no longer shift from right to left and feel the brush of her friend’s shirt against her skin. They started to fade! 

They’re leaving you, her brain said. 

And indeed, they had begun to walk away, mouths moving but as silent as the old films. Her closest friend brushed past, but the contact felt like nothing. No warmth passed between them. The affection had died. 

Panicing, she reached out and grabbed her friend’s hand, her fingers enclosing it in a firm grasp. “Don’t leave me alone,” she whispered, the words out of her moth before she even knew the desire to speak them. Her grasp tightened, drawing her friend in closer. Fighting back tears, a losing battle, she whispered the words again. “Don’t leave me alone.”

Arms embraced her, pulling her in with a squeeze. Her senses opened up again, warmth flooding through her veins as her skin made contact with her friend. “Never,” her friend responded, voice lower than a whisper, affectionate and intimate. “Never.”

***

Prompt: Inspired by a conversation I had about defense mechanisms. 

April 17, 2017

Standard

Under Pressure 

Her head ached from the pressure building between her two ears. It happened every time stress invaded her life. Every time without fail. Her head felt about to explode. Her eyes itched and drooped, wanting nothing more than to give in and give way. Her stomach flip-flopped, one second feeling fine but changing its mind within milliseconds. Her entire body screamed with the pressure. 

“Just leave me alone!” She screamed. At her computer. At her books. At her phone. At anything that caused her any little stesss. 

And, yes, that included her voluntary tasks. 

***

Prompt: Yet another about my state of mind. Sorry for cutting it short. It’s been a long weekend. 

April 14, 2017

Standard

I Blame the Dehydration 

1:30 am. I wake up. I sit in bed, listening to music and dozing for the next several hours. Probably the nest, most relaxed part of my day. 

8:00 am. I get up. I finally pull myself out of my half asleep stupor and make myself start my day. I’m a little quite, a little unsure what to do or say, but all is well all the same. After all, I don’t have to be talking all the time. 

8:30 am. I start feeling sick. Cramping (but that’s not unusual, considering my current station in life). Lightheadedness. Nausea. The cramping is the worst. It is probably the cause of the other two. Lovely. What a great start to my day!

9:30 am. That’s when I actually get sick. The cramping gets the best of me, knocking me to my knees. It isn’t a pretty sight. But then again, when was this sight ever?

10:00 am. I watch a movie, desperately trying to find some relief somewhere. Sleep is one of them. I keep my water handy, but refuse food because then stomach sickness doesn’t stop. Joy. 

11:30 am. By now, I have everyone worried. I still haven’t gotten any better. I feel just as bad as I did before. On the urging of my mother, I ask my roommates to help me get to urgent care. I almost pass out along the way. 

1:30 pm. After finally finishing the paperwork just to get me in the door, I start to feel better. Ironic, no? And soon after, my name is called. “Annamarie!” Because “Annie” isn’t my legal name. I am called by my full name more tines today than I have been in years. 

2:45 pm. I am released with the words, “Good to the ER. Get an IV. You’re extremely dehydrated.” This after trying to draw blood and coming up empty. This after doing tests to see if something else caused my pain and my sickness. Simply dehydration. I know some people aren’t very happy about that one. 

3:30 pm. Our ride doesn’t arrive, so we choose to walk. We think we’re headed to the right place, only to discover upon arrival that our destination is actually on the other side of town (and definitely not within walking distance). Another Uber is called. 

4:00 pm. We finally arrive at the ER. At first, I am called back in quick succession. Triage. Blood work. EKG. X-ray. Bam, bam, bam, bam! But after that it slows… 

6:00 pm. And slows… 

7:30 pm. And slows…

8:00 pm. Until around 8 in the evening, my name–“Annamrie!” alone because no one dares try the master name–is called and I am taken back. 

8:30 pm. I am finally attached to the IV. The one thing I’ve been waiting for at last! 

9:15 pm. But, alas, they have more plans for me. More tests. They send me to a CT scan, where I stare at the ceiling for several seconds as I feel an unnatural warmth spread through my body. Not entirely unwelcome after sitting in the freezing hallways. But a frightening experience all the same. As I lie there, half of me wishes my parents could be here, rather than a thousand miles away prepping for bed.  

10:00 pm. After going through all those tests, I find out that nothing is actually wrong with me, other than the aforementioned dehydration. I probably could have told you that. I suppose it’s better safe than sorry, especially in situations like these. I don’t blame the medical professionals for keeping me in the ER for six and a half hours. 

10:30 pm. I am discharged! At last! Oh, sweet, sweet relief! No more machines. No more needles. No more hospital. At last, oh, at last!

11:00 pm. I arrive home. Rather than crawling into bed and passing out (as my body wishes I would), I instead write this, because my mind is more awake than it has been all day. I blame the dehydration for that one. 

***

Prompt: Narrate the day you had, since we all know how eventful it was. 

April 13, 2017

Standard

Betrayal of Self

How do I explain
This feeling of
Betrayal
Abandonment
When my friends acted
In no way
Against me.
All they did
Was choose to volunteer
To have their feet washed
At Holy Thursday mass.
I, too, could have volunteered.
Perhaps I, too, should have.

But instead
I chose misery.
I chose tears.
I chose loneliness.
Isolation.
Because that apparently
Is my natural state.
Always miserable.
Always alone.
It’s a wonder I even have friends.

I chose this.
This suffering
Is suffering I inflicted
On myself.
I didn’t have to.
I didn’t have to.
I could have been happy.
I could have been free.
I could have been together.
But I chose the only route
I seem to know:
The route of loneliness
And self-pity
And tears
And self-hatred
And isolation.
A route only an idiot
Would take willingly.

I
Am that idiot.
Hear my cry.
***

Prompt: A poem explaining my current emotional state. Because I do that a lot.