This road is lonely.
He told me one observation about me was that I always seemed to ask for permission. I sat on his couch calculating in my mind how I should act.
Days before, I’d walked at least 15 blocks from my office to attend a therapy session because it seemed I needed it. My mind felt strangely crisp like a fall leaf. My thoughts fell slowly, steadied by the wind that wrapped around me as I spiraled my way to a bottom that I always anticipated may come.
When I arrived, it wasn’t what I expected at all. I was at the wrong building and entered to find mostly quiet and empty offices. I did see one office that offered counseling, for drug addicts. I called the number taped on the door because I really needed help right away, junkie or not.
No one answered.
“If you feel you may hurt yourself or someone else, or if this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 9-1-1.”
I felt so alone and yet I wasn’t ready to die. Or to kill anyone.
Maybe I just needed someone to talk to.
My walk had been in vain and I felt even crazier at this point. Crazy because a persistent voice mercilessly drove me to seek help. Seeking this help felt like an out of body experience. My choice was compulsive. Muted by my desire to be sane. Complicated by my duty to appear as having it all together. I was being pragmatic by seeking help rather than turning in a two-week notice.
The long walk back to my sullen high rise in high heels though not high on drugs, apparently a pre-requisite to addiction counseling, convinced me I’d ventured far enough out of the good neighborhood to earn a diagnosis as bipolar.
I resolved right then and there that once I finally found a therapist through the benefits for my job, I’d Uber to the session, no matter what the compulsion.
I’d not try to walk.
I’d not fight the traffic.
I’d not chance being raped.
The therapist I finally located called to do a pre-screening over the phone. At this point I feared I may erratically quit my job to run away from the intense disappointment I felt in not having a creative outlet for my neurosis. My job role required that I appear normal. Professional. Calm. Together. Not too out there. It obliged me to walk briskly, in a straight line to the break room. Dancing in the hallways would be perceived as unprofessional. Striking up a conversation with a colleague would border-line on insanity, even though on some hypomanic days I couldn’t help but look up from stirring my coffee to comment on the weather.
Putting these thoughts aside, I noticed a new voicemail. I didn’t want to return his call, but I desperately needed help at this point. So, I traveled back down the cramped elevator from the 30th floor, sat outside at a table on a cold, damp metal chair beside a cascading water fountain that flowed freely as if to mock my corporate imprisonment. Feeling the sludge of racing thoughts slowed by indifference, I mustered all the strength I could find to dial him back.
#therapy #bipolar #mentalillness #career #job