Her face was in her hands, her legs were crossed against her chest; knees digging in. She was hyperventilating. "You're okay." She repeats to herself over and over. Her lungs felt clogged, like water was trapped inside. "Breathe." She couldn't breathe, she couldn't stop rocking back and forth. Why was her acceptance making her feel physically ill? It took her years to accept it all and she thought she would be at peace with it but she was very wrong. It felt like someone was squeezing her lungs like a balloon. Why did she feel so much pain? Why was this step forward bringing her so much sadness and hurt? He was scared for her; she could see it in his blue eyes she had grown to love. She was a person that showed strength and held the world on her shoulders. Now she was crumbling. She was angry with herself, she could've sworn she hit bottom years ago. She kept everything hidden and locked away in her mind, and now the hinges were slowly breaking. She needed this pain to stop; she needed to feel whole again He wraps his arms around her shoulders and hugs her close. "I need..."
"What do you need baby? I'm here." He whispers in her hair.
"I need help."
The room was cluttered with people. A tiny funeral home with three hundred plus people would make anyone feel claustrophobic. That's why she spend the majority of her four hours there outside of the home. She couldn't face what was happening. Her mother was dead, what else was she supposed to do? "You really should go back inside to be with your dad." Someone say to her. She knew that, but she couldn't bring herself to be introduced to people she didn't know over and over again. She hated the "I'm sorry's" Why are you sorry? She wanted to say. You didn't kill her. She thought she was stuck in a dream, more of a nightmare. She was seventeen, a week away from starting her senior year of high school. She was supposed to be going school shopping; not a her mother's funeral. She wanted to scream until her lungs hurt. She couldn't cry. Her body had done enough of that. So many people were crying for her mother and she couldn't even shed a tear.
She'd wake up tomorrow and it will all have been a horrible nightmare. Everything would be back to normal. She would be normal.
She was nervous; today was her first day at an outpatient service for mental health disorders. She never did anything like this and had no idea what to expect. She never asks for help; she's always the one who's doing the helping. She sits down in a seat and glances around, so many unfamiliar faces, so many people seated all over the room. People with their own stories. The woman who was running the group looks at her. "It looks like we have a new face here. Welcome. Would you like to introduce yourself and if you want, to tell us why you're here?"
"Uh sure," she clears her throat; her palms began to sweat. I'm here so I don't kill myself. "I'm Olivia, I'm here because of my anxiety and I've been terrifyingly depressed lately. I'm here to hopefully make everything get better."
"Thank you Olivia, I hope this will work out for you."
"Me too." Olivia says with a small smile. She was there for five hours. She got to know some of the men and women in there. A lot of their stories made her heart ache but she could definitely relate to some of them. She didn't speak up, she refused to let her guard down in front of complete strangers. She wasn't ready yet. I'm twenty five, I should be better, I should be okay, why do I feel so weak? She could never keep her thoughts quiet. Her batteries never died and she barely slept because of it. She couldn't help but laugh about it, there was nothing else that was positive that she could do. Of course you're hallucinating Olivia, you haven't slept, those things aren't real. You're crazy, put the cuckoo back in the clock. She was crazy; she didn't understand why so many people in life would stand by her crazy. Her boyfriend especially, he didn't run away from her. He would always fall asleep before she did and she would often wonder why a man as beautiful as him would want to stay. He had asked her why she never talked about what she was going through with him, and her words cut him to the core. "I didn't want to burden you with my fucked up thoughts because you're going through stuff too. And I know you'd walk away like everyone else."
He cups her face, looking heartbroken. "Look at me. I love you. I don't know what I would do without you. Please. You can tell me anything."
She knew she was loved, by so many it seems. She was always afraid of love, always afraid of getting too close because it would just end up collapsing under her feet. That wasn't a way to live, she knew, deep down. She still felt empty. This whole getting help thing was so different for her, she was vulnerable and scared. She wanted her mom.
That delusion was gone though, her mom wasn't going to walk through the door at any moment. Part of her wanted that delusion back but it could possibly kill her this time. She grew up and her grief still dangled in front of her like a spider, but it was no longer consuming her life. She hid that sadness from everyone about her mom; she kept on that mask. To some, it wasn't such a shock when they found out about her inner struggles. Her grandmother was very grateful that she was on the people she could confide in. She took on the mom role and was Olivia's best friend. It was so difficult to talk "crazy brain" with people. If no one could physically see you in pain that means it's not real and you just have to suck it up, call it a day and it's all in your head. She has had this illness since she was a little girl at seven years old. She remembers her very first panic attack. She was in her mother's bedroom and feeling like she was dying. Her body felt hot, she wanted to vomit but nothing came out. Her mother hugged her close. "It's okay baby, Mommy's here."
"What's happening to me, mama?" She asks her mother, her voice shakes.
"Something in a million years I never thought would happen to you. You're having what they call a panic attack. Just breathe and it will all be over." She strokes her young daughter's hair and kisses her forehead.
"It hurts, Mom."
"I know but it will subside. I promise you."
It did subside but she would spend the next nineteen years of her life struggling with that disorder. Plus added depression. There's nothing worse than not knowing why you're sad all the time. Just knowing that you are, with no reason at all, and no triggers. Staying in bed all day was like a birthday present. She would continue to keep the extremes of her illness a secret. She didn't want to tell the people that loved her that she was screaming on the inside.
Screaming out loud would be heaven to her ears.