I rode the wave for a couple of weeks. Could see the bottom, but my feet weren’t touching. Skirting the edge. Always.
Then, in the morning while I was standing in the bathroom doing my make up it finally caught up with me. Sinking. Gasping for air. Heart pounding. I was thirty minutes late for work.
When I got home my husband was still out. So I took a walk to nowhere in particular. Leaned against brick walls. Circled city blocks. Anything to not be home. To not be alone. Searched out safety.
Today I made it to the gym in the morning. But I didn’t make it to work. Laid on the couch in my gym clothes until noon. It got me.
Nothing “happened”. It’s always undramatic. The final switch flipped off, but the light it connected to was barely illuminating anything to begin with.
A slow sinking. A sun setting. Hurt that creeps in slow and disconnects me piece by piece until even the couch cushion I’m sitting on feels far away.
But somehow the work email was still checked and responded to. I didn’t drag myself to the store for bourbon or cigarettes or pints of ice cream. At no point did I curl up on the bathroom floor and sob. I didn’t take one of those five hour walks where I scrape my knuckles along concrete. Where I stand on the ground and look up at bridges and tell myself stories about how this all eventually ends.
Instead I watched a movie and a bunch of Seinfeld. Took a nap. Sat on the couch and stared out the window and texted my best friend.
And at 3:45 I got up, showered, and dressed. Sat down at our dining room table and wrote it all down. Tried to make sense of it. Tried to shake out patterns and identify sources. Pulled out fragments of my inner workings. Pieces of a pocket watch strewn in front of me. Each one serving a purpose I could name, clean off, and put back in.
It’s not getting any easier, but I’m getting better at it. At taking a breather and getting up again. If this is what bottoming out looks like now, I think I can deal with it.
Not gracefully. Not easily. I will not escape without wounds to lick.
But I think I can deal with it.