As it turns out, that dream lady was my father's grandmother who died before I knew who she was. I'd never seen any pictures, I'd only heard her name sporadically up to that point, but when I described her years later to my dad who was drunkenly telling me about her, he froze. He said "That's her." Freaky, right?
And she wasn't wrong.
Since midnight December 31st of 2016, everything seemed to get astronomically harder. It was like the weight I was already carrying had extra gravity put on it. I typically manage everything well enough to not present to the world how much everything hurts me, or how much pressure I'm under to do right, not by anybody else's standards but by my own which are damn near impossibly high.
So February I attempted to jump off a parking structure and was stopped by a co-worker. I was put in the hospital on the mental ward floor and doped to high heaven. I met so many people in there, all struggling, all smart and beautiful and damaged to themselves beyond repair. I was formally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II, put on a medication plan and sent away after four days with no way to buy the medication they'd had me on.
6 days later, I walked into traffic. I was stopped before something terrible happened by my best friend A, who drove me, literally kicking and screaming, back to the hospital. I stayed another 4 days and determined I never wanted to go back there again.
They made me feel, by virtue of their treatment and the things I would hear them say when they thought I was sleeping, that I didn't belong there. Hell, they said I didn't belong there. But I did, maybe not at their facility, but one that tried to understand more about me and the pressure I was under to be so much more than I was, one that would actually help me.
Sometimes though, I miss it. There's a comfort in there, a quiet that seems endless. There's always someone there to check on your vitals, to keep you alive. There's always snacks. There's always a therapy group to go to. There's always a bed to lay on. More than any of that, there's all this time to separate yourself from the trouble outside of it. There's time for you to nurture yourself that you don't get when you're outside.
So by the end of March, by nature of the fact I hadn't been for most of the month, I'd lost my job and couldn't get on unemployment. I was terrified. I'd never been fired before and I felt helpless. But my best friends A&W kept me afloat, my parents did what they could to help, and I was only unemployed for 2 or 3 weeks because I'm the kinda bad bitch that won't be kept down by silly shit like "joblessness" when I have things to do.
And here I am, half way through the hardest year of my life, still struggling and feeling like I'm drowning. Every day it's a different kind of drowning, and not always a bad kind. Some days, I drown in myself; I look at all my accomplishments and my goals, I look at my pretty face and fine-ass figure, I color or I write and immerse myself in the parts of my spirit that are placid and warm. Some days I drown in the sadness that's like a dark, deep ocean; out there it feels like nobody sees you struggle, nobody can help you, and you've just got to let it take you deeper into the cold, and some days I do.
More often than not, I'm fighting to stay afloat. I get out of bed when I'd rather not. I don't drink alcohol when I'd rather wake up to that more than Folger's in my cup. I go to work, I hang out with my friend, I listen to music. I live even when it's fucking painful to do so.
And it's the hardest thing I've done, and continue to do.