The day I realized I was actually getting better

It is 10:30 p.m. My windows are open. The night is cool. My light is on and I’m laying in bed still in the clothes I was in when I came home at 8:30 p.m. from work. I know that I smell like chicken and frying oil and possibly a bit sweaty, but my nose is too clogged from my allergies to smell anything at all. I am scrolling through Facebook, the little pictures and words going too fast for my eyes to actually recognize who I’m seeing and for my brain to actually process what I’m reading. From the outside, all is well.

On the inside, I am screaming. I want to cry. I want to throw things. I want to wake everyone up. I want to break things. I want to bang my head against the wall until I can process nothing but the pain.

I want, I want, I want turns into I need, I need, I need.

Instead, I lay very still. My fingers continue to flick upwards. I scroll faster. I have never felt more comforted by the steady blue bar on the top of the page. No matter how quickly I scroll, it will remain.

I count my tabs. Twenty.

I count them again.

I count them again.

I count them again.

I am still screaming.

I pull up my notes and think about the things I need to do. Take a shower. Take your medication. Go to sleep.

The cursor blinks, and my fingers are poised to begin typing. They find my trackpad. I find the red x. I am staring at Facebook again.

I count them again. My fingers clench and unclench.

I count them again. This time, I mouth the words but no sounds emerge. For now, the feeling of my lips moving to form the familiar shapes of the numbers is enough.

I count past 20 until I reach 300.

I try to think about what to do next. My mind is blank. I try again. I try again. I try again.

I am crying. Sound has yet to emerge. I try to think about why I am sad.

I have not showered in two days.

Strike one.

I have not worked out in more than two weeks.

Strike two.

I have not been consistently taking my medication.

Strike three.

I’m out.

Suddenly, it’s not a mystery anymore. For a fleeting moment, I am proud of myself for being able to recognize it.

I get out of bed and walk to the other side of my room, stepping over the clothes scattered all over my floor until I arrive to the full body mirror hanging on my bathroom door.

For a moment, I am back in college. For a moment, I want to throw myself onto the floor and wait for the morning to come. For a moment, I am completely and utterly disgusted with myself. But then my eyes find the black scribbles on my mirror.

“You are beautiful.”

“Smile sunshine.”

“The reflection in this mirror does not reflect your self worth.”

“You are a twenty dollar bill”

“Show up to your own fight”

I think back to a happier day when I took my sharpie and quickly scribbled these messages along my mirror. I knew I would need them.

I find my own eyes and hold my own gaze. I do not know how long I stand there for.

It feels like an eternity before I break the silence of the night with a voice I do not initially recognize as my own.

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