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2021-10-19 13:47:52 (UTC)

the yawning day

"Coming Back to Me" by Leith Ross

October 19, 2021 Tuesday 1:48 PM

It does give my anxiety—to see the day stretch before me, and to see my own energy spread to the edges and fizzle.

I saw a therapist yesterday and it was an experience. I was surprisingly nervous (surprising to no one but me, I guess), playing with my knuckles and pinching my skin between my fingers. He had fidget things but didn't mention that until halfway through the session—having not considered that I'd want to use them, since I was an adult.

He kept saying that. "We're adults here." I know I am, if our metric is years. If it's something more abstract—which I suppose is the sort of measurement my subconscious subscribes to—I'd have to disagree. I'm not an adult. Or maybe that feeling proves even more that I've entered adulthood—since I remember all the young adults saying that they felt like kids playing dress-up or house.

And now it's me and it's not profound. It's just the way things go.

It's cold out enough that the air hurts my lungs when I pull it in during a run. The sun is even more scant, somehow. White skies, white skies. 10 AM looks the same as noon looks the same as 2 PM. Stagnant water breeds flies and mosquitoes, breeds disease and infection. The cats sneak into the woods to catch chipmunks and the guy next door uses a big beeping construction machine to trim the branches on the weedy Maple growing between our yards. Without my noticing, the entire tree disappeared completely and now when I look out the bedroom window, there's just a stump, thicker and squatter than I remember it being.

There's an unwritten list of the things I should be doing.

Like a video game with assets placed but not available for interaction—in other words, decorations—most of the things in this bedroom are not mine. If I flipped open that book, it'd probably be full of blank pages. That trashbag of old clothes, below the top layer is just low-poly filler. Maybe the doors on the dresser won't slide open at all, maybe the paintings have melted into the wall, maybe if I keep walking, I'll clip through the texture and see all the rooms and terrain around me in a mix of black and blue and white, sharp and thin polygons where the vectors were stretched one way or another—to mimic the curve of a hill, the corner where two walls make a room.

I've had a headache since approximately two weeks ago. I've tried to minimize the amount of Tylenol I take, but I let myself do two doses yesterday since I had to drive all the way to the counseling office. I gave the therapist a run-down of my mental health history. He asked if I had ever needed inpatient and I reviewed all of that. He asked what I meant when I said I used to try and "punish my body" or whatever it is I said. I told him I'd cut and take a bunch of over-the-counter pain meds to see what sort of impact it'd have on me, to see if people noticed. He asked what I meant when I said I thought my parents knew about it. I said they definitely did know. It was not a question.

Always weird to reflect on those things when a few years ago, it hurt a lot to think about and I was so bitter.

The guy asked where I went to school and I said "Rhode Island," and he asked where and I said, "Brown," and he said, "I had a feeling," and I said, "Oh?" and he said, "People who go to Ivy Leagues don't like to say that they went to Ivy Leagues," and I said, "But what else are you supposed to say?" If someone goes to SUNY Purchase and someone from Ohio asks where they went to undergrad, what's better to say? SUNY Purchase or outside New York City? It's not like the name of the school will often spark recognition or anything.

I figure as much with Brown. Brown isn't the most well-known Ivy League—I mean, I don't think I even knew it was an Ivy League until I was a senior in high school.

He conceded that perhaps he was wrong, but I mean, it's not completely untrue. My sister pointed out the same thing to me years ago, I think. But I just don't understand what I'm supposed to do. I'm not ashamed of going to Brown, I'm quite proud, but what does that matter to other people? Either they're going to be impressed for fairly unfounded reasons ("Oh, you must be smart," which is nice enough to hear!) or they're going to think I'm trying to show off or something. It's just a fear I have—in general, I don't see the upside to telling someone the name of the university I went to.

It still makes more sense for me to just say where I physically went to school. This was probably the most thought-provoking exchange of the session, oddly, even though I was reviewing things that are supposed to be quite dark.

"Do you mind if I take notes?"

Go right ahead, sir. I am here for exactly that reason. Document me, please.

I kept saying sorry. Even I found it odd. And then I said, "Sorry for apologizing so much," and I felt both stupid and cliché.

Makes me think of my childhood friend Alyssa, all of a sudden. We used to get annoyed because she'd always say sorry, sorry, sorry. She was such a nice girl. We used to play manhunt around the school. There was a hole in the chainlink fence behind some brush way in the back of the campus; we'd use it to climb through to someone's backyard on the other side of the block, a shortcut to her house. Her house scared me—the porch was sunken in, but mostly it creeped me out that it was dark and quiet inside—no, actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't scary. It was depressing. I think her mom worked the night shift and so was often sleeping during the day. Alyssa was bored a lot of the time, so she'd knock on my door, find people to play with around the neighborhood. Sometime's I'd hide below the window and pretend I wasn't home. I liked to be alone even back then, haha.

My mom is asking if I'm okay. If it were up to me, I'd never tell her I went to a therapist, but I'm on their insurance policy. My mom was like, "What'd you talk about," and I said, "Normal stuff." Why would I want to discuss the contents of my therapy session with my mom????? LOL. The whole thing is that I don't want to worry her, so I'll do whatever I can to be fine, and if I can't be fine, then I will try to act fine. I don't mind.

Anyway, in her eyes, it looks like I'm not eating very much these past couple days and she's only half-right. I'm not very hungry, but I am definitely eating, it's just out of her sight. I had ramen yesterday while she was at work. Then I ate part of my dinner, a lot of cheez its (I ate those in secret), and dark chocolate. Which feels like a decent enough amount.

I feel sluggish and empty, but not depressed. Or maybe this is a form of depression?????? Nooooo, I don't want that!!! Ahhh.

The therapist dude said he enjoyed talking to me and would've spoken to me another hour if he could. That felt nice. He tries to do meditation techniques as part of treatment. Since nothing else has really worked, I think I'm open to trying it. Being anxious and paralyzed is not a good look. It ain't cute.

I'm keeping up with running. It's probably the only thing I've kept up with, lol. I also made a Hinge profile. Idk why, really. I guess because I'm lonely and I want to kiss someone. But the problem with being me, is that almost no one is attractive.

I think I'm also quite superficial, because I want to keep myself young and relatively thin. Rationally speaking, not eating is bad because it affects my mood, makes me tired. But irrationally, I think it's better to not eat because I should lose weight.

Rationally, I actually don't need to lose weight. I get regular exercise and I eat a lot of vegetables and protein. Irrationally, I want a flat stomach and thinner arms. I want to be bony, but I'll literally never be bony because that's just not my body type. I think I'm more of an athlete type, a sprinter's look (minus the crazy abs).

And I want my skin to look nice so that I won't look old when I'm 30, despite my chronic lack of sleep. I just want to be pretty, I guess.

I really have to pee, now.

I'm thinking of going running right now and then taking a hot bath. I wonder if I'll get anything else done today. I hope I do.

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