My mental illnesses in concert

by | Feb 4, 2023 | DominiQue Christina Day One

I shoulder open a heavy oak door without a handle. In almost the center of the door, but slightly askew, a misshapen piece of beveled glass sits- not quite purple not quite black, almost blue but not exactly. If the shade had a name on a paint chip sample, maybe it would be haunting surreality.

When I enter the room, no one looks at me. The now me.

They’re all sitting around my mom’s kitchen table. Well, anxiety is pacing around it. I find depression laying under the birch wood oscillating between wailing and silence. The way they’re laying looks uncomfortable. I wish I had brought them my weighted blanket. I see myself, sixteen, timid and hardly recognizable but painfully familiar. Sixteen me is trying hard to make eye contact with my mother, telling her that I think I need to see a therapist. My mother is scoffing and then blaming which, of course, makes depression sob louder. Sixteen me is less emotional than I remember. Anxiety bites their nails and starts to pick the threaded tassels off a throw blanket, one piece of thread at a time. OCD picks each one up and tosses them out. It takes me four of my mother’s sighs to recognize PMDD, slumped in their chair staring off into a maybe nothing, a maybe something. OCD moves on to rearranging the spice cabinet. Rearrange is a generous term. Really they’re moving each bottle the tiniest bit just to feel some semblance of control. Anorexia isn’t there, but I feel her, for the first time in over ten years the moment I step back in that room. I guess it makes sense she wouldn’t be in the kitchen.

I notice the moment my mom says, “what did I do wrong?” and sixteen me tries to say, “nothing- that’s not how it works. And now me thinks, “This. This moment is a perfect example of a big chunk of how we got here. Believe your daughter when they tell you things. Don’t shame your children.” I say nothing. I hear my mother sobbing while sixteen me is parentified, feels needful to console someone who is breaking their heart. I go to shout. To tell sixteen me it should never have been like this. To tell my mom I’m sorry you didn’t have the opportunity to go to therapy but I do. I do. Noise doesn’t escape my mouth. Just a breeze.

I realize I am the wind.

The door I entered isn’t even a door I know. The birch. The sighing. The shame. These are things I know well. Too well.

Sixteen me’s hair and my mom’s hair move ever so slightly. That’s now me- feeling something and trying so hard to reach back to the hurt and say, “look, look what I know now.” At once, the heavy oak door with the off-center glass reappears. This time, the purple-black-blue glass is centered. A matching handle on the left side, I grasp and make my exit.

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