I generally ignore Facebook’s automatic “memories” function, as it’s normally some status update that involves cats, coffee or something ridiculous about me personally. Until today.
Over coffee, I remarked to Chris “Hey, it was six years ago that I got out of the Behavioral Hospital”. Six years ago, feels like eons.
While I don’t think about it much at this juncture, I sometimes wonder about the people I encountered while inpatient. I’ve written about them, stayed in vague touch with two (greatly frowned upon for clear reasons, but common nonetheless).
One of the two didn’t make it. Two years ago, early one morning, while scrolling through my feeds, I was alarmed to discover fellow patient, Matt* (the Atlas Shrugged guy) had committed suicide. My stomach dropped into my shoes & I had the metallic taste of fear on my teeth. Goddammit.
Not that Matt & I were close, not that we really kept in touch. But he was someone that I knew for a specific amount of time, in a specific amount of space**. And he didn’t make it. It broke my heart. It could have been me.
But it hasn’t been me, it’s not me today, and hopefully not tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next week. And so on. Six years out: four years of regular, active therapy and two years of freewheelin’. I know my rough spots, have learned some important skills, faced some ugly truths, still keep on keeping on. Sometimes it’s a train wreck and difficult to not let the bad days multiply while I’m not paying attention. Because they will. And they do.
There are many days where it feels like the only thing I can do is keep my head up. Usually it’s enough. I’ve gotta see where I’m going.
*Not his real name
**He used the phrase “Goat Prison” in reference to the hospital. It made me laugh, which is why I call this sub-category “Stories from Goat Prison”