I had to go see my psychiatrist for an emergency appointment the other day. This was the first time I’d ever tried to see her without a scheduled appointment; I wasn’t sure she’d see me at all. At first it seemed like she wouldn’t see me, as two hours passed after I made my shaky, tear-filled phonecall to her office and still no one had called me back as they’d promised. I was completely honest about my reasons for needing to see her so urgently. I told the receptionist that one of my friends had died and that I was having a complete and utter meltdown. Her tone of voice never changed-it was professional-when she explained that Dr. H was with a patient and she’d have to talk to her and get back to me as soon as was possible. I hung up the phone wondering if I’d wasted my time. What made it even harder to deal with was the fact that I’d sat patiently by the phone all morning, waiting for the time to come whereupon their office would open so I could call. And then they tell me someone will get back to me. And then I sit, and I wait for the call. All the while, I’m going more and more out of my mind. I was really not doing well at all that day, in fact I’d been doing poorly for a thousand days by that point in time.
We’re not entirely certain when the event happened, but my psychiatrist and I have used my journal, this blog, and my Tweets and text messages to get an idea of a timeline. My doctor believes that my friend Bill died sometime around June 4. The blog entry made on June 5 was written in a dissociated state; my doctor believes he died sometime between the evening of June 4 and the morning of June 5, as that’s when I seemed to completely lose my mind. I don’t remember these things. I don’t remember when Bill died. I don’t remember freaking out, but there’s evidence right here in this blog. I don’t know how much time passed between my freakout and my emergency psych appointment…I just know that someone pushed me to make the call to my doctor, and eventually I did. I thought I could handle Bill’s death, I really thought I was OK. But I was very far from OK. The first thing I had to deal with was the terrible, overbearing guilt I felt. I felt guilty because I’d been meaning to email Bill, and catch up with him, see how he was doing. I kept putting it off. I’d emailed him a few months earlier, and found out he had been sick, but I had no idea just how bad it was. And so I procrastinated. And now it is too late. I will never be able to email Bill again. That’s hard to believe, hard to accept. I’ve known him since I was 17 years old and first moved to the city to go to college. He lived downstairs in my apartment building and we became friends. We even dated briefly, but it was his best friend who became my long-term boyfriend. Which means I was around Bill all the time. I was good friends with his girlfriend, and the four of us went out all the time, and took trips to Florida or to New Orleans together. I had a lot of wild and crazy times with Bill. He was quite a character. A punk rocker with a mohawk and a motorcycle jacket. He loved tattoos, hot rods, and whiskey. He looked all rough and tough but he had a sensitive side which he worked hard to keep hidden. The only reason I even know about it is because as I said earlier, we dated briefly. It didn’t last long, and it ended with me shoving him naked out of my apartment and throwing his clothes out the door after him. That makes me laugh even as the tears well up in my eyes thinking about it. Oh, Bill. I can’t believe you’re dead. Making this all the more difficult is the fact that there will be no funeral, as per Bill’s wishes. He wasn’t a religious guy and I’m not surprised he requested cremation with no service. But that puts me in a position in which I’m unable to say goodbye in any formal way. There won’t be a grave I can visit. I can’t place flowers at the site of an accident. Nothing. He’s just…gone.
When I finally got the call from my shrink’s office, they told me to come right then at that very moment. So I ran out the door as is, hair unkempt, no makeup, tear-streaked face. I don’t remember driving there but I do remember that once I got to the office, the receptionist was very kind and asked me if I’d like to sit in a private room (there were several people in the waiting room). And so it happened that I was able to sit secluded and cry without embarrassment until my doctor was able to squeeze me in and talk to me. I don’t remember everything about the session itself. I told her I was missing a lot of time and we did some investigation work using my journals and cell phone. She had told me at the last session to get a calendar and begin writing everything down, so that I might be able to keep track of my days and nights without losing so much time. So I’d been doing that, I’d been writing things down…and then there was a gap. Just suddenly, all the information cuts off. I have no idea where I was or what I was doing during that chunk of time, and we’ve come to gather that it’s about 15 hours. She told me that she believes I was in a dissociated state this entire time. I’m missing 15 hours. You have no idea how disconcerting that is unless you’ve experienced it. It’s like a drunken blackout, only there is no alcohol involved and you’re not hungover afterwards. Also, you don’t pass out. I was conscious during those 15 hours, and I have a feeling I never left my house. But anything else? It’s just a blank. My psychiatrist and I determined that we could never truly know what happened during that time period, and so far no one has come forward with any sort of damning evidence against me for some horrible stunt I pulled while I was blacked out, so I’m going to assume that I didn’t get into any trouble. If I had to take a stab at a guess, I’d say I was crying. Possibly curled up in a fetal position on the bed.
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~Kahlil Gibran