“Fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered in case of such an emergency.” Foghorn Leghorn(and Johnny Cash)
Last Sunday, I started to think about taking my life again. Just the day before, I had felt triumphant. But I stumbled. The person whom I turn to the most helped me up and I stood again. Until Tuesday.
Tuesday was a day like any other. Work was crazy. My arms were taut with the tension. The temperatures soared into the 80s. I rushed home and tried to run. I barely made the half-mile mark, my ankles screaming in pain. It made me angry at myself, how useless and weak I can be. I headed to El Torito with Lisabet for Taco Tuesday. We laughed. I came home, spent the next few hours on the phone: Soldier, Izzy, Oscar, Spiritual Mom. With each conversation, my mind began to spin. It spun a web of thoughts: I am a burden. No one really knows or understands me. No one really hears me. I am not worthy of love. The thoughts coincided and fed the emotions: anger, sadness, indignation, humiliation, pain. In turn, my body began to react: shaking, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, headache, tensed muscles. By 10:30pm that night, I was sobbing uncontrollably, making outlandish statements in a shrill voice. Then something bad happened.
I ran into my kitchen, my sunny yellow kitchen, with the little table I’ve had since my college days, the Van Gogh sunflowers print, and my new fridge. I took out two knives and held them to my arm. Spiritual Mom asking over and over again for my address. “Please don’t do this.” “I’m going to call 911. I need to call 911.” “Don’t be defeated. Do you know what a 5150 will mean?” “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” The knives sharp and glittering, my reflection in the blades. Tears and more tears. My heart thumping, aching. Then the run back into the living room, crouching on the floor, weeping, wishing that someone or something could help me. The mad look around the room. Hands reaching for colored crockery. Blue. Black. Throwing it to the tiled entrance where it shattered. More screams. Red. Yellow. Blue. Thrown against the white wall, against the beige tile, broken into white dust. A small hole in the white wall where one piece would not break. More screams before the final fall to the knees. Hugging myself. Looking at the handcrafted Mexican crucifix as my Spiritual Mom mentioned Jesus, his Footprints being the only ones right now, and I began to cry again but this time from relief.
Though I was more tired than I had been in years that night, it took me another hour to get to sleep. I slept for two hours, woke up, slept for two more before calling in sick to work. By then, Tuesday had ended and with it, its terrible hold on my heart.
I haven’t had a panic attack like that in about four years. I hope it’s the last one for several more years. If anything, it shook me. It made me realize that this journey I’ve begun is long overdue. I owe it to myself to heal.