I was released from an inpatient commitment at the psych hospital three days before my 25th birthday. And after I got out of the hospital things didn’t get better. They got worse.
After calling an ambulance, my roommate called my parents to tell them that I’d OD’d on my prescription medication and was back in the crazy house. And from this, they inferred that I had tried to kill myself. Not the case. In spite of my explanation to the contrary, my mother insisted on driving 16 hours to spend my birthday with me.
And thank god she came up. After I got out of the hospital I witnessed the mass exodus of my friends. My roommate moved out. Two of my closest friends– friends who had taken care of me and checked me into the hospital that first time, friends who I’d taken care of during their rough patches, friends who I thought would never leave me– left me.
Some left me because they “just couldn’t handle” me anymore. This was a line that became all too familiar to me but never lost its cutting edge. There’s nothing like being told you’re a burden when you need support the most. The things they said still hurt with the distance of five months. And there are some lost friends that I still miss, whose abandonment of me I will never understand.
My birthday table was remarkably empty. Usually filled with 12 chairs or more, this time we needed only a few. Two good friends and my mother joined me for my birthday dinner. No one else showed up.
In the end, I was grateful that my mother, who I had a history of not getting along with, made the long drive to come see me. She sat beside me at my birthday dinner, drank champagne with me in my lonely apartment, and was surprisingly and amazingly supportive of me. Famous for her righteous indignation, this time she channeled it towards my fight. There was someone on my side.
This was the beginning of the fallout– the loss of good friends, an empty birthday table, and a lonely apartment– all of these were the beginning of some bad times. Those days, the ugly ones, are still a part of me, attached to my ankle like a ball and chain, a bitter weight that I carry with me as I go. I’ve learned that you can think you’ve hit rock bottom, only to discover that you’ve still got a ways to fall. And that fall fucking hurts.
This is the fallout.