Close encounters when you’re ‘out of your mind’

Dear Mariah,

I think I have been in mental health or crisis units 4 times: the longest for a few days at Faulkner in Jamaica Plain after Amy broke up with me and treated me mean for no reason to the extent that suddenly, for no reason at all, she said mean things like maybe she was wrong and should have chosen Anna in Laramie instead if me. No one to process that with and that is a huge thing to process. As if breaking up enough were not hard enough, bringing Anna into it like that made it so much worse. I think this was the stuff I never processed with anybody really but the first time I met you I think I kind if maybe secretly felt more at home sharing my life with you than anyone if ever only there were a way to just get to you just be with you naturally in a space that is conducive to the awesomest funnest unfolding together like I am with girls in psych wards. Truly.

It was after this stuff with Anna that I started having mental health issues and self-loathing and such for the first time, and since Amy never had issues with me the whole time we dated and was a constant support, it was so hard hearing things like that and having her coming to me for advice about what to do after having sex right after we broke up even though she knew how much the breakup was hurting me?

She apologized for this treatment but I felt like I had to chsnge my emails as hearing from her was bad for my mental health. It was when we werecdating that my mother screamed about me ‘raping someone’ and ‘probably’ also abusing my partner who was in that same room trying to defend me. I tried to let my mither know how inappropriate she was being by expressing for the first time that her behaviours were making me feel suicidal. Amy, who was extremely reasonable and expressed herself very well, tried to get her to hear that she had the whole thing wrong (did my mother even know thst the girl she was accusing me if raping was one if Amy’s best friends? I doubt it, but she was not willing to hear a single thing, and I feel like so much if the suffering if both if us can be traced to her treating me like w mother should never treat her kid and then never apologizing for it or even explaining in any way where she got this information (though as I have said it was probably from snooping at my diaries).

I don’t know why, it is just so easy for me to imagine you helping me heal whatever went wrong somehow, like you could so easily help me convince my mother in sone way that what she believes about things is not true. I don’t know why but I iind if feel like you’re the only one who could do it, it it can be done, and like just by talking to you about it some huge shift is likely to happen because just talking to you seems to be all it takes. By the way, when I said that I couldn’t visualize you liking me, like being excited to be with me or whatever, I guess I realized I was wrong when I heard Raindrops on My Guitar in that grocery store. That song makes me feel you so much and I think if you did like me it might feel something like that because it feels so much like that to me.

Oh, I was going to write about some of the people I have met in these places and how there always seems to be one person I was just meant to meet somehow. First there was Lisa, who went to Harvard for pre-med if I remember right and from there ended up going to medical school. She would wish me a happy birthday on Facebook every year. She is one of those that I feel like oh no what could she think of me now after all those things I wrote in Facebook! Like what I wrote to you! *facepalm*

I feel sad because I like her and she healed me by imagining what our our superpowers would be and just playing and imagining together. It is weird that I am afraid that a girl I met in a psych unit might think I am insane. I feel sad like at a dertain point soooo many people must have read things I was writing and distanced themselves from me based on all sorts of misperceptions and though Lisa and I were never close I’ve always been scared about whether she’d still like me enough to wish me a happy birthday if she saw the part if me that… write all those words. She healed me though and she taught mevwhere the *real* hesling in these kinds of places, when it happens, comes from, and for me… the most synchronius encounters happen in these places.

In Wilmington (I was in that unit not more than a few hours) it was a girl with this gorgeous blonde hair who had this energy like thawing; it felt like she was going through so much pain but she was thawing and courageously in control of her destiny at last. Almost as soon as I arrived, I noticed her and she would glance at me shyly and quickly turn away and giggle a little in the perfect way and it was the most comforting thing in the world. I think even before she giggled I felt like she had worlds inside of her and her energy felt like home. I guess I just melted and I felt such an amazingly real cinnection with this girl who I never talked to but who just gently giggled with the wisdom of the ages hidden underneath.

It was like her energy knew mine or I dared to wish it and now writing it that way is the only way that makes sense. It seemed to be only me that made her giggle when she glanced at me shyly feom across the room and it felt like wecwere communicating sooo much just by being. I immediately felt a connection and she kept slowly building it by shyly glancing at me and giggling at me from across the room but it was all so natural and subtle and spontaneous and beautiful.

From that moment I did not feel alone there anymore, I felt immediately back in connection, and a connection and rapport and trust formed between us without any need for words at all. We were communicating deeply, I felt, like, it was one of the most real encounters I have ever had, and I felt seen, felt happy. The only thing I can remember her saying directly to me is, maybe with some kind of mysterious sparkly sadness in her eyes like, “it’s gonna be okay, we’re waking up!” Her giggles felt like sacred recognition. Sharing soace with her for that short time was really one of the realest experiences of my life.

She said it with such warmth, innocence, empathy, compassion, love, and wisdom, that I could not help but feel that her soul knew me somehow. Around that time a lot if people were sayingvto me, or I felt like it was happening a lot, in a sweet, gentle, supportive way that filled me with a sense of love, “open your eyes,” like, open your eyes, love, or you’ll miss sunrise, you know? I don’t remember if she said these same words to me but she feels to me now so much like that.

Then, at this hospital a few weeks ago, I kind of had an experience with a significant personon each if the floors. In the first unit as I remember it was a girl with short blondish hair if I remember and she felt like… that person in the unit that was there for everyone, quietly supporting them, encouraging, just kind if holding the unit together in a way with the kind of social skills I can relate to which remind me of those of a camp counselor slor. She was a leader, in an extremely quiet way, like less is more, but I think everyone else there and most people in general wouldn’t see this in her. I think these are qualities I notice that most people don’t; she was grounded, balanced, and it was almost like you could feel her intention was to be of service to the unit. She did that in little ways but… I have a feeling if I had stayed in that unit her leadership would have rubbed off on me or we might have formed an alliance and helped everyone together and… hers was a familiar kind of leadership that feels natural to my own being though I have no idea how to describe what those qualities are.

She was a grounding presence and really an anchor for me there. She didn’t need to say too much and it’s interesting how that seems to be a pattern: with the girl in Wilmington it was shy glances and giggles and the deepest encouragement and a sense of recignition and crazy wisdom but mostly I was on the other side if the room being quiet and in my own process. It was, though, an *immediate* shift from an experience of complete isolation (right after trying to go to Jon for support and like weeks before that retreat where you brought my cake and we cuddled to I Melt with You) to connection, in my heart, and the difference was night and day.

Similarly when I got to Glendale and this person was here my heart suddenly felt connectee to another person I was with who was kind if helping me self-regulate just by being there, and giving me purpose. Somehow or other she encouraged me to start expressing myself out loud, or to keep doing it, to let it out, though of course this became a problem for Dr. Calica who just might be, come to think of it, the *actual* Wicked Witch of the West. She looked and moved like it and who else would do such crurl things to a human being just for wanting water besides?

So I was transferred and there were a lot of really scary people upstairs. Several women warmed up to me a lot in the end and despite my giving them no real reason to trust me as far as I could tell in the end they trusted me in ways that felt big and that were moving to me. It did not just feel like everyone was suddenly trusting me and helping me and caring about me and telling me what a goid person I was, and I didn’t have anywhere near enough time to diagnose it, but I came out if my room that last time I felt like everyone who had been anxious or fearful was sooo much calmer, though I know it’s not because they werecafraid if me and were happy I was leaving. I wish I understood what could change in a whole unit so qyuckly and suddenly as I was leaving I felt connections with people who had never saidca word to me before. Now they wanted me to watch their things for them (a really big deal considering the person who asked me) or help them advocate for themselves.

My favourite patient on the unit was Francine. She was so easy going and she was the one who always really talked to me and treated me like a human being in ways that have been rare of late even outside of the hospital. She always asked me how I was, she was always calm and loving and supportive, and hers was really the inly energy I liked being around in the whole unit.

She gave me her book of inspiring Maya Angelou quotes and then after I had had a chance to look at it a bit she asked for it back and gave me a copy of Pride and Prejudice (though I could not resd anything with whatever they were putting in my ststem). The first page though… oh my gosh, it moved me somehow.

I was sad to leave her when I was discharged and I am glad we had a nice goodbye and she was one of those who affirmed me as a good person. She was homeless which makes me so sad and I hope she finds a place to live. Sadly I started wondering at a certain point if I could actually trust her because she told me she had half a peanut butter sandwich she didn’t want and offered it to me. I was hungry and grateful but right away I knew this was the same stuff they were putting in my food and the stuff goes right to your heart, whatever it is, and makes you so anxious and paranoid and afraid to speak.

I felt betrayed but tried not to acknowledge it; now I realize she probably had jo idea she was drugging me or doing something I wouldn’t consent to. Maybe staff told ger to give it to me or maybe she was being given the same stuff. I do not know but itvwas horrible because not only does being drugged without your consent under the appearance of consent feel like an awful violation, the fact that the stuff crushes your voice and wrenches your heart feels even worse…

Anyway, it wasn’t too long after that I was discharged, but not knowing if she *meant* to do that to my heart, I had to step back from that being a grounding connection at the hospital. It was really the only connection I had and then I ate that sandwich. It was if I remember very soon after that another friend appeared though: this girl with green hair at the table who I hadn’t noticed before mow. I think I was sitting at the TV with Feancine on the other side of the room. She had just given me her sandwich and I was still sitting with her trying to process this feeling of betrayal as the stuff entered my system and it ‘works’ fast. It would have been so sad and lonely to walk back to my room feeling abandoned by the only friend I had there but then I heard the words Billie Eilish.

It was the girl with green hair. It was so much the way she said it. So matter-of-factly, in such a casual, grounded, respectful way, like she was talking about someone who was a friend, or someone she respected and admired in more than a superficial way. No one else would have heard anything in how she said these words but I heard everything in it. I did not hearca word she said before that and I don’t remember if I overheard her saying anything after that but none if it placed her name in any content could make out. The tone and energy if her voice itself, though no one elsecwoukd gave made anything of it, told me so much more than any cobtext could have, and I sensed she was a friend. Immefiately upon our first interaction I knew that she was.

If we hadn’t happened to talk it wouldn’t mean anything but the connection I felt, the trust, the sense that I wanted to spend more time with her and maybe she could rent a place with me, confirmed what I intuited in thise pretty words.

She got up from the table and I guess met her as I was heading back to my room, outside the nurse’s station. She says the best way to get their attention is to claw at the door with your fingernails. I just remembered that. She is a screenwriter and she told me briefly about some inlibevwensites or screenwriting communities that were helpful. I just felt right away fron the naturalness of our conversation and our similar artistic interests and… oh, it was especially nice that she seemed to be really open about some really hard stuff and very quickly I kind of felt like we would het along on certain lines that with the vast majority of people I would not but I didn’t spend nearly enough time around her to figure out what those lines might be. I am also super sorry if they prefer different pronouns!

Okay, I have been writing now for waaay too long!!! If there are things ai have forgotten I will write them later.

Looove,

Willow

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