by Amy Stringer
CW/TW: Ptsd, Eating disorders, bipolar
The passage of time is an interesting thing. Eventually, I’m sure the passage of time makes everything better but I’m wondering just how much time needs to pass for that to happen. Do you need to do anything more? Or is just the passage of time enough?
4 years ago I took the below photo with my Meeseeks plushie, laughing because I could relate to the aged Meeseeks from Rick and Morty in week 13 of semester. “I just want to diiieee!,” he screams in the episode. Every year facebook brings up this memory. But at the time I didn’t know that within a week I’d never be able to laugh at that joke again. I didn’t know that I was going to get my wish of getting out of exams. We always joke about having something terrible happen so that we can get deferrals but now that its happened, I’ll sit an exam any day.
The 28th of October 2016. That was the day I almost lost my life. The day I saw what death looked like. As I am writing this, there is one week until that anniversary so I thought I would detail what the week leading up to the anniversary looks like.
It’s like a switch. In the month prior, I become aware that the anniversary is soon, but nothing really changes and I start to think maybe it’ll be okay this year. I guess in the couple of weeks prior there’s some increased anxiety. But once it hits a week it’s like the first few weeks after the attack all over again.
Catching buses becomes traumatising again. Crying for entire half hour trips, trembling, people averting their gaze. Panic attacks. Nightmares. It looks like full blown, barely recovered Pete. This morning, for example, was horrible. I got on the bus like any normal day, I put on some music and that was it. I couldn’t breath properly, I had tears streaming down my face and it was like it was happening all over again. In these situations on the bus it’s almost like I want to cry more, because if I’m crying enough I can’t see the events unfolding in front of me, even though there isn’t actually anything there.
But that’s not all. We have to remember that Pete and I are not the only ones who inhabit this mind. Po takes a dives toward depression and tells me to retreat. And Ed…. well, I haven’t really spoken to you about Ed yet but Ed digs in his claws and tries to help. Pete makes me feel like I’ve lost control and of all things the trembling makes me feel so incredibly unstable. When I feel unstable, Ed seeks to help me regain control. If I control my eating and do everything in this very particular and precise way, then everything else will fall into place and I’ll have my life back… that’s what he tells me anyway.
If there was a battle between all of my disorders on any “normal” day for the position of most severe, Ed would probably win as he influences my behaviour the most on a day to day basis (though if Po wasn’t held down by medicine she’d probably win). But this week, this week every year, I’m reminded just how much I have overcome with Pete. This week Pete wins by a landslide. When I sleep, I’m either watching me and my loved ones die or I’m having stress dreams about work and every year I forget just how draining that is. Every bus trip is pure hell, every song makes me cry, and every second I’m ready to run for cover. Ed and Po control my waking hours but Pete attacks my rest and makes damn sure I don’t get any. All of them working together to make me miserable is an experience I wouldn’t wish on anybody.
The Meekseeks had another quote in that Rick and Morty episode, one that I feel quite deeply at times like this. They said “existence is pain for a Meekseeks, Jerry!”. Yes, Mr Meeseeks, yes it is.
The Memorial Park
Not long after the attack, there was a memorial park built nearby for the man who was killed. It’s a nice little park, with a little plaque, some flowers, and some seating. Every year on the anniversary I make a point not to make plans with anyone and I go spend a little time in this park, taking flowers to put down. Every year it’s evident that I’m not the only one. It’s humbling to see that every year there are several bouquets, that a number of people remember what happened on that day 4 years ago.
In any case, the anniversary has come around again, and again, I am struggling. But this year I have done something a little different, I have booked a psych appointment on the day. Hopefully this will help ease the pain this year and afterwards I guess I will continue to wait for the passage of time to work its magic. Four years down, x years to go until this feels like nothing but a sad story.