August 23, 2014

If I could pick a second birthday, today would be that day: August 23.

I had a panic attack for the ages on August 23, 2014, and it landed me, via ambulance ride, in the ER in Petoskey where I begged a nurse, Nancy, to hold my hand and give me a drink of water.

Tests were ran, and I was sent home shortly after that, "Rock solid."

It was my first experience with a mental health crisis in the ER, and received the message loud and clear, "You're kind of a pain-in-the-ass here."

And so, my husband drove us home that evening to what would become a stretch of hellacious-ness as I wrestled to keep and yet thoroughly lose my mind: insomnia for days, more ER visits, a week at the Munson partial hospitalization program, then two weeks of full hospitalization at Sparrow in Lansing.

It's a stretch of divine hell and sweet mercy I will never get to fully understand. And maybe that's its gift.

The thing about that stretch of hitting my rock bottom and rising is this: it haunts me, but I haunt it back. I wrestle with it. I'm hungry for its meaning. What was and is the meaning of it then, now?

The slant of the light this time of year, magazine covers in the check-out line marking the anniversary of Robin Williams' death by suicide, Labor Day weekend looming: my memories of that time can be so vivid, and clouded, and parts of it mercifully forgotten.

Five years later I keep going, emerging and failing all this handful of years, and the only rock solid thing about me is this: I am tender. Human.Very much exactly and never quite exactly like you.

So I have two birthdays, and maybe you do, too. Tell me about your second birth day, will you?

My one year second birth birthday


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