From thirteen through my current age I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, finding myself back in a waiting room with a questionnaire of some form detailing the heart palpitations, sweating, state of confusion and overwhelming emotion when feeling anxious – the crippling effect it poses. I sit in a silent earth-toned room answering questions of: “have you ever had suicidal thoughts, if yes, when was the last time you’ve had them?” “have you ever attempted suicide, if yes, when was the last time?”. I’ve grown numb to these questions, failing to see their shock as I answer yes, entering information.
I thought I’ve improved, going months without such thoughts, weeks without feeling the crippling effect. I remember how scared I was the first few times these experiences entered my life, yet now the numbing response to these thoughts is what scares me. Finding myself back in a state which I cannot tell if it’s grown worse or simply been so long that I forgot.
Sitting on a train, looking out the window as thoughts flood my mind relating to “I wish I was in front of the train, rather than on it”.
Wandering through the train station, unsure whether to turn right or left – going down hallways, failing to find the 7 train, walking up the stairs being left in a state of confusion for how I ended up on the platform for the 4/5/6, watching a man check for something on the track with a flashlight, thinking to myself “you can’t step here, you’ll be pulled up with someone so attentive”. Walking back down the stairs, guided down a long corridor until I’ve found my way. The man next to me can sense something is off, allowing me to step before him to ensure I can get a seat.
I ride for one stop then exit. Confused and feeling lost as I try to find my next subway, though I’ve walked the steps of this path not even 30 hours prior. I walk blankly in one direction, not caring whether I am headed where I should be, as my body begins to overheat, skin turning red as sweat beads on my face and my torso feels on fire.
I end up on the west side of 34th street standing in the center of the station unsure of which direction I must go for the Path train. I spin in three slow circles looking for a sign, heading in one direction, just to turn the opposite way. I’ve finally recalled my route home, leading me down a long empty hallway, thinking to myself “nothing makes you think you’re already dead more than a long, tiled, gray, empty hallway”.
Waiting for my final train my body heats beyond control. I feel the first layer of my clothes becoming dampened, wondering if I’ll faint before the train finally arrives. As tears slide down my face behind my sunglasses I wonder if the girls standing over me are staring in my direction or at the woman falling asleep beside me. When I try to exit I feel a struggle to move through the sea of people. I walk down the unlit road knowing well, while it may be more difficult to see where I’m going on a dark block with sunglasses at 9 PM, I recognize my need to see the city skyline. I pause for a moment, taking in the Empire State Building shining, searching for the Freedom Tower, trying to distract myself from the anger and disappointment of allowing myself to be vulnerable only for those stated fears to come to fruition mere minutes later.
I look down at my phone reading a message, “do you want to spend the night? So you aren’t alone with your thoughts?” – the idea is tempting, but I know my heart can grow cold in a state like this and I cannot lose one more connection with someone I love. I switch conversations, replying to another, explaining I do not want to overdose, but I wouldn’t mind escaping my mind, body, reality, for a few months.