I am feeling better. Well, that’s not exactly true. In many ways I feel worse. The pain is greater and the reality of my situation is smothering. But at least I am feeling something. And often now there is clarity which is a change.
I still get overwhelmed. The confusion and chaos take over. But now I can usually see it coming and escape with my little white pill. I know I am getting better because I don’t want the escape anymore. I want my life back.
I am still in the hospital but have been moved to a ward. I guess it is a psychiatric ward but I don’t ask. I don’t exactly know how I got here but, for now, I don’t feel ready to know and they don’t offer. I am well enough that my meetings with my doctor happen in his office. No more Dr. C and her perfectly coiffed hair and manicured nails and sympathetic voice. Now it is Dr. R and he is serious but I can tell he cares. I have told him everything. At least as much as I can sort through. My mind is still pretty jumbled but he is more interested in my feelings than my actions. This actually makes it harder.
He tells me I was suffering from severe depression and experienced a “psychotic break”. This makes sense to me, I guess. But I still don’t know exactly why it happened. On paper my life is so perfect. How could it not make me happy? But Dr. R reassures me that the stress of holding it all in was a large contributor to my breakdown (that is what I call it because that is what it was – body, soul and mind) so now that I am digging deep and purging myself of it all I will find my way out. I feel hopeful which I suppose is promising.
The first day Joel attended one of Dr. R’s sessions was probably the toughest day of my life. I still feel sick thinking about it. Dr. R and I decided that I needed to be completely honest with Joel before I could really move forward.
I was waiting for him in the room when he got there. He walked over, kissed me and sat pushed up right close to me on the couch as if any distance between us would be a fatal gap.
I turned to him and said, “I love you.” He smiled at me, a sad and burdened smile. His eyes welled up with tears, “I love you too. Always.” At that I started to lose my nerve. I couldn’t hurt him more. This was cruel. But Dr. R reached over and patted my knee, “Go on, Lyla. You can do this.”
And so I did. As he hung his head and wept in my arms I told him everything. I told him about my anger, my unhappiness, and my lies. I told him about my loss of self-worth. I told him how I had abandoned him and the kids. And I told him about Jackson, the ultimate betrayal in our marriage. He said nothing through the telling. His pain was too great, his body scrunched up in a tight ball in defence against my words.
I felt sick, disgusted and nauseated, perplexed by my own words. How could I do this? Who am I?
Finally, after some time Dr. R sat on the ground in front of Joel and said, “Now you know.”
That is when he turned to me. The pain on his face was like a punch in the gut. I gripped his hand tightly in mine and he let me.