Every morning I wake up around 4am. I open my eyes, immediately reach for my phone, see that I still have at least another 2 hours of sleep left and I think; “Just go back to sleep…”
I close my eyes again, and that’s when it starts. “Why don’t you get a head start on the day? You could get up now, walk the dog, shower, make breakfast, make yourself lunch.”
I roll onto my back and stare at the ceiling. My stomach starts to churn, sometimes it sounds like there is a battle going on inside of there. I start thinking about work. I can see the list of items I need to work on in my head, I see it getting longer and things not getting done, I cross off one thing, and add 7 more things in it’s place. I worry that my boss will fire me today, this will be the day. “You’re just not good enough.”
I start thinking about calling out; “Just call out. Say you are sick. The medication makes you sick anyway. It’s not a total lie.” My stomach starts doing flips, and I feel nauseous. My throat feels like it’s getting tighter, it’s hard to swallow. I think about how when I tell my boss that I am not doing well, and I need a day, how she reacts. “Ok. Fine.” Two words. Probably meaningless to her, but to me; I analyze them. “Fine. Fine, don’t come in. I’m going to fire you soon anyway.”
I start thinking about all the times my boss has ignored me, or not spoken to me for days, I think about the times she said something in passing and I wasn’t sure if she meant it or not. Should I be feeling anxious about that one time she told me I should have all of our offices memorized by now. All 37 of them? I should. I guess I failed at yet another thing. I start crying. The thought of calling out, and feeling my boss’ judgement is so much worse than actually going to work. I think of all the people that work in my building, all the faces I have to see and talk to, all the nosy, old ladies who tell me I look tired or sad. “I’m okay, just tired.” I always say. They always give me a smile and a nod as if they can tell that tired really means I stayed up all night crying.
My crying gets heavier, I have a hard time breathing. I sit up and make myself breathe through my mouth. “Just listen to your breath, it’s okay.” I think.
I start choking, always, every morning. I can’t breathe, I can’t swallow, I run to the bathroom to dry heave into the sink. It makes my legs buckle under me. The muscle contractions in my stomach bring me to my knees and I cry while holding onto the toilet. Spit dripping from my mouth, tears and snot pouring down my face. “You are such a fucking wreck. You are such a fucking failure. Do you think other people have this problem every morning? Just. Fucking. Breathe.” I get so mad at myself sometimes. Why can’t I control this? Sometimes, I hit myself in the head. Why can’t you control this.
I scare my dog, I see her hiding in the closet or on my bed, staring at me. Waiting for me to say it’s okay. I wash my face, brush the stomach acid taste from my mouth and go sit with my dog. I tell her; “It’s going to be okay. I’m okay.” I know I’m only saying it to reassure her. She puts up with so much.
It’s only 6am and I’m already sore and tired from waking up. My muscles ache from being curled up in a tense, fetal position all night. I’ve already cried and made my eyes swell. I’ve already thrown up any substance that was in my stomach. I haven’t even taken any medication yet. I bruised my legs again falling into the bathroom vanity.
When I look in the mirror, I see a pale face, with sunken eyes. Bags, circles so dark it looks like I went to bed with smokey eye make up on. The corners of my mouth droop. I can actually feel it. Its as if even the muscles in my mouth are depressed too. Too beaten down to even hold my mouth in any position other than a frown. I put on concealer, highlighter, foundation, and setting powder. Just under my eyes. Just to hide my dead face. I just look flat white now. Flat white, with 2 sad, dark eyes staring back. There is nothing in here. I imagine myself ripping in half, both pieces just fall to the side. There is nothing in here anymore.