I've called the hotline a few times now. I know what they're going to say, almost by heart.
We take deep breaths. I apologize for calling. I apologize for crying. Vaguely, somewhere in the back of my mind, I wonder what their stories are; I wonder what led them to this point, sitting on the other end of the phone.
This time she has the same name as my sister. I want to tell her, but I can't get the words out. Her voice is calm, quiet, soothing. She feels so reassuring and there is a small part of me that hasn't been able to be comforted in a long time that feels calmed.
"Have you seen a professional?" she asks. "Do you have a safety plan in place?"
We talk about what's going on. She validates me, tells me that my emotions are okay. That I'm really struggling with this and it is so understandable.
It's what I've been wanting a friend to tell me. It's what I've wanted with hugs and kisses and apologies and whispers that it will be alright, but I've promised not to tell our friends.
We make a plan to get through the night. Stop looking at social media. Stop expecting phone calls you're promised but not going to get. Give up control over other people and just focus on yourself.
Self care, she calls it. Take a shower if I can, journal, read a new, intriguing book, watch a movie I know won't trigger me, something I can get engrossed in. Doctor Who sounds great. Keep yourself occupied and maybe take 2 Benadryl so you can get some sleep.
Every moment now is a countdown. How can I get to the next thing? How can I get to work in the morning? Then after that I'm alone for 18 hours, then work again the next morning and then finally relief. Finally, I get to see my Mom and my day will be easier.
I can't think about the three days after that, filled with hours of loneliness and no way right now to make it better. I can't focus on that without crumpling, so right now I just count down. Work, work, Mom. Work, work, Mom. I can do that. I can make it to Mom.
T tries to tell me that I'm overreacting. That this is not catastrophic and I am making a mountain out of a molehill. Maybe I am, I don't know. I just know that I'm not handling this well. I feel so isolated, I feel so uncertain about my future, I feel so hurt, I feel so betrayed. It should be getting better but it's just getting worse. I know T needed space but all that space is doing for me is putting me back in that dark place. I'm right back to the middle of June. I'm right back to not eating, to sleeping all the time - I can hardly breathe, I don't want to be in our house by myself.
It's so hard but I'm trying. I'm making plans. Work, work, Mom. I'm thinking about my cats, but they don't want anything to do with me. I feel like they're mad that T is gone and that I'm such a mess.
Work, work, Mom. I can do this.