Picking up where I left off.
I went to the hospital in Ithaca. Everyone seemed hesitant to let me in because I hadn’t actually attempted anything, only thought about it. Eventually, they said there were no rooms available but they wanted me to stay in an inbetween wing while I waited for one to be available. This ended up being horrible.
I was in a bedroom with no windows and nothing on the cold blue walls. Just a hospital bed, and a TV that got a couple channels, which I never turned on. I had access to a bathroom and a nurse was available down the hall if I needed something. They brought me a plate of food 3 times a day.
This is honestly too painful to write about further in detail. I will say this: they kept me in that room for 3 days and it was traumatic as fuck. And Joey waited until I was safe in the hospital to let me know he had to break up with me. He couldn’t go on like this. And so ended the most amazing relationship of my life, and my past six years. Gone in a flash as I cried and held the metal dial phone on a cord, in the main area of the psych ward.
After about a week, I went to stay with my parents in Syracuse until I figured out my next move. Joey had wanted me to come stay with him if I wanted, at least until we figured the future out, but I didn’t realize this. I didn’t think I could see him again or stay in Ithaca, as i t would be too painful. So I was back to the suburbs and my teenage bedroom. It wasn’t long before I was also back to my lifestyle of smoking weed in public places, alcohol binges, and reckless, loveless sex.
I wrote Joey an email saying I was out of the hospital and alright, and goodbye. He never got it for some reason. My parents and brother went down to Ithaca to move all my stuff.
It was horrible. I slept most the days. I went for walks down suburban streets, barely ever seeing another soul. I talked a lot to my mom. It took months before I was able to see a therapist, and I just dropped mine in Ithaca because she had done couple’s counseling and it was too painful to see her or talk on the phone. I grieved Drew (Joey’s son) and the cats too, staples of my life for the past 6 years. I’d lost my family. I tried to write and ended up with sad, simplistic poems. More like sad strings of sentences. I tried to read books about grief but couldn’t focus. This was the saddest I have been in my entire life, and it lasted months, without getting any easier. I cried everyday, several times a day. My only escape was listening to music and smoking cigarettes on long walks.
I was sure he no longer loved me, and doubtful I’d ever love again.
Then I was watching Schitt’s Creek and it was the episode where Patrick performs “Simply the Best” at the open mic night for David. And I went up to my room, and I felt like crying. And I thought, “I’m still completely in love with him. What do I have to lose?” So I unblocked his number and called him, not expecting him to pick up.
But he did. And he was so relieved to hear my voice. He didn’t know for a long time whether I was alive because no one was seeing me on social media (he doesn’t use it). Like I said, he never got my email. He had no sense of how I was doing. He explained that he never meant to drop me and cut me out of his life. I was still family. I told him how miserable I was in Syracuse with family. It wasn’t going to get better. It was an unhealthy situation. He encouraged me to seek mental health housing, like they have in Ithaca, and to talk to my old therapist, because she could help set it up. I suggested I just come back to Ithaca, where I at least knew him and some other people. In Syracuse I had close to no one. He thought that was smart. My plan was to live in the mental health sort of halfway house thing that I can’t recall the name of, and hopefully get on PA and eventually social security. All of these things turned out to be impossibly difficult.
I asked Joey, against my better judgement, if there was any hope for us, if I got my shit together. I had asked him this when we broke up, and he said no; this was for real. He paused for a long time, and I couldn’t believe it. Then he said something like, “I don’t think that should be your focus right now…You need to focus on you and your recovery. But honestly, that would be what I would want.”
I was so happy. I went for a walk and played happy love songs. I had hope, even though I probably shouldn’t have at that point.
My parents saw Joey initially as a bit of an asshole in all this, because he “abandoned” me. In reality, Joey stayed with me for years and years of battles with mental health and addiction. Somehow at the hospital they got the idea he was abusive. It’s possible I was experiencing psychosis again and said this, but I truly don’t remember. It was a part of my delusions the first time I was hospitalized in 2017. Joey has never done anything abusive to me, and honestly, I’m the one who has been emotionally abusive in the past. Particularly when on substances or out of my mind, but that doesn’t excuse it. It’s been hard for me, but I am learning to face this and forgive myself.
Unable to get into mental health housing, I did manage to rent a sublet in downtown Ithaca for June and July 2019. I moved in with three strangers I barely saw. I started seeing my therapist at first, but dropped her again.
The first time I saw him after those months, he was walking down the street to meet me. We were on Cayuga, right near State Street. When I saw him, I almost didn’t recognize him because he was wearing a burnt orange waffle shirt (he usually only wears white tees) and he had a grey flat cap that I’d never seen. He reached out his arms and I was pleasantly surprised to hug. The feelings in my body then were indescribable.
He bought me a coffee at Gimme! and we went to sit and watch the ducks at Cascadilla creek. We talked, and I cried, and chain smoked. We also laughed and he invited me over for dinner and to see the cats.
I saw Joey pretty regularly, and this was wonderful and painful. I got to have my family and my cats back. We went for a lot of nature walks. I would inevitably ask him if he still loved me, and he would ask me to please not ask him that. He did, I now know. He never stopped.
Then something miraculous happened. Joey told me he had learned about ketamine. It was legal, and adminstered by a doctor. Basically you trip (or go on a journey, as they say) for about 40 minutes and come out feeling forever changed. There were incredible testimonials of people no longer feeling depressed after just one to four treatments: sometimes immediately. Joey was going to try it for his depression and anxiety. He wanted to pay for me to do it, too. I didn’t want to get my hopes up…but when he called me and said his experience was life changing and he couldn’t remember ever feeling this free, it was hard not to start hoping a little. I would not be disappointed.
To be continued in Part 3.