HONK. HONK. HONK.
The digital alarm clock blared explosively in my ear. The year was 2007, and the numerous twinkling iPhone sound effects we’ve grown accustomed to were not yet available. I had a bad habit of sleeping through alarms, often minutes, sometimes hours. Hey. Drowsiness was a completely valid side effect of the not-so-mild tranquilizers Dr. Moore had prescribed to limit my self harm. The month prior I had once slept for 17 hours straight! I could have had a shot at ‘longest nap ever’ in the Guinness Book of World Records if I’d been able to muster the effort, which of course was unthinkable. Oh, the joys of modern medicine and over prescription!
On this particular Sunday morning I actually managed to wake up with my alarm clock. 10am. I had brunch plans with Emma, a close friend and sorority sister, around noon. She’d pick me up and we'd head somewhere downtown on State Street.
Flashback: A year ago, I left beautiful Isla Vista, CA and the University of Casual Sex and Beer (aka UC Santa Barbara) due to a bout of depression and a mental breakdown triggered by real-life dollhouse living. Fifty girls under one roof? C'mon! That should be illegal. I’m pretty sure that qualifies as a brothel in certain states. Don't get me wrong. Drinking boxed wine in the shower and hot boxing an entire floor of a house were dreams come true, but probably not the prime ingredients for a healthy mental state. The estrogen levels under that one roof were rivaled only by the quantity of booty shorts. When I returned to college post breakdown, I moved out of the sorority house and into my own apartment.
End flashback. I was still depressed but not in complete I-can't-get-out-of-my-apartment-breakdown mode. Despite regular crying sessions, I was attending class and maintaining good grades. I was even on track to graduate early. Not unlike most other days, though, escaping the comfort of my bed was a struggle. I felt like I weighed 300 pounds. My eyes were puffier than the Pillsbury Dough Boy (but without that unflappable glee). My forearms were visibly raw from the safety-pin-inflicted scratches, but I was somewhat relieved to count fewer than 10 on each arm. None were bleeding. Thank God. That would have called for some damage control. Since the beginning of my 'career' as a self harmer, the tool of choice had been a safety pin. I preferred the little guys over sharper, more capable objects because I was able to make superficial cuts that healed quickly, while still feeling the pain, the pleasure, the release. PS: I'm a Virgo, and the thought of blood everywhere screams 'big mess.' PPS: Red just isn't my color.
At my last visit with Dr. Moore, I had told her all about my mini coma from the previously prescribed holy-shit-i-am-totally-zonked-out-exaprodazine. She had decided that it might be a good idea to test out something a little milder.
Hello, Xanax. You can call me Vee. It's a pleasure to meet you.
That Sunday morning before brunch, I took one small tablet out of the bottle and imagined the words, "TAKE ME," etched on the surface of the pill. I wasn't feeling any more anxious than usual, but I had nothing to lose. On good days I felt numb at best and gave zero fucks about myself, life, or anything else. In fact, why not wash it down with a few pulls from the handle of vodka conveniently waiting at my bedside to restart the party? Gulp. My heartbeat dropped, and the pounding in my chest softened. I took another pill. Gulp. Wow. Is this what it feels like to breathe normally? I took another. Gulp. The racing thoughts in my mind slowed their sprint and eased into a gentle jog. Another. Gulp. The living room swirled, and I was chill. Feelin’ like a G thang, baby. Further down the rabbit hole I went. Wee! I was walking on sunshine, and it only took seven pills and a little of last night’s plastic-handle swill! The thought that I had perhaps gone overboard with the dosage didn’t even cross my mind until Emma picked me up for brunch and the interrogation session began.
Goodbye, brunch. Hello, emergency room.