woman holding round purple and black stone

Finding Wonderland

I’m on the floor in my home office. The extra plump yoga mat beneath me allows my body to both sink in and feel unbelievably supported. I wonder for a moment if it will absorb water or if it will resist the tears that won’t stop flowing from my eyes.

I’m Alice, just trying to get to Wonderland without drowning on the way there.

I decided to take a lunch break and work out, only to stop halfway through and cry. My thoughts kept going back to the weekend and then to the previous night. I’d been starting fights with my husband, being mean to my family. Just not in the mood for anyone.

I’m Alice, just trying to get to Wonderland without drowning on the way there.

I’m yelling between my tears, I need help. I need help. I wonder if my neighbor can hear me through the walls. The medication that I’ve been on for the last year is no longer helping my anxiety, and my OCD is uncontrollable. I call my husband. I’m sorry, I say, but I need help. 

I’m Alice, just trying to get to Wonderland without drowning on the way there.

I haven’t felt this helpless since 2015. I started a new job, I had just gotten engaged, I watched my sister nearly bleed to death a week or so after giving birth to my niece, I stood by my then-fiance’s side when he donated a piece of his liver to his mother, and I visited my dad in the hospital after his surprise quintuple bypass. It was then that counting became less than something I did when I put on deodorant and more of something that had to be done in order to feel in control. It was then that the repetition started. I’d feel compelled to check invoices 4-5 times before sending them to customers. Before getting out of the car, I’d make sure it was in park, the emergency break was up, and the car was off. Park. Up. Off. Park. Up. Off. Round and round until it felt okay to get out of the car. Then came the locking of the car. Lock. Lock. Lock. Lock. After a while this repetition and counting became less pronounced. I could leave the house without feeling obligated to check the door or the stove or the straightener. I stopped taking my medication. I started to feel normal.

I’m Alice, just trying to get to Wonderland without drowning on the way there.

But then came 2020. The pandemic. Working from home. Boredom. Lack of challenge. Lack of interaction. Back to counting. Back to wasting hours on a single task just to be VERY sure that I sent the right email to the right person. Back to wasting 20 minutes checking if the stove was off before leaving the house. Off. Off. Off. Off.

I’m Alice, just trying to get to Wonderland without drowning on the way there.

Okay, my husband replies without an ounce of judgement, let’s get you help. Make a doctor’s appointment and let’s see how we can get you to feel like yourself again. I let out a sigh of relief. I’m treading water in my own tears but it’s better than being beneath the surface.

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