This is just a long, rambling reflection of the past year. It’s really self-indulgent and probably isn’t very insightful. I’m writing it down anyway.
One year ago tonight I came home from The Abbey, where the Human Rights Campaign was having their official Los Angeles election party (obvs). But the more states that reported back, the more depressing the scene got, and I went home early. I didn’t even wait to hear the final results; it was depressing as fuck, and was just one more thing stacking up in my brain that was making me think that maybe I didn’t want to be here anymore. Luckily my rational…or terrified…side prevailed and within the next three hours, I was lying in a hospital bed at Kaiser West LA with a 24 hour guard, wristbands that told the staff my ID, allergies, and risk level, and one of those fancy butterfly closures on my leg. They didn’t do intake at the psych hospital that late, so I spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling wondering what the fuck I had just done and how badly it would fuck up my life.
To be clear, the election is not what landed me in the hospital. I had been sliding backward for awhile but maybe that pushed me over the edge, I don’t know. I can’t really get back into that headspace, and I don’t really want to. But this isn’t about that night, or the next three days anyway. The year since I left the Kaiser Psychiatric hospital’s Unit III have involved two months off work, enough IVs to leave me with actual track marks (with just a few blown veins), countless bags of saline, electrical sticky pads, and post-KHole naps. Five new tattoos, a new apartment, two work trips, one weekend vacation, meeting one of my heroes just weeks before she died, and meeting a couple more of my (comedy) heroes and hoping for the best.
I started and finished UCB levels 101 and 201 and began an really awesome collaboration with some of the funniest and badass women I know starting out in comedy. I went up to San Francisco to go to my uncle’s funeral one year after I went up there- to the same venue- to attend his wedding. I was back in the hospital overnight in August (and I just remembered I still have to pay that bill).
There aren’t enough cliches in the world to describe what a year it’s been and I don’t remember a lot of it anyway. All of February through April is 100% gone, along with patches of time here and there. I have some moments or concepts that are sort of hazy- I can remember that I’m forgetting something, which is one of the most frustrating feelings I’ve experienced. I still can’t concentrate very well, and my vocabulary is down by at least a quarter. I haven’t always handled this frustration very well, and I know there are relationships that I’ve fucked up to varying degrees with this learning curve. On the other hand, I also learned that there are people who will take a whole week off work just to come to LA and take me to appointments, along with the local ones who regularly wake up at 7am to do the same. I’m really, really lucky.
But I’ve also landed on a really good combination of medication, therapy, and good old Dr. K., who I’m now down to seeing every three weeks. I have more good days than bad days, by far. I feel brave for doing a lot of really scary things to help myself get better, and I feel like I have a community of people who really, truly understand what it feels like to take this on.
I don’t have a nice wrap-up for this…I’m still just a year in. But to the people who have been there: thank you, I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. For the people who have reached out with their own stories: thank you, too, for letting me see a part of your life that we’ve long been told not to talk about. You’re incredible. Also, you should get a dog. Dogs make everything better.
If you’re ever in a place where you need someone to talk to, or resources, or anything at all, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.