She was awake and turning long before seven. But she had determined she was going to take the prescription at 7am and so she waited. She might not be able to do anything else today, but that one thing was all she needed to do. Perhaps she would be out of pain, perhaps not, but she could do that one thing just for today she would take the pill at seven and not worry about tomorrow.
She had never considered suicide – that just wasn't an option. But she thought of sticking a long thin wire – too thin to cause any damage up her nose and through her sinus cavities until it reached the brain and then scraping the brain away from all connections to her skull and severing the nerves. That wasn't to kill self, just a way to stop the pain.
The fires burned in her head when she was lying down and when she was moving every motion was through water. And sometimes every movement seemed through pain and in slow motion. And so it was in pain that she took the pill for depression. Even though she knew that it wouldn't work for several weeks, she took the pill. Even as the thoughts of this won't work and I'll have to start all over again came rushing through – she took the pill.
And then she went back to bed and curled up in a ball of tears. But the tears were beyond the weepy tired that she'd had when she'd worked long hours. They were not tears of exhaustion – though she had no energy. They were not tears of frustration – though the weariness in every moment frustrated her. They were tears that came because she had nothing left. And she lay like that for what seemed hours, but was only minutes, then got up again and went to fix breakfast – cereal right out of the box.
And then she went back to bed and curled up.
And she lay there, not writhing, not turning, not moving, just curled up and laying in one spot.
And she lay there in pain.
And she thought
How long, O Lord, How long?
I cry out by day, but I hear no answer.
My tears fill the night but there is no relief.
And the psalm was a comfort. She didn't know how she got into this situation and sure didn't know how she would come out of the pain, but the psalm comforted her. Someone else had been where she remained.
And after that thought she fell asleep.
And in her dreams the fire still burned and the pliers still pinched and her nerve endings played like a Kabalevsky theme without any resolution. She could remember when even the discordant notes resolved, but couldn't hear how it had happened. And her nerves were still played without relief.
But the real pain was in the feelings and images that kept her quivering in terror as the prey of images and thoughts and doubts and fears and worries and misgivings that tore through her head at every new event – even the ringing of the telephone or the whisper of a breeze. And so she lay in bed trying not to move so that the pain she was in wouldn't change to something worse.
And the pain wasn't worse when she moved, but it wasn't better. And while it seemed to change places and intensities it was easier to live with it not moving than with the pain moving around.
And her mind went back to: How long, O Lord, how long…. and then kept circling around how long.
And that was the only coherent thought until the afternoon.
Then she looked out the window and saw the rain and wondered what it would be like to sun herself in the rain. It was cold and damp, but beside the pool she could sit and remember the days when she thought sitting by the pool was fun while the rain chilled her so that her mind might go numb.
Sitting in the cold rain seemed more attractive than lying in bed. The rain – maybe – would be a distraction to the way her mind raced and rambled and hurt and tearing itself to pieces.
And she nearly went out into the rain, but then thought how much work it would be to clean up her afterwards and sat down and watched the rain through the patio doors.
She watched the rain and thought about the chill of sitting outside, letting her thoughts congeal and freeze until they could no longer hurt.
And she sat through the rain, through the drizzle as it finished and she watched the rain.
And then she got up and started the laundry.
It was already sorted for the washer.
She'd learned to have multiple laundry baskets and sorted things as she took them off. So she never faced the task of sorting clothes and she could always see when she had enough for a load. And she didn't face a mountain of laundry to organize. And the less movement she had was best.
Today every movement seemed as if it was through congealed grease. The muscles ached and she wasn't sure that she hadn't let out more than a few noises. Yet the pounding in her head seemed to drown out anything she could say. And so she got her first load to the wash, checked the settings and started a load of whites.
She had a chair in the laundry room so she sat while waiting for the load to finish.
And she waited for her muscles to stop aching.
And she waited.
She listened to the whining of the machine and wondered if a bearing was going bad. Or if she was obsessing over a noise that the machine had always made and would always make. She only heard the pitch when the load was spinning an maybe it was just the washer going through its regular cycle and she wondered if she'd heard last time she did the laundry, but she couldn't remember whether or not she had heard that same sound or whether she'd left the laundry room and gone back to bed or whether she'd stayed in the chair and let the load finish. And those thoughts kept running through her head as fast as the spin cycle until she was dizzy.
And she waited for the final spin to finish.
And she wondered how she used to be able to do other things while the laundry was going. She'd have cleaned a room, fixed a chair, taken out the garbage, raked some leaves or something. And now all she could manage to do was sit and worry that something else was going to go wrong. And something else was going to make more work.
And the machine stopped. And she opened the lid. And she began to take the shirts and blouses and linens out to put in the dryer. And then she sat down to take a rest after the load was in the basket. She needed to rest before going over to the dryer.
And she tumbled the clothes into the dryer, started it, and sat down again – wondering if she should have started the laundry today. There were days when she just couldn't do anything, days she had spent on the couch after getting out of bed, and when she hadn't been able to get out of bed. And this should have been one of them she thought as the dryer growled.
At least the whine from the washer was gone – at least until the next load. And she wasn't going to do another load today. She wasn't even sure that she'd get the load in the dryer folded. But she got the one thing done from the doctor's appointment yesterday – she'd started taking the antidepressant.