Let’s go straight to the juiciest part: in the morning of a mid-march day, I lost my senses to my kitchen floor.
After 3 days of absolute no-sleep, that morning I raised from the bed asking myself whether it would be a better idea to go to the office or to stay home again.
As you may recall, everything had started to make me feel terrified, since December. For some reasons, going to work and especially having meetings were two of my biggest fears.
A phone call was scheduled for my boss, some colleagues from a different site and me that morning. The only idea of being in the room with my boss and let her see me in those conditions made my stomach cringe even more. I spent almost an hour walking around in my house, trying to figure out whether to stay home or go to the office. I had been pretty often on sick leave in those months and, even if I knew I hadn’t been faking, I still felt a bit guilty having to stay home again.
I continued walking and ruminating, till I had to stop, because – as usual – the room had started to spin around. Reaching out for a chair and saying “I’m feeling dizzy” are the last things I remember.
Some time later (I was going to be told that just few seconds had passed, even though it felt way longer to me) I reopened my eyes and found myself sitting on the floor, the rest of my family with a terrified expression trying to help me and a splash of water running down from my face to my chest and to the floor around me.
I still don’t know whether I fainted or I simply fell asleep that morning, but some things I know for sure:
- As soon as I reopened my eyes, I realized that those few seconds I had spent senseless had been the most pleasant ones of my most recent months. I had felt relaxed and free again for an instant and I was almost regretting that I had come back to my senses.
- The first image I saw when I opened my eyes was my dad holding me from my shoulders and crying like a baby. My first words were for him: “Please dad stop crying, I’m okay”. Needless to say, I wasn’t ok at all. I was miles away from being ok; I had never been that far from being ok in my entire life.
- Shouldn’t that literal fall have happened, I probably wouldn’t still have found the courage to face the monster that was growing up in my mind. It was my breaking point and something that, months later, I would have been grateful of.
- That was the first day in my life in which I felt the urge to start opening up about all the mess that was going on in my head. I opened up with my mum at first, then I did it again with my GP few hours later, then I did it again with the doctor that was going to become my therapist the following day. I wasn’t used to that kind of frank talk, I had never felt at ease when talking about me and my deepest thoughts, but that day I felt I had no way out. I was desperate, the way I had never been or imagined I could be before. So I just tried to unload completely by revealing to my family and to my doctor what I thought were the reasons of my sufferings.
Few moments after I had regained my senses, I began shivering; it started like it was being caused by the cold water that I had just been splashed on my face, but it went on for more than 2 hours, making my nerves shake in my arms, shoulders, chest and thighs.
I stayed in bed till the shaking stopped, then found some of the little residual strength to put clothes on and reach my doctor. She asked me if I had any idea about what was making me feel that way and she let me talk, carefully listening to me. She tried to reassure me, she sent me home with a Xanax prescription and – above all – she scheduled my appointment with a therapist for the following morning.
So yes, I was going to see a shrink.
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