2003 went out with a horribly traumatic bang for me. There were a bunch of us at my mom’s house for New Years Eve, and somehow Henry and I wound up on opposing Trivial Pursuit teams. I can’t remember–or maybe it’s more that I won’t remember–the gritty details, but there might have been a skirmish between Henry and me revolving around the video game character Yoshi, and perhaps it culminated in me lunging at him from across the top of my mom’s coffee table while all my friends watched with scared eyes as I called him a mother fucker amongst a shimmering array of death threats that all but came out in the backwards tongue of Satan.
That’s the thing with us bi-polars: you toss us in a roomful of people, some of whom we’re only pretending to like; place a bevy of alcholic choices at our finger tips; top it off with the element of intense competition and watch our tops blow, mother fuckers. It starts off with nervous laughter, always. But it escalates, inexplicably and fast, like having your thalamus double-fisted by Charles Manson. It was a scene. Quite embarrassing after the fact, but while it was playing out, all I could comprehend was: I was PISSED, I was HURT, no one CARED, and I wanted to fucking KILL myself.
I drove home drunk that night. No one bothered to stop me, no one seemed to care at all, really. In fact, before I left, I overheard my mom griping to my friends, “Ugh, she always does this shit.”
Sometime after I got home that night, after I staggered through the door and collapsed in a pathetic Sybil-esque heap on the couch, Henry called me from my mom’s house and instead of asking how I was doing (NOT WELL, thanks for not asking), he had the audacity to say, “Your friend Lisa is really pissed off at you. You ruined her night.”
That right there? That caused me to hurl the cordless phone into the decorative fireplace that has pissed me off since I moved into this house in 1999 because in whose world is a fireplace a DECORATION? It’s a heat source, you fucking interior designing cunts.
It was a low point in my life. Maybe the lowest, but there are a few contenders for that title. I cried a lot. Quit talking to Lisa. Began reevaluating my other friendships and even my relationship with Henry. I knew I needed to talk to someone, probably (definitely) someone with a sturdy psych degree. But for now, at that moment, I needed a friend more than someone spouting off clinical “How does that make you feel?” ‘s and prescriptions for tiny blue pills.
That’s how I knew I was alone, as I sat on the couch a few days later and scrolled through the numbers in my phone. “I don’t want to talk to any of these assholes,” I thought. And then I remembered Christina, how she was always so supportive in the comments she left on my LiveJournal entries, how she went to Bible College. And maybe that was the kind of person I needed to talk to. Someone who had Christ on her side.
So I called her. I let it all out. I don’t open up very easily, if at all, yet I found myself I telling her things I never would have admitted to a therapist or any of those people programmed into my phone. We spoke of my abandonment issues, and how that past New Years Eve exemplified my fears. We spoke of my Pappap and my ability to consistently feel alone even in a crowded room. We spoke of everything that mattered. And instead of telling me what she thought I wanted to hear, she did something better: she made me feel understood, cared about, unalone. For the first time in a long time, I remembered what it felt like to have a friend. Sharing psychological horrors with a near-stranger will do that, I guess. But moreso, what I realized was that she was no longer laying on that bombastic persona with me. She sounded real now when we spoke on the phone. She wasn’t coating her words with smarmy humor and squirting the conversation with a creamy braggadocio filling; instead, the phony game show host voice was retired in favor for her true sincerity and I liked this girl. This was the Christina with whom I wanted to be friends, and hanging up with her day, I was suddenly very thankful to have met someone as fucked up as myself.
And it was completely unexpected, like scoring an STD after having protected sex and shouting at the doctor, “But I didn’t think it could happen to me!?”