Alright, friends. Here it is, another one of those hard to write segments. I’m just counting on the fact that y’all will accept this as someone who’s been there, and not think I’m playing up the drama for fun. This is one of the posts I can really relate to. It’s kinda scary sharing it. It’s good for me. 🙂 Without further ado, welcome to the 39th segment of my fictional story, When Life Hands You Lymes.
I had been sick for weeks now, but in the last several days there had been a new element I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I couldn’t focus. I felt like my insides were alive and running around. I wanted to jump out of my own body and get away. Was I going crazy? I had the scary thought that I was, indeed, going to end up nutty and not knowing anything that used to be common place. What if I forgot how to read? To write? To – The thought made me stop and sit down. What if I forgot how to play music? What if I forgot what music even was. Setting down my toothbrush, I walked on unsteady feet over to my full length mirror. Peering at my face, I searched, trying to find out if I could see any hints of craziness in my reflection. My brown eyes stared back at me, solemn, sober, and what appeared to be quite normal.
Reaching my hand up onto the wall, I rested my weight on my hand and closed my eyes. My thoughts were frantically chasing each other inside my head and I was getting dizzy. What would my family do if I went crazy? Would I know if I was crazy? How did it feel? Would I remember what life used to be like? Would I miss it? Would it become the new normal? Would my parents be able to handle it? Would it age them? They wouldn’t send me away to an institution, would they? Were there even institutions out there for crazy people any more?
My gasping for breath startled me. Sliding down the wall, I pulled my knees up and laid my head down on them. “God, if I am going crazy, please help me not remember what normal feels like.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I began shaking. If that wasn’t a crazy prayer, I didn’t know what was. Why hadn’t I prayed that I wouldn’t go crazy? Why hadn’t I prayed something normal?
I pulled out my iPhone and flipped the camera around so I could see my face. Tears were building up in my eyes, burring my vision. I wondered if craziness happened all at once, or over a long period of time? Would I be able to watch myself suddenly morph into an insane person, or would I not even notice?
The squawk of a text come in made me jump and drop my phone. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee. (Isaiah 26:3) Julia’s text didn’t have any other words, but it told me everything I needed to hear. Crawling out of the bathroom, I climbed onto my bed and cried myself to sleep. In the midst of all my pain, confusion and craziness, God was still God and He cared about me.
It was 2:31 am when I woke up next. I had ten texts from various family members, all wondering if I was going to be down for supper. A wave of loneliness crashed into me when I thought of all of them eating in our dining room while I had been left alone with my weird dreams. I was still laying across my bed at a strange angle and my body was covered with a cold sweat.
My throat was burning with dryness and all I wanted was a drink. My brain wasn’t working quite fully when I reached my groggy-mind-controlled hands to my bedside table to get my water bottle. When I knocked it over I didn’t respond quickly until I realized that at some time I had taken the lid off and now the water was soaking my notebooks and loose paper I had stacked there. Scrambling up, I righted the water bottle and then pulled a pillow case off of one of my pillows and worked on moping up the water. Halfway though the job I gave up and leaned against the side of my bed sitting in a puddle of water, dripping sheets of music paper in my left hand and soggy pillowcase in my right.
My parched throat felt even drier as I sat there crying. Not even giving it a second thought, I stuck the pillowcase in my mouth and sucked on it. Deep breath, Madalyn, deep breath. After who knows how long, I finally had control of my sobs and I could crawl into bed and drink the tiny bit of water left in my bottle. Then I laid there. And laid there. And laid there. No matter how I tried, no matter what I did, sleep wouldn’t come. I tried counting sheep. Ducks. Mice. Even music notes. I tried listening to soothing music. I tried reciting all the long words I could think of. At last, somewhere around four I gave up on the pretense of sleep and went to my practice room where I fiddled around on my violin.
“You look pretty tired.”
Dad’s voice startled me. I took my violin off my shoulder and gave him a wane smile. “Good morning.”
“Good morning, Madalyn.” Dad gave me a one arm hug so he wouldn’t knock my instrument out of my grasp. “We missed you at supper last night.”
Just the mention of it made tears spring to my eyes. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I plopped down and brushed at my tears in anger. “Whatever it is, it isn’t normal.” I tightened my jaw, determined I wouldn’t let myself cry again. A person can only cry so many times before they lose all sense of dignity.
Dad un-pried my fingers from around the neck of my violin and put it in my case with a gentleness only people who’re surrounded by music lovers can master, then he joined me on my black leather couch.
“I mean, it seems like all I’m doing right now is messing up our family’s life. First of all I’m sleeping at weird hours, then I’m missing family meals, then I can’t pull my weight any more, and now I’m being a total, one hundred percent emotional wreck who’s wasting your time.” And then, despite my somewhat brave attempt to keep them at bay, my tears came for real and they came hard.
“Honey, listen to me.” Dad was using his understanding voice, the one he used to use when I’d have a nightmare or when Darrick had teased me in front of my friends.
I had the random thought of wishing Mom were around so she could hand me a tissue, when Dad pulled one out of the pocket of his sweat pants and balled it into my hand. “Thanks.”
“It’s from Mom.” Dad pulled a whole clump of the tissues out and I accepted them. In all probability I’d be through them before long. Even though Dad had told me to listen to him, he just sat there with his arm around me, looking at me like he was feeling sorry for me. My dad is a man of few words and most of the time I like that. At this moment though, all I wanted was for him to spit out whatever was on his mind.
“What’s going on?” I asked after the seconds and minutes began stretching to five times their normal length.
“What do you mean?” Dad appeared to be surprised by my question.
“Why are you here?” Normally Dad would be on a run at 6:30 in the morning, not sitting in my music room supplying tissues like a vending machine. Not that I minded, I was just curious.
“Because I wanted to check up on you.” Dad gave my knee a gentle pat.
“Oh, cause you’re worried about me going crazy, too?” Yeah, that’s not what I’d been planning on saying. I took my soggy tissue, balled it up and tossed it toward my black wire trashcan. It fell short by several feet. The story of my life recently. I felt like I could relate quite well to that tissue and I was suddenly glad it hadn’t landed in the trash can. Maybe I would frame it and hang it over my bed to remind myself of what life was like at times.
“Madalyn?” Dad shaking my arm brought me back to reality.
“Yes sir?” I tore my gaze off of the poor tissue.
“You didn’t sleep well last night, did you?”
If it had been Katie or Darrick asking instead of Dad, I would have rolled my eyes. My hair was a fizzy mess, my eyes were bloodshot, my clothes all crumpled, and I was going crazy. Yeah. Sleep hadn’t been too pleasant for the few hours it had actually been kind enough to honor me with it’s acquaintance.
“We have a doctor’s appointment for you at nine.” Dad was shaking my arm again. “It’s about an hour and a half away so you and Mom will need to be leaving in a little over forty-five minutes from now. Do you want me to send Mom up here to help you get ready?”
I felt dread building up in me. A doctor’s appointment? Let me just die in peace. Doctors are horrible. “I don’t have a choice, do I?” Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I could remember a time when I used to like going to a doctor. Now all I had to look forward to was them coming to my parents with sorrowful faces to let them know that their youngest daughter was in need of mental assistance.
It all figured. Music-lovers can’t all be normal, right? Just listen to the lyrics of some of the songs out there and it’s pretty obvious that the writer had weird thoughts going through their brain. Maybe that’s what was going on with me. Maybe I was just morphing into a music weirdo, the kind that no one really does stuff with other than love their music. Just as long as I still had my music. As long as that wasn’t taken away from me, I could probably handle the rest.
“Madalyn!” Dad’s fingers snapping in my face and his almost-harsh tone of voice brought me back to the moment.
“What were you thinking?”
The uncertainty in Dad’s voice drew my eyes to his face. He gave me a smile, but I could tell it wasn’t for real. His eyes were roving over my face and his brow was puckered. Brow was puckered. The description made me smile, who talked like that any more? Or thought like that, whatever. It must have been my lack of sleep. Maybe if my mind came up with such good descriptions while running low in the sleep department I should try the stunt more often. It actually felt pretty cool. Maybe I would start writing epic songs in the middle of the dark, lonely nights while everyone else slept peacefully in their beds. There, my mind was doing it again, coming up with deceptive words without me even trying to.
“Madds, I need you to focus.” Dad’s voice sounded really old.
“Ok, Dad.” Sure thing, I could still focus, right? I hadn’t actually gone crazy already, had I? All I was doing-
“Madalyn Marie Emerson!” Dad’s voice jerked me to reality.
“Yes sir?” Dropping my tissues I’d been balling in my hands, I sat up straight. I couldn’t remember the last time Dad had used that tone of voice on me. Or the last time he’d used my full name in any way except in a silly song he would sometimes sing to me about how much he loved me and how happy he was I was in the family.
“You need to be ready to go with Mom to the doctor in a little over half an hour. Do you need me to send Mom or Katie up here to help you get ready?” Dad stood and helped pull me up.
“No sir, I’ll be fine.” I gave Dad a curious look, why was he using that voice on me. He didn’t seem to be mad.
Dad gave me a comforting hug (Dad hugs are the best) and then left.