As I sat in my car on a snowy night waiting to make another two-dollar tip from an idiot who ordered frozen yogurt for delivery in the winter, I got a call from the doctor. By this point, I was pretty delusional, I knew she probably had terrible news, and I didn’t care. She said my potassium levels were morbidly low, and I should go to the hospital immediately, to which I replied, “ How low?” I’d been near death before; her concern scared me out of delusion for about a minute. I proceeded to freeze my ass off as I finished up work and went home for another late night of fearfully staying awake so I wouldn’t die in my sleep. I didn’t want my parents to get that call. My logic was also ridiculously flawed. I figured if I stayed awake at least I’d know if I was having a heart attack. Then I could stumble out into the cold, knock on a stranger’s door and maybe survive it. Or I’d die in the snow and be found in the morning. If I died in my apartment, I could be rotting away for days. But I sure as hell wasn’t going to the hospital.
I was 27, surviving in an overpriced suburb of Denver, CO. I reminded myself daily that I was a failure and a disgusting waste of oxygen. I almost welcomed death because my day-to-day life wasn’t living. Anorexia, bulimia, and depression had consumed most aspects of my existence. I had irreparable dental issues, was severely underweight, and obsessed over my finances or lack thereof. I was not well. By the time my mom came to Denver and convinced me to move back to Florida, I couldn’t stay awake for more than 20 min. My mind was mush. I had little capacity to feel much of anything. The one thing I missed most was laughter. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d authentically laughed. Even my fake laugh had become depressing. I was just numb.
Obviously, this isn’t the beginning of my story. I wasn’t born a 27-year-old hot mess. But this was the deepest pit of starvation I’d ever dug myself into. My own mind constantly tormented me. As I rode back to FL with my mom, exhausted and completely defeated, I felt strangely relieved. I was no longer completely alone. I wish I could say, “And that was the start of my fabulous new life!” But that would be a bold-faced lie. I’ve made progress, but I’m not perfect, nor do I wish to be. Perfect is unachievable and boring. Seventeen years of crappy mental programming doesn’t change overnight. For years my only goal was to fix myself, stop being so f$c@%d up (a terrible goal in hindsight). I’m not broken, but I do need some mental rewiring. It will change over time with consistent effort.
Comedy has significantly helped me change the way I think. Laughing my way through the hard times gives me hope for the future. Even when things are terrible, I can still find relief in laughter. I’ll be the first to make fun of the neurotic behavior I’ve acquired over the years. I don’t just have strange eating habits; as an alcoholic, I’ve done some pretty stupid crap as well. Today I can laugh about it sober and do my best not to repeat history.
I don’t have a Hallmark happy ending for you, but it’s similar to a Hallmark flick because my story isn’t that unique. Many people have mental illnesses and issues just like me. If you’re one of them, I wrote this for you. We may not have the same story, but if you can relate to even a small part, my hope is that you don’t give up. No one is beyond help or hope. You’re not the exception; that includes you