“Chelsea? Chelsea?” I don’t look up.
Wendy the counselor waits; I assume she waits patiently. She’s going to have to wait for a while, if she thinks waiting will get a response from me. I may be as mentally distant from her, the room, and life as possible; but, I smugly acknowledge, I still have my stubbornness.
“Chelsea?” She tries again, though not pleading or cajoling. The woman is too good at her job. Her paid job. The one I’m paying her to do. “I can come in there after you, if you need me to, but I want you to find a way out on your own.”
I’m ugly. No one actually cares about me, least of all her. I’m paying her; she’s a paid friend. She doesn’t want to to see my face; my red, splotchy, tear-stained face, with stringy, greasy hair and imperfect, crooked teeth…
“Whatever you’re telling yourself right now is not true.” I hear, from a distance. “You need to stop listening to that voice, and meet each untruth with the more positive truth.”
Whatever. I’ve heard aphorisms before. I know that my “voice” is the truth: the UGLY truth, yes; but the HONEST one. No one really cares. No one really cares. No one. People standing outside my pit, calling to me, don’t really want to be there. And, they are ignorant twits.
Whenever someone leans over the edge of The Pit I wait. “You don’t actually care!” I yell, from somewhere near the bottom, out of sight of any penetrating light. Occasionally, they take the bait; they lean closer. Grabbing them like a mud-pit crocodile, I drag them down with me to their doom.
“Wha-?” They manage, before getting a faceful of mud, moss, roots, overplayed apps, and wrappers from an entire package of Fun Size Snickers.
Believe me, that size of chocolates was not as “fun” as they said.
Soon enough, I have amassed a small pile of hapless prey. Almost all of them are not strangers; they’re me: Optimistic Me, Tried That Day Me, Motivated Me, lots of Medicated Me’s, Broke the Habit Me, and even Did Something Worthwhile Me. They’re not as big or strong as Me in The Pit, of course, which is why they’re lying, broken, at the bottom.
Balancing carefully, I decide to climb atop the living pile of bodies. They moan slightly, too down-trodden and depressed to fight back.
Knowing me, I’d probably kick them if they did fight. It’s easier to kick another down than help myself up.
Slowly, precariously, my head reaches sunlight. I climb higher, ignoring the complaints below. Helpful Me, the poor sucker, proffers a handy boost with her unbroken leg. Soon I see the top of the hole; I’m looking at ground level.
“Wow,” I breathe.
A slight, sweet-tasting breeze tickles my exposed face. A completely careless birdsong whistles down from a nearby tree. I see light, clear skies, beautiful landscapes. I can almost touch rough twigs and mossy ground. Almost.
It’s not real, someone I know, inside, tells me.
“Come out,” my counselor requests. Still waiting. Perhaps she’s eyeing Medicated Me, just beneath a dirty sneaker, when she adds, “Medication is never meant to be taken on its own. Studies are clear that any treatment must include therapy.”
The breeze tastes of rain, as well. Storms will come, maybe soon. That whistling bird is a sitting duck for a hawk or fox, singing so anything can hear it. The impending storms will mar the sky -look! See? A cloud is already blocking the sun. The twigs and moss are not actually there. I’m sure they’re just fake craft-store props.
It’s too much.
I climb or stumble or intentionally fall back to the dark comforts beneath me. We all roll or crawl or drag ourselves to muddy positions as I select the easiest numbing solution nearby.
“Don’t do this,” I think I hear, from far away. Wendysomething?
You didn’t, Depressed Me says.
“Let’s play Fortnite,” Addicted to Apps Me suggests. A few others perk up a bit in agreement. I acquiesce, and we all wait for it to load. We really ought to fix the WiFi in The Pit, but Motivated Me is still recovering from a concussion.
“Can I have a Snickers?” Pig Me asks. I hand her the bag. Thank goodness for home delivery, otherwise we might starve.
Chelsea’s Writing Site, if you wanna read it.