Between bridge tolls and co-pays I spend $22 a week to manage my mental health. This isn’t bad, really. Yet I still wonder how long it will last.
I could cut my weekly dues in half if I saw a different therapist, one on my side of the bridge. But the idea of starting back at the crazy beginning sounds intolerably exhausting. Ideally, I would have found a therapist over here back in April. But I would have had to wait another week, and I didn’t have that kind of time.
I had already waited three weeks, one week longer than the standard questionnaire requires. “Have you felt sad, worthless or depressed for two or more weeks?” I emailed my OB/GYN on a Friday saying something like, “My anxiety is all consuming,” and, “I think I need some help.” She put in the referral on Monday. By the time the lady from the Psychiatry department called to tell me they were booked solid for the next month, it was already Tuesday. A fourth week was getting ready to pass me by.
She must have sensed my panic. Somewhere between breaking down in tears and stating that, “Surely this is affecting the bond with my baby,” she agreed. I better come in the next day. If that meant I had to go a little out of my way so be it. Nothing as trivial as a body of water was going to stand in my way. I felt like I had lost my marbles, and there I was racing across a bridge after them.
Twice a week I travel down this road to recovery. I’ve been doing this for nearly four months now. Some days feel a bit like that first day, like I need to release the nervous energy before I burst. Other days I wonder what I even have to say. I dread the inevitable awkward lulls in conversation, and question whether it’s worth the $5 bridge toll.
I wonder how I will know when I am “cured.” When do I stop suffering from postpartum anxiety and graduate to survivor? I feel like I’m waiting for my therapist to declare from the other side of the coffee table, “Congratulations! We’re all done here!” So that I can go on my merry way, immune to even a shred of self-doubt. But something tells me this is not how it will play out.
I am a parent now, and the ride has just begun. I will always care and worry about my child. No matter how many bridge tolls I pay, that’s not something I can expect to get over. No one ever does, and there is no final judgment, and we never reach the end of the marble bridge. All I can really do is step on the gas and hope my sanity doesn’t roll too far away from me.
I gave FlamingNyx this prompt: It’s all fun and games until someone realizes it’s not fun at all.