mental health

‘Who could I call? To say I was sick? I was dismissed at 1 a.m., my husband and kids asleep. I thought about that in my lonely Uber drive home from the hospital.’ Mother’s realization about ‘isolating, lonely’ life

“I was off to the hospital in an ambulance. Even though I was sick, I was a little bit happy. I was living the hospital fantasy that mothers dream about. Time alone! I was asked how I was doing constantly; I was doted on. ME! But eventually, sadness crept in. This hospital room felt like the four walls were closing in.”

‘Her husband and I kept it a secret. As she opened the door, her eyes welled with tears. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered in my ear. She was weak in my arms.’

“A month ago, my friend’s otherwise perfect pregnancy ended in a blood bath, and her saying goodbye to a lifeless version of her daughter. Her words, ‘She’s gone! My baby is gone!’ will forever ring in my head. Then, I received a text from her husband. ‘She’s not sleeping. Not eating. Please help me.’ So, I did just that. That’s just what friends do.”

‘I had to wear a wig on my wedding day. ‘What’s going on?!’ my mom asked. ‘I don’t know,’ I lied. It was my dirty little secret. I was a prisoner of my own body, and I put myself there.’

“I had anxiety about what people would say to my son about my hair. Would he be teased because of me? I just couldn’t do that to him. I bought a wig and started an 18-year game of hide-my-hair. I couldn’t believe what I was doing to myself. Each day, I hoped no one caught me.”

‘I held this dark secret. I remember thinking, ‘What the heck? Are people weird like me, too?’ Cruel kids would ask, ‘What are you doing? Why are you pulling out your hair?’ I’m done hiding.’

“When I was 8 years old, I vividly remember pulling out an eyelash as I sat in my mom’s car in the drive-thru. And you know what? I LIKED the feeling from it. It was oddly satisfying. I kept pulling them out until my eyelashes were bald. Then, my parents began to notice. They couldn’t accept I was doing this to myself.”

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