The Girard Point Bridge
Chapter Ten of The Places I Lost It
The ambulance passed through Fairmount Park, the wooded areas of the park dense enough to leave one surprised to emerge and see the skyline of the city so close. The city kids stuck in the neighborhoods so far from nature could slip into the park and pick wildflowers, but they almost never did. There are parts of Philadelphia, block after block, where no trees grow and the window boxes sit dusty with dirt. Summer brings a heat from the asphalt you can feel through your shoes, and dogs pant on the corners in the dripping humidity and judge the ball tossed not worth chasing. It was August again, I was sick again, and I was 40 years into a life I wanted to end, again. Obviously, I was searching for something and coming up empty. Linda, Bill, and my family were always there, always with me, but existentially they weren’t enough. Some of the music I listened to, from modern classical and trip hop to avant-garde jazz and post-rock, touched hierophany, but my reason was left riddled with holes. The sacred was not to be reasoned with, and I emptied myself of all attempts to understand the spiritual pull of my disease. I wasn’t supposed to, and I wasn’t going to, figure out what was going on in my psyche. I had tried religion again, turned to another’s idea of God for solace, and I didn’t get it. All that was left to pull me back to sanity were science and hard work.
My problem with matters of faith was that I was leading with my head. In bringing intellect to spiritual matters I was searching for rational answers where no rational answers existed. I envied the religious; envied with one of their deadly sins their ability to chuck it all and just believe, no matter what happened or what contrary evidence was presented. Come hell or high water, to them God was real and would take care of things, or at least take care of their souls. They seemed to have a certain peace and a certitude that kept them level as I periodically spun out of control. I needed God, but I couldn’t believe it. The schism between the envy of the deeply religious and the repulsion of illogical beliefs put me in the back of that ambulance. It seemed a reasonable repository for a mind that saw so many gradations, as others settled for black or white to the exclusion of the other side’s points in the debate. I was so open minded that I chose nothing, as, increasingly, nothing made sense. Unlikely to be a spiritual athlete or a great philosopher, I found comfort in the secure joy of friends and a family settled - most of the time.
Thanks for reading Practicing Mental Illness! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and read all of The Places I Lost It..
My relationship with my family became difficult and I shied away from them. I could take seeing my parents alone, or one sibling at a time, but when everyone got together I clammed up and shrunk in stature. The run up to a family gathering would leave me depressed and edgy, and the aftermath would be filled with a sort of passive anger that left me shaken and confused. I couldn’t figure out why this happened. I was on my way to the hospital, and the doctors and social worker would want to know about this, and, of course, everyone would visit. We’d all sit down in a room and talk, and I’d surely fake that everything was OK, and let everyone leave feeling better about themselves.
I thought perhaps I was embarrassed to have such a disordered life next to all of my siblings’ seemingly perfect families – great jobs, great kids, great houses - the tyranny of normalcy. I laid to waste my years and those who were close to me while my family rose from working class struggle to become distinct examples of the American Dream of abundance and success. I couldn’t be who they were. I couldn’t have what they had. I couldn’t achieve what was expected of me. So I pretended I didn’t want any of it and that none of it mattered. But there was more to it than that.
It had always been difficult. There were the nervous tics and the distress of all my early Augusts. There was my hiding in relationships with people my family wasn’t always fond of, as if to deflect their attention. I went away for 16 years with only rare contact with my family, and always as individuals on short visits instead of big holiday celebrations with all of them. The holiday celebrations were big, and I was back, so I had to deal with them.
The entire clan would get together on Thanksgiving: Aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousins’ kids. Over 60 people one year. It all became too much and, instead of going to the event I’d stay with a woman I was involved with, or in a bar on Chestnut Street, drinking a tequila and dragging a fork through mashed potatoes as they all gathered to eat at my Uncle’s church. The meal used to be at my Grandparent’s house, always my father’s family, and that was more bearable. But Grandpa was dead and everybody waited for Grandma to follow so they could retreat into smaller groups and avoid living in the past.
When I was a kid we had an art contest every Thanksgiving and every one of my cousins and siblings, and I, would make a picture that Grandpa would judge. Everyone got a prize in crazy categories like “best use of traced fingers in a turkey,” or, “most realistic stick figure pilgrim.” Now the great-grandchildren made pictures and my oldest nephews awarded prizes. Everybody laughed, but it wasn’t the same. They were all holding onto something I let go of long before, and the forced joy brought me pain. I forgot how to be happy. To me, happy was a choice, a state of mind, and my experience with mental illness left me to choose sadness. My family would come to the hospital in a few days and gather, and I couldn’t stand the thought of joining them. I wanted to be so independent that I wound up merely alone. Yet I relied on them as the path home grew so thick with underbrush that I couldn’t hack my way back. It hurt me that I had no family of my own.
The one who would make the most difficult journey to the hospital to visit was my father. Sometime, just a few months after my failed suicide attempt, my father got very sick. Since my return from so many years away he and I had developed a special relationship. He sensed my moods, and he knew when my bipolar disorder was most assertive and, sometimes even before I did, he knew when difficult episodes began. In Arizona I hiked in the desert and considered my father’s work. He was always around, always involved with his kids. As a young man I cursed his lack of ambition and his satisfaction with just enough. Now I acknowledged that so much of what he tried to teach me was right all along, and I would have been better off if I had listened and learned. But this empathy came late, and after the attempt, as I recovered, he deteriorated. His affliction would eventually be diagnosed as an unspecified auto-immune neuropathy, but all we knew was that he was dying before our eyes. He couldn’t swallow; he couldn’t walk; he lost control of his bowels. The man who at 60 could have whipped his sons in any physical challenge, deteriorated into a crippled, cowering shadow of the man he had been. But my father never gave up. He was strong and he fought back. The most notable thing about him is his will, and from him I got the attitude that a man can accomplish anything he set his mind, and his body, to. The doctors gave him very little time, but he would have none of it. He would be well and return to form. He and I began to inspire and drive each other. He willed himself better and I stopped surrendering. We held each other up during setbacks and each served as model for the other’s perseverance. He inspired me and, for a moment, my fight inspired him. I don’t think I would have made it back without his example. But he was the miracle. He was strong again and I was in the back of an ambulance languishing again, headed for a stay of indeterminate length at a hospital hidden on the outskirts of Fairmount Park.
I blamed myself for his illness. Yes, he recovered, but I knew that after a suicide it is not uncommon for one close to the attempter to become very ill, and unexplainably so. I still had not reconciled the grief I caused so many others, and Dad’s illness served as a reminder of the punishment I placed on the innocent around me. Perhaps his condition, and my guilt over contributing to it, kept me from acting against myself again. Perhaps his sacrifice made me whole. When life leaves little to recommend itself guilt becomes a tremendous influence to hold on and stick it out. Guilt can be as powerful a behavior control as forgiveness can be a liberator. Knowing that as long as I lived in the apartment above them my parents would lay awake, still listening for signs of me moving, me living, them panicked by every pause in the creaking floorboards or the sound of running water that ran too long, they would fight the impulse to just call and check on me. They wanted nothing from me but to be settled and safe. I was unsettled, but decided to be safe and slipped into the ambulance of my own volition. It pulled up in front of the Belmont Center for Comprehensive Care and I walked with the EMTs into the lobby. There was a desk that reminded me of a hotel, and a woman dressed like a concierge waited with me until a door to a small room opened and I entered for intake.
After a harrowing night in general population I was transferred to the Affective Disorders Unit, a much more peaceful place, with luxurious furniture and plush carpet. I remember an art therapy group in the Belmont Center for Comprehensive Care. The name of the hospital is suitably vague, not sounding exactly like the mental institution it is, and the presence of art therapy allowed for more than just sitting around the day room. The therapist gave us each a piece of paper and some crayons and told us to draw how we felt. I stared at the blank paper and thought it perfect. I felt nothing. She pushed, and pushed, and pushed too far. I took the black crayon, scribbled with it all over the page, crumpled up the paper into a ball, and threw it at her, yelling: “That’s how I feel!” All the rage of the previous few months had left me numb. Now, again, I was beginning to feel something.
Feeling a little bit of promise, I met another patient named Donna. Donna was young and complicated, with a back-story more difficult than mine, and an outlook more optimistic. Smitten again, I wanted to know her. We sat up one night watching TV and saw an infomercial for a set of kitchen knives. We thought it would be funny if we ordered a set and had it delivered to this floor full of cutters, but we were unable to complete the sale without a credit card or a residential address. Another day someone on staff had the poor judgment to leave a copy of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual on the table in the day room. Sure our doctors had to be wrong, Donna and I diagnosed each other with things we found more daunting than mere bipolar disorder. Things like borderline personality disorder. She was discharged days before I was and she left me her number and a promise that she would answer if I called.
One night Courtney snuck into the hospital and into my room. My roommate had been discharged and I was alone. Realizing that much of my behavior was the result of a roiling episode, she wanted to stay close, if not together. When she left I saw her from my window seemingly float across the parking lot to her car; an apparition in white; a symbol of both hope and pathos. She had a friend, a very pious man, who visited to offer me edification. Instead, he ended up confessing his own sin of adultery, an addiction to internet porn that made him stray, alone, from his wife. I bristled at the implication that my own sins had landed me here, and shut down to him and all visitors.
In Dr Dube’s absence I was seeing the medical director of the hospital. In my memory he always wore dark rimmed glasses, a dark suit, and a dark tie. He looked a little like a loan officer at a bank. He pegged my IQ at 145 and my diagnosis as rapid cycling, mixed episode, bipolar disorder 1. He suggested that, maybe, I was too smart for my own good. While I felt my life had completely come apart, he was amazed at how well I functioned in the face of such an assertive mental illness. Again I was playing psychic chess with a doctor, making moves, thinking several moves ahead, just trying to get out.
After a few days they let me have my guitar, the old cheap one, as long as I gave it and its potentially dangerous strings up at night. Linda would call late, just so I could feel the phone vibrate in my pocket and know that someone was out there pulling for me and not judging me well or worse. I soon did get out, and I remember little else about my stay. If there’s a such thing as a routine visit to a psychiatric hospital, then this was it. So why had I been there at all? I was definitely suicidal and decompensating psychologically when I went to the emergency room, and then Belmont, for intake. Insurance companies have a habit of making mental health care difficult to get, and would never have approved my admission without doctors insisting that I was unsafe on my own. Still, the entire experience begs the question, “What is the meaning of a psychiatric hospital stay?”
The Belmont Center for Comprehensive Care is no country club, but it is much more pleasant than Pennsylvania Hospital, or the hospitals in Richmond and Phoenix. It was comfortable, well-appointed, and safe. I had private health insurance since I just left my job, and would somehow come up with the money to cover COBRA when it was due. This put me in a hospital far from the terror of the seeming prisons detailed in others’ memoirs and horror movies. Essentially, life became too much and the medical establishment offered me a break where I’d be taken care of, fed well, and given the opportunity to rest, soon to be well enough to re-visit the challenges that chewed me up in the first place. I was spit out, reformulated, and reborn a little stronger, a little more careful, and a little more risk averse.
Repeat admissions changed me. I developed the fear that the outpatient treatment I received was not good enough, or that I was too weak, to always remain sane. Up came a resignation that true stability would be forever illusive. It was possible to leave the first stay at a hospital with hope, but after the second, or the third, or the fourth, or the fifth, all I walked out with was sadness. I had a great doctor and the best treatment available waiting, but I still wound-up retreating to the hospital every so often to keep up with the changes wrought by my illness in the face of decay, demoralization, and further decompensation. This was a testimony to the intransigence of serious mental illness. Treating it is hard. I’d get better, but permanently? The question greater than, “what is the meaning of a psychiatric hospital stay?” became, “what is the meaning of mental illness?” I struggled with this, as if there was any meaning to it at all, or any meaning to anything, and as I left Belmont with my bag in hand and a ride from my father waiting I didn’t accept that after so much experience with bipolar disorder I had no inkling of meaning and, in a way, I was just getting started on the journey of recovery.
If recovery was going to be possible, I needed to maintain health insurance coverage with generous benefits for mental health. Unable to afford coverage through COBRA, and with little option in 2004 for immediate public market coverage, I faced losing my insurance again. Hospitals, medicine, even visits to Dr Dube would become cost prohibitive, and I would surely flounder.
My parents already gave me the $2700 I needed to settle the collection agency on my American Express bill, and with Dad’s illness and their limited resources, I couldn’t bear to go hat in hand to them again. They were already letting me live rent-free in the apartment in their duplex. I thought I took enough. Penn negotiated an even lower rate for my psych visits, so continuing care at a reasonable cost was possible, but my medicines were still under patent and would cost hundreds per month without insurance. I spent everything I had in my relationship with Courtney, so to keep my head above water I sold my concert guitar and the two remaining paintings that were left from my art collection. All vestiges of my heady days and freewheeling life were gone. With any chronic illness money burns fast, and even though I bought myself a small cushion by selling at desperate prices everything of value I owned, I had no security. I stopped living beyond my means, for I had no means, and while I had yet to leverage what little credit I had left, I was sure to run out of medicine, funds, and hope, soon. I turned where I had turned before, and found a Starbucks, this one with a drive-through, on Route 70 in Cherry Hill, NJ. There I could work part time and receive full benefits. I showed up at the interview too old and overdressed, but the manager had little interest in the gaps in my resume or my steep professional trajectory downward. She just wanted an experienced barista. So at 40 years old, my business success a distant memory, I put on an apron and stepped behind another espresso machine.
I had been seeing Donna since about two weeks after I left the hospital. We met in Center City to have dinner, and I did something stupid like buy a new pair of sneakers at the Puma Store, just to impress this 24-year-old. After a long wait for a table at Monk’s Café she passed out when walking to the bathroom. The manager placed her in a seat at a table being bussed and asked me if he wanted him to call 911. Donna perked up, so we didn’t. She was having trouble with her meds, and this could have been the result, but at least we got a table. Another day I waited for her at my apartment. She arrived late, having had an accident with her stepfather’s car. Again, the medicine, and that was the last time she drove. We started off platonic, and meant to keep it that way, but one day she commented on pants I was wearing and said she thought she would look better in them then I did. I took her dare, I took them off, and that was it. She’d had some complicated relationships and, in the hospital, expressed a desire to be alone for a bit and get used to herself without another’s influence, but I couldn’t stomach the thought of being alone and stepped up the relationship. I shouldn’t have gone there. Once again I got what I wanted as my selfishness battered my compassion.
Donna’s slide back into depression was sudden. She lost her job managing a retail store and gained lots of weight, a side effect of one of her meds. I dropped her off and picked her up at a support group she attended and raced to hold her on nights she couldn’t stand being alone. She began cutting herself. Her only alternative to that pain, although looking back it seems another form of self-abuse, was to give herself to me. She filed for and received SSDI and, surprisingly, my libertarian instincts led me to begin to resent her. I thought she was able to return to work and shouldn’t milk the state for her keep. I thought she was getting paid to not get better. Foolishly, fresh out of a desperate situation of my own, living off a certain level of private charity myself, I refused to concede that she needed the Medicaid and, at least for a time, she couldn’t work. I let the resentment go, because she was fundamentally a good person and she tried very hard to recover and return to independence. Meanwhile, I was living like a succubus with my parents hosting a place to live and Donna offering sex that she may not have wanted to give. The hypocrisy of my views was overlooked by my crying mind, but still, these people stood by me, and as my father and Donna recovered, I remained stuck in the quicksand of a diving mood, not struggling hence not sinking further, refusing the low hanging vines just overhead, insisting on a rescue instead of pulling myself up.
I started doing only what Donna wanted to do, and I was a ridiculous 40-year-old man listening to hip hop music and reading manga. I dressed silly and talked silly, and Donna and I deepened our friendship as I slipped away from the things I was passionate about and took up hers. At once, our relationship represented a high point and a low point. I found someone who understood the range of emotions and moods that bounced me around for years. We could talk deeply about ideas and behaviors that would put most people off. We understood each other’s suffering and understood that, sometimes, mere presence is far more important than intervention. At times we attended to and nursed each other’s pain. At times we found the humor in the most clung to grandiose ideas. We called each other’s bullshit and encouraged each other’s return to some sense of normalcy. But it’s crazy for crazy people to get involved with other crazy people. There was an unspoken sense that this was the best we could do. We could only love, and be loved, by another scarred by mental illness. We overlooked the age difference and the fact that we had little else in common because the embrace was so secure and accepting. We were exploring bipolar disorder together and possibly identifying with it a little too much. It was as if we each said, “I’m sick and you have to take care of me; I’m sick, I can act however I want; I’m sick, this is the best I can do.”
The part of the story that’s hardest for me to tell is how desperately and completely I surrendered my own desires and motives to place my heart into the hands of the latest woman in my life. I had a knack at being a chameleon, quickly sizing up a love interest, her wants, needs, values, and pastimes, and adapting my personality and particular strengths to become exactly what that woman wanted. No matter how far I had to go to bury myself, I would rise as someone else’s definition of a mate and, at least for a time, win the woman’s hand. I practiced empathy with a purpose, which is no empathy at all. It happened again with Donna, as she came to love me, and the fraud kept me thinking I was loved and accepted; it kept me thinking I was vital and, in a sense, even necessary. So many years of giving others what they wanted while sublimating or forgetting my own desires took their toll as I moved without center from one relationship to the next, a completely different person each time.
And so I kept putting off what I wanted to be, and so lost touch with my own promise that I forgot all about it. I would end up fantasizing another life while remaining idle with a partner I knew very well – knew her even better than I knew myself. Then, realizing my mistake, I grew angry at all I gave up for this woman who never asked for anything, and I would begin to demand more and more concessions and more and more control. I realized she wasn’t what I truly wanted, but I still tried to bend her to some will I couldn’t finger, as I came back from being lost in a relationship. Unreasonably, I wanted her to lose herself, too. Then, she would get frustrated and angry and the end would rush in: Shouting, kicking, and without recourse.
At each parting no one got what they wanted. The woman was left confused by the sudden changes in a man she thought she knew. I was left manic and disappointed, all too often without a safe, secure landing on which to place myself, not knowing what I had become, and shortly suicidal again. This breakdown was caused by a lost love that I honestly never wanted, but did need for reasons of my own deficiencies. I felt terror at facing myself alone so I entered too seriously, too fast, into relationships better left not launched. And now I had done it again. But Donna was smart. She caught on before I did and called my bluff. She told me she valued our friendship but had to, for her own and for my good, end the sexual relationship. She said she couldn’t be intimate with me anymore because she was only truly attracted to big, black men, and that was one thing I couldn’t be. She needed a break and wouldn’t see me for a while, so I left.
It was the night of New Years Day, and as I drove from Delaware County back to the Walt Whitman Bridge I stopped on the Girard Point Bridge and got out of the car. The impulse to end it is the real monster, and it still lurked within the boundaries I set for my behavior. I stood at the rail and looked at the ground on the shore of the river far below. I put a leg over the bar, but the rocking and swaying of the bridge made me sick as I contemplated another end. The bridge pitched as a semi rumbled past, and I could barely hold on as I threw my other leg over the rail. I nearly slipped as the metal grew cold in my hands, and I thought I would surely fall. But that was the point, wasn’t it? A moment of some will welled over me, and the thought of being scraped out of the icy mud below seemed reprehensibly chilling. I both did and did not want to live. My hands stuck to the frigid metal, and the lights of the airport in the distance asserted themselves against the black of the sky. The lights signaled other means of exit, other means of escape. I threw up, and watched the vomit disappear as it fell into the night. My squinting eyes followed the puke into a pool of retched faces, howling at the grief I’d cause if I flew from the bridge. The heavy footsteps overhead scuffed windblown across the vast, riveted structure, and the cars just drove on by. In the hospital I once called Debra, and she said: “I wish you had succeeded. I wish you just would die.” It wasn’t out of malice. She truly wished that my pain would stop and that my soul would outlast the tortured mind I carried into each night as I looked up and imagined falling. But my soul couldn’t outlast anything. There was nothing on the other side of crushed bones and exhausted breath. The howling faces fell silent. I would only be dead. Another truck raced past, its horn blaring as a hound chasing demons, and I summoned some courage enough to face another suffering year. I climbed down from the edge of the bridge and slipped and fell against my car and into traffic. But I rolled back to the shoulder and brushed from my hair and coat bits of tar and pebbles, the cap from a tire stem, all black and covered with grime. I knelt beside the highway, confused as to how I ended up on all fours in front of my car beside the lanes bending home. I nearly prayed. Instead, I stumbled getting up – caught myself again. With familiar resignation I returned to the car and drove on.
I missed the exit for the Walt Whitman and coasted into South Philly where I joined the mummers parading on 2 Street. I tried, but couldn’t disappear into the sea of men in sequins and feathers who played banjos and saxophones as they stumbled into their clubhouses, pausing only to kiss girls they’d never see again. The bright, glistening colors of the scattering parade overwhelmed me, and the dancers and waste of beer cans on the street tripped me up. It was a new year, 2005, eleven years after my first hospitalization, and I seemed racing toward another one. Not wanting to celebrate the burgeoning days, I drank until I couldn’t walk.
Donna and I had little in common but an illness and a hospital stay, but we did forge a strong friendship after the fallout of our tentative commitment. I got to know who she really was, and I let her in on my truth. We turned out to genuinely like each other. We went places like concerts, movies, and galleries, and had fun. She was bright, funny, and full of promise, with a past to be discarded and a future wide open in front of her. We were just friends. Donna returned to work, and when her diagnosis changed from bipolar disorder to adult ADHD, she completely recovered. Sensing a new start and an opportunity, she moved to Portland, Oregon. Back in New Jersey, I started to get better.
I was working again and had set some money aside, so I flew out to visit her. On an impossibly clear day Mt Hood stood dominant over the city, and I who never took pictures when I traveled, spent a roll of film taking photos of the Chinese Classical Garden. The coffee was different, the squirrels were different, and the trees that grew in the park were different from what I knew back east. We drove to the San Juan Islands in Washington and stayed on a lavender farm where I backed the rental car off a rock walled drive and spilled gasoline all over the lawn. Stuck again, or another place to stay? The firemen spread foam over the thickening spill, and I called the owner, a surfer from San Diego, who took it in stride and even helped us get around for the few days we stayed. A couple drove us back to Sea-Tac, where we replaced the car, and we headed back to Portland. The cerulean sky was still sunny, the mountain still reigning even greater than the star that beat down on an unsuspecting city. I developed a friendship with a woman and wanted nothing from her but to share ideas and experiences. I knew it was time, finally, to be alone.
When I returned home I picked up some old books and began to seriously study Zen and meditate. The idea of non-attachment appealed to me as I realized my suffering was caused by my efforts to manipulate situations to my confused set of beliefs and desires. Any sort of clinging, even to things that were salubrious, could lead me to a place of questioning and doubt. Doubt turned out to be healthy, and I discovered that while the disease rocked the stability of my wellness, my thoughts about the disease and the limitations it placed on me were what truly held me back.
It was a change in the language I used about my mental illness that finally set up my recovery. For years I thought, and said, “I am bipolar.” The verb to be leaves little room for identity, definitively linking I with the object, obliterating independence. Yes, illness can be all consuming, but it is not what one is. No one says, “I am cancer,” or “I am hypertension.” Yet these illnesses can be as confining, or defining, as bipolar disorder. Instead, using the verb to have, as in, “I have bipolar disorder,” enabled me to stand apart from the illness, observe how it affected me, and consider it possible to leave it behind. From everyone from my doctor to my family to mere acquaintances, I no longer accepted, “you are mentally ill.” I insisted on, “you have mental illness.” That change in verbs made all the difference. Language is that powerful.
Prepared to stand separate from the disease, I began to lose the strange sense that I was responsible for having it. Schooled in objectivism, I, for a time, honestly believed that my actions led to my having the disease, as if being sick was my own fault. I was all too eager to hold myself up as the villain in my downfall. Yet science maintains that I suffer from a chemical imbalance. I’m not screwed up, my biochemistry is, so how could any individual, including myself, be to blame for my bipolar disorder? Since I wasn’t mentally ill but instead had a mental illness, the need to blame myself, or someone else, for what I had become evaporated. I began to think, I have bipolar disorder – I can heal from it.
So in finally accepting that I was not responsible for being ill, my overarching belief in self-responsibility shifted a little. No, it wasn’t my fault that I was sick, but I was entirely responsible for my getting better. I thought, and still do, that I am able to be well as long as I stick to a treatment plan, change my lifestyle, and work to be independent and secure. I had a good doctor, and support from family and friends. If my condition were to improve it was entirely up to me from that point on. I was lucky, disciplined and smart. Maintaining my health, and mental health, was to be determined from my actions. No, the disease would not go away. There is no cure, and it would continue to bite hard with little regard to inputs. But how I responded to each period of remission and each episode of mania or depression would set me up for success or failure. My health was on me.
I was so sure of all of this that I was unprepared when the next wave of mixed episodes rose up to crush me. Once again, I nearly drowned.
Thanks for reading Practicing Mental Illness! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and read all of The Places I Lost It.