‘Here we go again…’ I reluctantly swing my legs out of the parked car and plonk with considerable effort, my feet on to the hospital grounds.
Right in to a bloody puddle.
Watching the water soak up my trendy flares, so it will now look like I have decided to wear waders to my therapy session, I take a deep shaky sigh and close my eyes. Today is day 2. Everybody has wet legs on day 2. (The things you tell yourself to calm yourself down when you’re anxious are weird. Moving my legs out of the puddle probably would have been a better idea but I couldn’t.)
I re-open my eyes and sit motionless, staring at the denim on my shoes slowly changing colour before grasping on to my thighs and attempting to blow out all the anxiety through my mouth and calm my shaky core.
As I do this I look away from my shoes, which seem to also have some sort of blobby white stain on them, and up at the foreboding Victorian building sitting on the top of the hill like a majestic sturdy Grandpa who has seen it all.
I clamp my eyes closed for a second, feel around for my belongings and begin an attempt at preparing myself for what is about to happen.
‘I am henry the 8th I am, henry the 8th I am, I am’ I mutter to myself through gritted teeth in a failed effort at smiling, while remembering the advice the Irish one had given me last night.
Smile lots, he says. Smile lots and you’ll feel calmer.
He also thinks, that if that doesn’t work, in a separate and desperate bid to overcome my nerves I should go back to the courtyard where I was hysterically crying on Monday morning, and run around in circles clasping my head and singing I am Henry the 8th at top volume.
I told him last night that when I am here, I feel like a fly trapped under a thick drinking glass on a hot and sweaty summer day. Everybody is watching the fly for signs of madness and all the fly wants to do is fly away and go and party with its fly mates. (And, obviously ignore all of its issues and never come back to this place ever again.)
The Irish one believes behaving like this will get the nerves, over everybody watching me and thinking I am mad, out of my system, as it will convince everyone that I am in fact not mad. His logic being, that a mad person would never run around in circles in an institute, they would zig zag.
I am not sure about this, but I will see how today goes. (By the way, talking about zig zagging, if you ever find yourself being chased by a crocodile this is how you should run… take my word for it. This isn’t relevant. I am delaying the inevitable. I know this.)
I slam the car door, now managing a shaky and somewhat manic smile to myself and sing ‘Second verse, same as the first…’
‘Pardon?’ A woman on her way to work pauses and looks at me questioningly, ‘Did you ask me something?’
‘Oh, er, no, nothing sorry, just er, talking to myself again’ I step towards her forcing myself to laugh loudly and therefore coming across like a deranged monkey. ‘I am just a bit nervous’ I say before turning towards my car and pointing my key at it, in an attempt to lock it.
This does not work as my key isn’t electric.
It is just a key.
My car has no central locking and I am an idiot.
I am hoping the lady behind me has walked onwards and up to the reception but unfortunately she seems to be waiting for me. I mention something about leaving something on the passenger seat but still she just stands there. Waiting. Looking puzzled.
What I should have done at this point is walk calmly to the car, stick the key in the lock and turn it. But I didn’t. In my anxious and idiotic state I thought I would try again to lock it with an imaginary button. God knows what I was hoping would happen. Maybe the gods would smile kindly on me and inject me with the force or something. Needless to say it didn’t lock.
Eventually I accept defeat, shrug my shoulders and walk over to the keyhole.
‘Don’t know why I bothered, it doesn’t even have central locking. I feel like a wasp you know?’ I say without pausing for breath ‘No not a wasp, a fly, I get all nervous and I do stupid things and now you will think I am mad, and maybe I am, have you ever heard the song henry the 8th? Well maybe I should tell you about this because The Irish one, well actually his name is…’
‘It’s Lexy isn’t it?’ She interrupts, her voice crisply cutting through the brittle morning air and in to the circle of craziness taking place in my brain.
‘Yes,’ I reply too brightly and run in to her personal space. I was expecting her to start walking but she hasn’t so now we are almost nose to nose. ‘Sorry,’ I gasp and step back in surprise, I thought you were going to move.’
‘Ill see you later today. Go and get yourself a cup of tea’ and with that she gives me a tight smile and wanders off in the opposite direction to where she was initially heading, probably to the place where sane people are protected from people like me. (If a gorilla is chasing you, don’t run in a zig zag, just fucking run ok? Don’t go confusing a gorilla with a crocodile; I am not getting the blame for that one….just be aware is all. )
My bloody nerves!
You see, this is the thing; this is exactly why I didn’t want to come back here today! Monday was exhausting; all that indecision about whether to open up or not and when I finally did, and I had exposed my core and much much more (not in a rude way, it isn’t naked therapy or anything) before I could process what I had done, it was time to go home.
For the past two days, because of this, I have found myself over examining everything. I am over examining myself at a rate of knots! (Again, not in a rudey got my kit off way, it really isn’t naked therapy!)
What if I don’t put the washing in the drier now, and go for a wee instead, what does that say about me?
What if I only kiss Addison on the nose, and realise he tastes delicious so lick his cheek, what does that say about me?
What if I eat a full packet of fig biscuits, a bowl of icecream and then some minestrone soup, what does that say about me?
Why do I know how to escape from random jungle animals when I live in a city, what does that say about me?
Coming back here today just amplifies this ten fold. After my run in with the lady in the car park, I am even more aware of the fact I am coming across Bonkers.com completely against my will.
If someone shouts ‘Act Normal!’ for some reason I grab my left tit and whistle the grand old duke of York. This is just the type of person I am.
The minute I get here I have this sense that all the doctors, psychologists and therapists are secretly examining my every little movement and metaphorically pulling apart every word that comes out of my mouth, searching to find the an underlying reason for my behavior, so they can truly analyze just how mental I am.
This sends me in to a state of total panic and I end up behaving like each and every character from an episode of Winnie the Pooh in just under 15 minutes. (Eeyore being my default setting.)
The day doesn’t end there either.
As I was walking up to grand old house at the top of the mountain, I noticed a uniformed member of staff walking towards me and out of nowhere I seemed to develop a dodgy gangsta limp.
All memory of being able to walk like a normal person was immediately wiped from my mind the instant I spotted the gangly, brown haired doctor walking towards me and I was instantly, and against my will, switched in to Lexy demo mode.
Gangsta limp, normal limp, skip, hop and back to gangsta limp.
AND then to make it worse! (Yes it got worse) I had a light bulb idea moment.
Remembering what the Irish One had told me the night previous about reverse psychohycology (I’ve given up trying to spell that word now), I thought the good doctor would obviously be able to see it was just nerves making me act random, and so decided to try and make light of it.
As he walked directly past me to my left smiling slightly and avoiding eye contact, I all but bellowed (bloody nerves) ‘Yo!’ and flicked my fingers in that annoying way teenagers do, except I have never been able to do it, so it came across as a swipe, and I accidentally caught his hip bone with my nails.
He stopped and turned to look at me startled as I stood there finding this complete balls up hysterical, and doubled over laughing. I was about to gasp my excuse for the behavior but sensing I was about to speak, he interrupted quickly before I could.
‘Its Lexy isn’t it? I’ll see you later.’
I decided to brush it off and walk onwards and upwards.
Spotting a young girl from my group pouring herself a coffee I shook off the gangsta limp and managed to stumble towards her in a desperate bid to make a new friend and in a frantic hope to quell some of the nervous behavior that was taking over my bodily functions.
My opening gambit?
‘Hi, how’s your crazy this morning? Mine is out of control.’
I thought she’d laugh. She didn’t.
She said she was fine and then very sneakily escaped while I was trying to find the button for black coffee.
Walking out in to reception carrying my cup and saucer I spotted both doctors I had seen this morning, chatting behind reception.
Immediately reverting in to hill billy mode I wave and shout howdy.
Unfortunately I use the hand which is holding the fresh brewed and very delicate (posh) cup of coffee.
I wince as it runs down my sleeve tracing a trail of pain from my wrist to my elbow, but trying to ignore the fact it has happened at all. (Much like someone who falls over in front of a group of people and then denies it ever happening by getting up and walking off on a broken ankle.)
‘Are you ok? That looks sore’ the one who’s hip I thwacked jumps up ‘ill get you some tissue.’
I plaster on a smile and dig my own grave.
‘Its ok, I like the pain.’ I proclaim proudly ‘And it smells lovely.’
They look at me with their mouths hanging open. I am a walking talking gangsta loving, imaginary star trek car locking coffee self harming crazy crocodile quoting mentalist.
I turn to walk outside.
‘Lexy?’ The therapist shouts.
‘Your key worker wants to see you at 3pm.’
I bloody bet she does.
I walked out singing ‘I am henry the 8th I am…’ in response.