The Snails

The day after the discharge, I received a long list of shops, I needed to call. C had a similar list at home and she got help from S. I didn’t really know who S was or why she was helping, but I was afraid to ask. I was scared I’d been told, and just didn’t remember. When I finally met S, I understood C’s decision to bring her onboard. Her energy was so happy and vivacious and she had a smile that was impossible not to reciprocate. Now we were three. Everything was gonna be alright.
During the next couple of months I got worse. Especially the snails were a problem. Big, slimy, army green slugs with big pink lips. When I first started seeing them, I thought they were bacteria. I cleaned my fridge again and again, but they kept coming back. It became harder and harder eating anything from the fridge. Everything needed to be wrapped twice and if I saw a snail on anything, I had to throw it away. After advice from SK, I started buying everything in as small packaging as possible. Preferably I avoided the fridge. Days could go by without me opening it. But the fear didn’t go away even though I didn’t open the fridge. I still knew the snails were there.
The first time I saw a snail outside of the fridge, was by the cooler in a supermarket. I almost screamed. Panic completely took over my body. I was shaking all over and my heart went crazy. I started crying. I lost control of my body and had to lay down on the floor. There I was, lying in a fetal position. The other customers and the staff started gathering around me. I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to go home. They started talking about calling an ambulance. I panicked, because I had promised myself never to get hospitalised again. I managed communicating to them, that it was ”only” a panic attack, and that it would pass. After a little while, I left empty-handed. Funnily, it wasn’t this episode, that would make me boycott all supermarkets.

We slaved on, C, S and myself. We had our workshop and base in my living room. I loved that, because it meant I didn’t have to go outside as often. The world outside had become a scary place. I had a constant sense of anxiety and distress in my body. And I had to come up with ways of keeping the panic down. I started counting. I counted everything, sidewalk tiles, lines, people or whatever I came across. The numbers calmed me down, just like I counted myself to sleep as a child.
The appointment with the new psychiatrist, PC, was 3 months away. When I made the appointment, I didn’t think I was gonna need it, and now it seemed so far away. Could I feel like this for three more months? No! I called back. I didn’t know what to say, but somehow I managed to explain myself, and got an appointment the following week. I prayed she was nothing like SK and Zyprexa was NOT an option this time. That much I knew.

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