I wake up late on Wednesday, but still make it to a meeting on time. I feel pretty good about myself for getting out of the house so quickly.
Then, leaving that meeting, I get into a car accident. (Yes, Mom, I’m fine.) My car takes a pretty bad hit. But it’s just a car. And I handle the whole situation with patience and kindness, even though the other driver basically just forgot how to drive.
Once I get to the office, I successfully fix my coworker’s computer problem, but then discover that by fixing one problem, I broke something bigger. Google saves me, though, and with barely a sigh, I push through.
Then, eating a mid-morning snack, I bite the inside of my lip, hard enough to draw blood. It’s fine. Drink some water, walk it off.
I go to clean off my desk and find an old medical bill that I thought had been paid. For a substantial amount of money. Roll the shoulders back, whip out the credit card. It’s just money.
In a meeting, I spill coffee down the shirt my sister gave me for Christmas, which I happen to be wearing for the first time ever. “Pass me some tissues, please.” I’ll soak it when I get home. She’ll think it’s funny when I tell her, anyway.
After I mop up, I absent-mindedly scratch my face, and discover that I just scratched a ginormous zit (where did that come from??) and my face is now bleeding. A lot. “Can I just have the box of tissues? Please?” Acne. At age 28. What can ya do? I raise an eyebrow at my coworker, and move on.
I head back to my desk after the meeting, and peer down my to-do list. “Check Insurance Bills.” I check my insurance bills.
Uh-oh. They’re not right. I freeze for a moment. I need to call the doctor’s office. I can physically feel my pulse start to slow, the blood start to drain from my face.
Trying not to think or feel, I head into a side room to call the doctor’s office. I take a few deep breaths, and dial.
The woman is annoyed with me. She gives me little information, and tells me to call two other people. “Okay, thank you for your time,” I say. She hangs up.
By now, I’m starting to shake.
It’s another five minutes of breathing and talking myself down before I can dial again. Voicemail. I leave a message, my voice squeaky.
I’m starting to have trouble keeping my eyes open; my body is shutting down. My brain is telling me that this is too hard. That I can’t. That this is not okay. That I am no longer safe.
I put my head in my hands. I am not okay. I need to go home.
Suddenly, life feels too hard. I can’t even string sentences together. I drive home and crawl into bed, unable to function.
Because I had to make phone calls.
After all that the day threw at me, it was the phone calls that took me down.
And the funny thing is, if I’d had the greatest Wednesday ever, getting so much done, causing a ruckus with my friends, drinking great coffee, the phone calls still would have taken me down. Because they are the worst ninjas for me.
Anytime I face an obstacle in life, it feels like a ninja attack. Sudden, ferocious, out of nowhere, and devilishly good with a sword. I can fight a lot of ninjas and win. Car accidents, coffee spills, technology problems, swish swish clang, done. A terrible day was laughable because those ninjas couldn’t beat me.
But mental illnesses create the very worst ninjas. Regular ninjas strike in darkness, in your weakest moments. But mental illness ninjas can strike in daylight, when you’re surrounded by friends and have your weapons in your hands. You’re ready for them. They shouldn’t be able to take you down. They’re usually little. They’re basically nothing. But they can take you down. And they do.
And all you can do is lie there and wait to fight another day. Breathe. List all the ninjas you already beat.
And then get up, sharpen your sword, and try again.
Here’s to a ninja-free weekend, my friends. Hang in there.