The Thing I Never Say

I went away with my friends for the weekend, a big gaggle of them, friends I have known for 7 and 10 and 12 and 0 years. We rented a cabin in the Poconos and at one point I laughed so hard I didn't think I would recover.

Did I ever tell you that illness is addicting? That it can be a crutch? That it is a way to stay inside all the time because it can be justified?

I never had social anxiety. I was voted class clown. I have always been open and social and easy to talk to.

When I got sicker after I finished cancer treatment, I got depressed. For years. For years I was depressed and drank so much and apologized and stayed inside. I have spent years of my time inside.

When I got to the cabin, I was hit with anxiety. I took half a Xanax to relax around friends who I'd happily call family. By the end of my weekend, I couldn't believe I was panicking that I'd forgotten how to be the me I always was and always will be. That for my entire drive there (3+ hours alone in a car blasting Lyle Lovett), I worried everyone had moved on and changed and I had stayed inside too long.

Sometimes it's necessary to have a crutch. To stay inside. To take half a Xanax. To sit on a closed toilet seat with your phone in your hand because zoning out feels like comfort.

But we need to be able to walk without the crutch; to drop it and just be.

Because sometimes, you walk toward exactly the right place.