Armed with a cup of coffee, I was in the middle of making a very important decision. After the fiasco that was my disagreement with Tom and Mum being even more annoying than usual, I had had hardly sleep; the sleep that I did have was punctured by images of Mum and Tom yelling at me, their faces merging into each other’s every so often. It was rather terrifying and I didn’t think I was ever going to get over it. Maybe those faces would always haunt me.
As if by fate or something else floating around in the universe, it was when I finished my coffee that I finished making my Very Important Decision. It was time to put my mental health first, and try not to think too much about how it might affect other people. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, so I needed to make a difficult choice when it came to being friends with Tom anymore. I would have to see if he was willing to support me or if he was going to keep behaving like he had the day before.
It wasn’t a choice that I was making lightly, but I needed to make it so that I could look after myself and my mental health. I didn’t want to cut all contact with him, but if I needed to, then that was what I was going to do.
I sent him a text, arranging to meet that afternoon, and waited. I didn’t know how things were going to turn out and that scared the shit out of me.
That afternoon, I was sitting opposite Tom in a coffee shop that was a pretty regular haunt for us and some of our mutual friends. I had decided to meet there because I thought a public place would be safer; especially with the kind of conversation that I was hoping to have with Tom.
“Why did you want to meet me?” Tom’s voice is ice, leaving an unseen frost in the air. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.
I swallowed back fear. My heart skipped a beat. Tom’s eyebrows rose, but I didn’t let that put me off. “I just wanted to let you know that I would love your support when it comes to my mental health, instead of you ignoring it and,” I swallowed again, “being rude about it.”
The silence was deafening.
When Tom broke the silence a moment later, it was like a flood. “God, it’s even worse than I thought it was! It’s just excuse after excuse! If you keep carrying on like this, we can’t be friends anymore.”
That made up my mind. I flung my bag on and walked out of the coffee shop.
Pain still raged through my veins as I walked home; it was getting to the point where I was starting to wonder if it would ever stop raging. I kept accidently bumping into people and forgetting to apologise – something that people would say definitely meant that I wasn’t my usual self. If anyone said that at the moments I was rushing to get home, I wouldn’t hesitate to agree with them.
While the pain raging through my veins was forcing me to get home as quickly as possible, my brain seemed to have other ideas. I found myself drifting to the nearest stationary shop and then the nearest place that had an empty cardboard box sitting outside. I’d somehow, in the middle of all the pain and frustration, decided to make myself a self-care box. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to finally make one; if I was going to put my mental health first, then it would be more than ideal to have as much as possible of what made me happy in one place, for when I had Bad Days.
I was still rushing to get home, but now it was because I had a new project that I wanted to get started on as well as because of the pain raging through my veins. If anything, my new project was already helping to ease the pain.
As soon as I got home, I grabbed a drink and then raced upstairs to get started on my self-care box as quickly as possible. I got changed and then I begun.
I covered the box in some pretty wrapping paper and then started filling it with things that rarely failed to make me happy: colouring books and pencils; a couple of my favourite films, including a Disney one; and a well-loved, rather worn edition of my favourite book, both for sentimental reasons, and to remind me to read the edition that I had on my Kindle.
The more I worked, the more I felt like I was finally going to get somewhere. Maybe I would get better, even if it was by myself.