Personal Narratives

24 Hours in the Mind of an Anxious-Depressive

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Friday, June 28th, 2019; 10:48 AM; Nottingham, England (GMT + 1)

I got the call from my sister at about 5AM. The details are hazy on how mom is doing as I pretended that the call hadn’t woken me up. This has been the call I’ve been dreading for three years now. Things are really not looking good. The doctors circling around my mom in the ICU have advised my sister to make the calls needed to the people who need to know about Ma. She’s dying. I’m several thousand miles away, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

The last time I saw mom face to face, she was yelling at me and telling me that I wasn’t her family anymore. I was walking away from that situation, getting on a plane back to Oman and making a thousand resolutions to finally never speak to her again. Almost two years later, here I am, counseling and medication helping me cope with the downward spirals I experience on almost a daily basis, changing my flights on my husband’s iPhone yet again to get to Tampa that much sooner. Should we even bother going to this party in Somerset? Can I be happy or even quietly somber tonight? Will I be able to hold back tears? Am I capable of crying about this at all?

I have no idea what I’m coming home to, but I know it’s not going to be good. And I know it’s going to be hard. And there will be no catharsis to be had for anyone. Three hours after getting the update and the pressure was getting too difficult. I ingested half a Xanax to cool my nerves and fell asleep to the sounds of Love Island to try and numb the fear.

But if I’m being honest, that’s all I can feel right now. Numb. I’m shocked but not surprised. Incredulous but logically preparing for the truth I will soon face. The day that I often dreaded, at times hoped for, but ultimately believed could never happen is coming fast: mom is dying. And I can’t quite comprehend it.


Friday, June 28th, 2019; 11:11 AM; Nottingham, England (GMT + 1)

Can’t seem to focus on anything or calm my mind. The Xanax is still holding on strong to keep the body level, but it can’t really touch my rapid-fire thought processes. I wish it could. I’m worried about my brother. My sister hinted that he might be back on the pills. We thought he was free from the addiction, but desperate times, right? I’m afraid mom will be gone before I see her; I’m afraid she won’t and what I will end up seeing and not be able to unsee.


Friday, June 28th, 2019; 11:29 AM; Nottingham, England (GMT + 1)

Things I’ve stress eaten since the call:

  • Leftover fried noodles
  • Leftover fried rice
  • Slice of thick cut ham
  • slice of bread with chutney, Stilton and lots of lettuce

Not sure if I’m full enough yet…


Friday, June 28th, 2019; 11:39 AM; Nottingham, England (GMT + 1)

I feel so small sitting on this couch, but then again it’s nothing out of the ordinary. I’ve just realized I’m sitting like my mom. Far corner of the couch, legs and arms tucked in close to my body, leaning one arm on the arm of the couch, my head balanced upon it. Did my mom sit like that whenever she felt small too?


Saturday, June 28th, 2019;  ??? AM/PM; Nottingham, England (GMT + 1)

We are driving down to Somerset. In my head I’m wishing I was on a plane right now, heading to Tampa to see mom, but there are no flights. Well, there are but those flights get in at a similar time to us just flying tomorrow morning. Don’t know how I’m going to be at a party. As you can imagine, I don’t feel like celebrating. Part of me feels like mom was right about me: I chose another family over the one I have in Tampa.


Saturday, June 28th, 2019;  ??? PM; Nottingham, England (GMT + 1)

Mother-Daughter speeches. Why tonight? I look at the love exchanged between Aunt Sarah and Roz and the only thing I can think is, “I wish my mom and I had that.” Can’t take it anymore. I’ve got to escape somewhere to cry.


Saturday, June 28th, 2019;  ??? PM; Nottingham, England (GMT + 1)

The time in Tampa is 5:55pm when my sister sends me the message on What’s App.

She passed away sis.

I am numb, dumbstruck. I didn’t make it in time. I wasn’t able to hold her hand, tell her I love her and give her some peace before it all ended. I call my sister and cry, cry, cry. She’s giving me words of encouragement. I can’t hear them, it’s all too much. I missed it. My timing was off. And I wasn’t there to help the woman who gave me life pass into death. It was the least I could do. The bare minimum. Then one phrase rings out clearly, “Do you want to see her?” I hesitate for one moment but nod yes. I see her, lying on the hospital bed, covered in a green plushy blanket. (I would later learn this was her favorite one.) Her eyes are closed, body still, dark hair splayed about her pillow like a halo. She’s still.

I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I’m sorry I didn’t come sooner.

These words keep flowing out of my mouth non-stop like a prayer, like a mantra. They are words for my sister because I didn’t help her through this. They are words for my brother because I left him like I left mom. They are words for my mom because I didn’t give her what she needed. I can’t say anything else. I don’t have the words. I don’t think I will ever quite have them for this. I repeat these words until we hang up the phone, though I don’t quite recall how that phone call ended.

I call my husband. Please come to me. I don’t know what I need, but I know you need to be here with me right now.

1 comment on “24 Hours in the Mind of an Anxious-Depressive

  1. Alexis F. W. White

    My mom passed away right in the middle of this project. I’ve finished it now, but I am afraid it only hints at what those 24 hours were like.


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