Thurs, 2nd – Anticipating the visit to Chicago for the weekend, I was able to get to the gym knowing it would probably be at least till the next week before I’d go again. I also got a well needed haircut knowing that it might nag at me while I was visiting to know how much I needed one. Before the actual driving, I did most of my packing, and went to pick up Henry since he’d be joining us. I lingered at Rachel’s a little longer than I needed to so I could get some quality time with Merle, and kinda Tux too. Henry’s ride to my place was pitiful because I wouldn’t let that spoiled brat climb all over me while I was driving like my sister does. He managed to bounce around, climbing on top of everything else and whining like a baby. I quickly finished up the rest of my packing and headed out with Rachel. I did all the driving, and listened to podcasts for maybe the first half before Rachel got restless and was desperate for conversation. She didn’t really have much obviously new or interesting stuff going on, so she made me do most of the talking. For the life of me, though, I can’t remember what I talked about. We got in without incident and in the end the drive was surprisingly easy.
As I got settled and informed groups of friends that I’d arrived, I got a call from Myah but it was Philana on the phone and she was jealous that I hadn’t told her right away. They were both at Myah’s so they came up and we hung out much longer than any of us expected as they asked and I told them about how I got myself into the condition and position to leave. I didn’t really get to give them all the updates since leaving, but they asked how I’m planning on maintaining my progress so we also just talked about self-care and therapy for a while. I also told them that I was hoping and planning to be back in spring and they were excited but trying not to get their hopes up since it wasn’t final. They had to get to bed so we said goodbye and I told them I’d keep them in the loop about where I am that weekend and updates about coming back.
Fri, 3rd – Something woke me up pretty early, around 7am. It might have been Sydney texting me about what time before 1pm would be best for me to catch up with her and talk about my idea for some kind of story event where I can get everything out there for everyone at once. She was very supportive and helpful, and was also very insightful and understanding about my experience even though she hadn’t had one quite the same but had other kinds of self-discovery.
After we’d caught up and talked organizing, back home seeing several things that I’d wanted to get in order last time I lived there whipped me into a frenzy of organizing like I had been doing back at the family house. I organized the book shelf, and sorted mail, straightened up a handful of things in the living room, moved the AC unit down into storage, threw out unnecessary stuff, and more. I got more done in almost two hours than I had been able to in two months last time I lived there. It was satisfying on it’s own to get done, but I also wondered how much of a sign to take it that I was in such bad shape before and am good enough now that things will be different and I am ready to come back.
Timing worked out that right after I’d cleaned and showered it was time to meet up with Liz for lunch. It was really good to see her. I don’t remember the finer points of our conversation, possibly because she didn’t ask about why I left. I did brush over it I think, but she didn’t really ask for any more details so I don’t think I really explained. We talked about my coming back, how she’s been, and how school and recruiting is going for her, and other light conversation like how she handles dating and single life. She headed off to a working meeting and I headed home where I ended up taking a solid 2-3 hour nap from only sleeping 4 hours.
It was hard to rip myself up and by the time I did, I only caught the last hour of the KWEST Trip Fair happy hour that was happening at school. Bundled up from the cold, I decided to keep my scarf up until I noticed Zack, Spencer, and Johnny in the corner. At first I just kinda meandered up by them and kinda lingered. Zack noticed me and he was the only one of them who knew I’d be in town, so I winked at him even though I wasn’t sure if he could tell it was me. When the others noticed me I slowly lowered the scarf and got to see the surprise on their face once they recognized me. Johnny gave me a hug and I gave one to Zack too. I can’t remember if I hugged spencer since he was wearing a grape costume that had him covered in little ballon-filled grapes. I told them that I was in for the weekend but that I was also planning to come back for spring, which excited them. Quasie walked by and I got to surprise him too. I decided to get myself a beer and see who else was around to surprise, so I raised my scarf and wandered into the crowd. On the way to the drink table, I bumped into Arjun, and on the way back saw Peter, Jane, Sonia, and Andrew. I made my way upstairs to find a few others that I knew were there and got to say hi to and hang out with Aalok, Lindsey, Nick, Jillian, Kyndrea, Inge, and Joe.
I’d already planned to have dinner with Aalok, so we headed out for that after the happy hour was over and were joined by Inge, Ajay who I got to meet, and then Nick and Jillian. Conversation was fun and light and crossed a variety of topics from introversion and extroversion to holistic medicine to recreational drugs and more.
We knew many people from happy hour had moved to Whiskey Thief, so most of us headed there to join up. One of the first people I saw there and got to sneak up on was Milan. He looked so stunned, and confused, and in utter disbelief to see me I couldn’t help but laugh as he gave me a big hug. I also saw and got to catch up with Griffin and Andrew some more. Everyone I saw was pretty consistent in letting me know that everyone was thinking of me and missed while I’ve been gone. I did a little walk-around and got to sort of catch up with Paige, Connor, and Jeff, then got to sneak up on and say hi to Diganto and John which was great to see them and catch up a bit and talk to the potential incoming students they were hosting. I also bumped into Sri and got to chat a bit about how things were. On my lap back around I found Aalok and the gang in a booth and we played with the candles on the table. When I turned I noticed Liz on the dance floor so I went to say hi, and Milan, who was getting pretty drunk by this point, grabbed my face and said that I was what home was. He also asked about my filling out from working out since he had an upcoming wedding that he’s preparing for. He gave me a nice feel and encouraged Liz to do the same so I let them have a few good squeezes of me and said that I’d had the luxury of time to get to gym almost every day for a couple months. Back at the booth, I rejoined and laid down on both Lindsey and Aalok and snuggled them for a while until we decided to join everyone who was heading to the next bar.
Aalok decided not to join us at Prairie Moon. I’m not sure if it was due to class work, or if he was tired from the social exhaustion as an introvert. At Prairie Moon I headed to the back and was further assaulted with love by Milan which I didn’t mind at all, but his lovely fiancé Cherie started to get him under control. By the bar I spotted G and got to talk to him for a while about banking recruiting and he told me about how he got an internship and introduced me to his closest recruiting buddy Nathalie. Eric Palmer joined for a while and then I started heading back towards the front to find Lindsey and the others I came with. On the way I got to surprise Megan who looked like she might cry a little bit when she saw me. It was like the face people in YouTube videos make when they’re surprised with a puppy. She’d evidently been very worried for me and was happy to hear that I’d be back soon. When I got to the front and found Lindsey she was with Elaine and Stephen who were dancing so I joined them. The lights came on and the bar started clearing out and we headed to Burger King for the only food available that late.
Nothing really happened at BK except eating and some of the usual silliness. That was probably my drunkest of the night so it’s a little fuzzy whether we had any real conversation mixed in there. After walking the others home to E2 and turning toward my place, G called and invited me over to Brandon’s apartment where I headed. I got to catch up with Jesse who jumped up and was excited to see me and had missed me even though she hadn’t known that I was on a full leave of absence. I gave her the short version of things and she didn’t have too many questions, but was encouraging about coming back. G had some serious talk with me in the kitchen, I think about how much he thinks I need to come back which I told him I was pretty confident in.
Hanging out on the couch put me pretty close to what was being passed around. I passed on the hard stuff but decided to give the soft stuff a try and see how I could handle myself. It took a while to kick in, but then I realized how long everything seemed to be taking, that my brain and my thoughts were moving at light speed but my body and my words weren’t able to keep up. I tried my best to simply observe how I felt and thought and was being affected. I focused on trying to focus on being able to describe what was happening. One of the first hurdles to get over was paranoia, which I wouldn’t have thought to use in previous experiences. How that felt was as if they were completely faking what they were doing, and that the night was all a setup for them to mock me because I wasn’t in on it while they pretended not to show that they were laughing at me. Trying to observe the slowing of time, I pulled out my phone and tried typing notes as fast as I could, but it took what seemed like a lifetime to even capture a handful of my lost thoughts. I felt lost. I felt I could only move so slow and everyone was so far away that I would never be able to reach them and they would not be able to go slow enough to understand me. Focusing back on the observation, I started noticing that it seemed my senses felt heightened. As I looked at the room, it was as if my entire field of vision was in complete focus at the same time. Objects in my peripheral were just as clear and I could give them the same amount of attention as what was right in front of me. I could sense and feel, and almost see the air in the room that is easy to forget. It was clear how everything is different kinds of matter swirling around each other, there are no empty spaces. I assume things wrapped up and I was herded towards home. I had to continually concentrate and remind myself what I was doing and where I was going and to remind my future self so that I wouldn’t get lost. Walking home felt like an epic journey. On the way, I hypothesized that perhaps some of my cognitive functions slowing down were caused by the disproportionate capacity being used up in my sensory processing. I felt like I could smell everything around me. I could taste the last 3 things I ate. I could hear how each sound was made up of the sum of many tiny sounds, vibrations, scratches. I could feel pressure changes in the air and could almost understand how it was a result of other bigger atmospheric changes.
I made it home by about 5am, exhausted from the journey. In the bathroom I took a picture of my red eyes, then I passed out, relieved to have survived, and wondering how I’d feel the next day.
Sat, 4th – I think I slept in till around 11. I probably did some little things around the house and to get ready for the day. Early in the afternoon, Zack and Andy came over and I showed them my place and hung out for a while until we decided to head out for brunch. I got to hear a little about how Andy’s wedding planning was coming, and Brooke even made a brief appearance. Afterwards, instead of doing anything too interesting, the three of us headed back to Andy’s apartment to kick back, drink beers, and watch a few hours of planet earth.
At some point, G invited me to go and pregame with the Pride group before they went down to boy’s town. I left Zack and Andy planning to join back up with them after the pregame and not go downtown. Rob was hosting so I got to see him and Oliver and meet a handful of new people who’s names I’m not 100% confident in at this point. I met Adam, who’s a second year MMM and we got on the topic of my leaving and his connection to a small group of students meeting to discuss their own issues with depression and anxiety. I also me Travis, but can’t remember what we discussed at Rob’s, although we did ride together downtown and got in a debate about how and when you can know and trust someone. So yes, I caved and decided to join the boy’s town adventure planning to move over to the DAK event where more people were. That never happened. Instead I spent my whole night out in boy’s town and had a lot of fun playing a very serious wingman for Allie, and getting apologized to by Travis for some reason. After Allie found someone on her own, which I was pretty disappointed about, I met some nice girls and was talking to one who I kinda locked onto. I’m pretty sure it was hearing that she just got out of a long term relationship and knowing we could relate to each other in a way that not everyone could. Things didn’t really go anywhere by the time everyone was leaving so we exchanged numbers I think because we’ve been texting. Next I knew we were back at Brandon’s again. This time my curiosity had already been satisfied, so I passed on everything I was offered. I got to hear a little bit about the downsides of being from a famous or recognized family. I got home again somehow and think it might have been around 5am again.
Sun, 5th – Rachel wanted to get home by early evening so I only slept 3 hours. As soon as we’d gotten ready with everything in the car I went straight into a four hour nap.I finished the final two hours of the drive, and again, almost as soon as I got home, I fell into a six hour nap. I woke up pretty disoriented and was afraid of throwing off my sleep cycle, so I did my best to make sure I could sleep through the night by making tea, reading, and taking a sleeping pill. It worked surprisingly well.