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  • ericaanne

May 1, 2020: The Next Chapter

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

May 1, 2020 will always be a day Nick and I celebrate. Beyond it being my mom's birthday (hi, Mom!) it's the day Nick started his next chapter: Recovery.

I was sitting at my desk at work, staring out at the mountains, when my phone buzzed. It was Nick. The words I had been hoping for, for nearly a year, popped up on my screen:

"I just got rid of my video games."

I didn't believe it at first. For several months he had gone back-and-forth trying to quit video games. He would tell me he wasn't going to play them all week, just for him to pick up the controller 36 hours later. There were times I hid the controller so he couldn't find it. But he would inevitably find it or beg me through tears to give it back. It was a constant cycle.

His next text made me believe him a little more:

"I gave the console to the neighbours."

I started to feel a little more hopeful.

I went home later that day to look at the evidence myself.

It was gone.

Really and truly gone.

I was still skeptical that this would be permanent, but as the days went on, my hope grew and grew.

However, this was only the start of his recovery. It was only the start of his confrontation with his emotions and thoughts. He just took away the only thing that would distract him from his thoughts. Now, he was forced to confront his thoughts and emotions with nowhere to hide. And as a result, he struggled.

I wish I could say that May 1st was a day we can circle on the calendar and be able to point to it and say "from then on, Nick was in perfect mental health. From then on, it was happiness and butterflies and rainbows".

It wasn't.

There never will be a day where we can say he recovered on that day. Recovery is a process. It takes time and dedication. They don't just wake up one day and check "recover" off their to-do list. It happens over time, and then one day they look around and their life looks completely different than it used to. The sufferer needs to want recovery more than they want to run from their feelings.

Let me say that again: the sufferer needs to want recovery more than they want to run from their feelings.

And they need to want this even in their worst moments. If they want recovery more than they want to run, they will be more motivated to sit in the discomfort of their feelings.

There were days when Nick begged me to let him buy another video game console. There were days he yelled at me in frustration because I didn't understand how hard this was. There were still days where he begged for death. There were still days where he threatened to get a gun or drive his car off a cliff.

Shortly after he got rid of the video games, I had to call the police again to do a wellness check on him.

It was early in the morning. I hadn't hid his car keys the night before. He got up, grabbed his keys, and went directly for his car. I ran down the stairs after him when I heard the front door open. He moved too quickly and I couldn't stop him before he got in the car. He reversed out of the driveway and took off down the street.

I called the cops.

And I told Nick that I had called the cops.

"Tell them I'm fine! Tell them not to come! I'm coming home now!" he begged.

I was still on the phone with the dispatcher when Nick walked through the front door. He was mad I had called them. He didn't want to relive another stay in the hospital. The dispatcher could hear him yelling in the background, telling me to call it off.

Normally, when you call the police for a wellness check, they'll send two officers. Because of his yelling, they sent three.

Shortly after, three officers were standing at our front door. Nick had calmed down somewhat and was laying in bed. I let the officers in and told them he was upstairs. In this case, the officers felt that he wasn't an immediate threat to himself, but recommended he continue working with someone on his mental health. They decided hospitalization wasn't necessary.

So, no. It wasn't sunshine and rainbows after the video games went away.

Recovery is a process.

But for the first time in a long time, I was hopeful.

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