Designed by Emily Andras
“So, you weren’t kidding about the insomnia thing, were you?”
My brother, Michael, sat across from me at our secluded table in the coffee shop. His eyes roamed over the dark circles under my eyes and he seemed to instantly notice the general look of suicidal contemplation I’d been wearing for the past few months.
“Nope,” I said with a smile. He laughed.
After a few more seconds of looking me over, his smile faded slightly. He pulled out an envelope from his inner breast pocket and handed it to me. “That’s twelve – hundred. Should give you some breathing room.”
I exhaled deeply. “Thank you so much, man.” I took the envelope and stuffed it deep inside my own jacket pocket. “And of course, the second I can pay you back, I will.”
“Don’t worry about any of that just yet.” Michael waved it off with a grin. “I wouldn’t give it to you if I didn’t know you were good for it.”
“Does Sadha know?” I didn’t want his wife to think I was any more of a loser than she already did.
“Yes, she does,” he said, ignoring my visible cringing. “But she knows you, man. She knows you’re responsible. No one is judging you for this, we all get down on our luck.” He had the kind of smile that made you feel like an idiot for not smiling back.
I looked away, embarrassed.
“Well, you brought me all the way out here. Tell me what’s bothering you,” Michael said.
I thought about mentioning the constant nightmares first, but decided against it. I had to force myself to say all of this in a way that wouldn’t make my brother think I was losing my mind. I had to at least seem like I knew what I was talking about – the truth was that I didn’t actually understand, and it was likely that I was actually losing my mind.
“When I got fired, I thought things were going to turn around at first. I mean, I didn’t get like this immediately. It was sort of around April that I started feeling weird.”
“Weird?” Michael leaned in a little. I felt better knowing he was listening closely.
“Yeah, like weird energy,” I said. “Everything just started feeling a little wrong. One second I’d be taking a shower and then suddenly I’d just get this horrible sense of dread. Then I couldn’t get much sleep for a while, then…” I just looked at him and shrugged.
“I can’t say I’ve ever felt like that, so I don’t exactly know if talking to me will do any help,” Michael told me. “Maybe you should see someone?”
“Look, I’m not about to go all mass murderer over here or anything. I’m sane; I really am. It’s just most nights I can’t really sleep,” I replied, attempting to downplay it.
“I’m not saying you’re out of your mind. But you need sleep, right? So let’s see somebody for that.” He put his hand on my shoulder.
“Listen man, if it’s expensive — ”
“Hey — look at me — shut up. You’re worrying about the wrong things here. I’m going to worry about getting you some help, and you, sir,” he playfully straightened up my collar, “are going to worry about getting some shut eye. We understand?”
This time when I saw his smile, I felt a little better and couldn’t help but smile back, “Yeah. Yeah man, I understand.”
“Great.” He looked away for a minute, as if to think. “Maybe I should write down your symptoms; I want to find the right kind of doctor for this”.
Michael took out his smartphone. “Alright,” he paused, waiting for the display to materialize. “You said, ‘insomnia, sense…of…dread, feelings…of..danger,” he stopped typing and looked at me.
“Oh, um, I guess general feelings of depression.” It sounded more a like a question than a statement. I watched him type it in word by word.
“I think that should be enough. I’ll look around for someone who deals with these types of things.” He saved the note and returned the phone to his pocket. “How does that sound?”
“Sounds great, thanks.” We both smiled, thinking this was already over.
“We’re gonna beat this thing,” he patted me on the shoulder.
“Thanks, Michael,” I got up and hugged him.
“Talk to you soon, Sam.” He gave me a smile as he walked out.
I felt like things were going to get better. I had faith in Michael. I knew he would find someone who would help me sort my issues out. Except at the time, if you’d told me what my issues actually were, and what I was going to have to do to get rid of them, I would have decided on the easier option of throwing myself off of my apartment balcony.