Dearest Junior Mints (and Senior Mints, I am against ageism),
I generally dislike weekdays (as 90% of humans probably agree), and last week was far from an exception. Between battling my anxiety,being devoured by depression, and still having to get regular life things done, I was depleted by Friday. Thankfully, the weekend, as always, was my savior. I was happy to see one of my dearest friends, Holly, and catch up over tea and coffee. Afterwards I set off to spend the rest of the night with my boyfriend and have a calm, easy night since we were both tired. Plot twist: that did not happen.
We decided to see John Wick, also known as Keanu Reeves kicking all kinds of ass. We made our way to the theater just the movie started. I never saw the first John Wick, but I soon learned that a lot of people needed to die because of a car and a puppy, and that I was completely okay with that.
Halfway through the movie I began to feel ill. I suddenly became severely nauseated and overheated, which nearly always means that I am going to have a Vasovagal Syncope episode. For some reason I was hoping that the thing that always happens given these symptoms would somehow not, so I left the theater without telling my boyfriend and scrambled to the bathroom. I hoped and prayed that it was a false alarm and that I’d simply return to the movie and everything would be A-Okay.
Things ended up being super not okay; I did not make it to the bathroom and quickly realized It was indeed Vasovagal Syncope trying to drag me to hell. I fell onto the ground (thankfully pulling my jacket to the floor before falling so my germophobia would at least be somewhat quelled) and started to lose my vision as I wretched like the exorcist girl, dry heaving and moaning. Sexy, right? I yelled for someone to help me and soon staff members began to surround me, asking what I needed. I assured them that this was actually somewhat normal for me, and that I didn’t need an ambulance, but I did need water, ice and something to vomit in; the dudes abided.
Many times these episodes occur in the middle of the night and I am alone, or the person I needed was already there (though not always helpful). Since my relationship is still very new, I forgot for a moment that I should probably tell my boyfriend that I was on the floor outside the theater. I tried to call him, but it didn’t work, because he is a normal human being who puts his phone on silent when in a theater. I asked a staff member to fetch him for me, which now that I think about it was probably far more scary for him than it would have been for me to tell him that I was unwell in the first place before I ran off. Oops (Sorry, boyfriend).
He was noticeably worried when he came out and promptly sat on the floor and grabbed my hand. I was not only fretting about my current physical state, but about my relationship as well, and my anxieties about it were not making me feel any better. There was only one other instance I had this exact same situation happen in a movie theater with a friend. After my illness allowed to make my way out of the theater I was taken home, and he never spoke to me again. I was terrified the exact same thing would happen which worried me because although it might seem odd, I really fucking like my boyfriend.
Contrary to my worst fears, he was incredibly compassionate and calm the entire time, and ended up handling the ordeal better than I could have hoped. I convinced everyone for the third time that I would be okay after laying on the floor a while, and they left us to wait it out. Of course, laying on the floor isn’t quite what you’re supposed to do in a movie theater, so we looked just a teensy bit out of place. People walked by staring, some asking if we were okay, to which we always replied that we had already received help and that we were thankful for the concern. After a few times my boyfriend said, “The next time someone asks I am going to tell them we’re on a picnic.” I told him that he absolutely should do this, but I honestly didn’t think he would. Moments later a kind woman passed by and asked if I was alright, to which my boyfriend nonchalantly replied, “oh yeah, we’re fine, we’re on a picnic!” She looked at us with an awkward smile and walked away. Though I had all my energy drained from me because of the episode, was embarrassed, frustrated with my body, and still unbearably nauseated, I laughed wonderfully hard. He did too; and it made everything a bit less painful. The people at the theater were all wonderfully helpful, and towards the end returned to give my boyfriend free movie tickets since we never got to see the end of John Wick. I hope the dog made it.
Back at our rebel base I was given soup and gatorade while I tried to recover. I tried so hard not to, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty. All my life it had been constantly drilled into my brain that my illnesses, especially when they cause a bit of unexpected drama, are entirely my fault. I carry a heavy heart every day thinking that if I did this or that just right, maybe these things wouldn’t happen to me. I began to tear up as my boyfriend hugged me, reassuring me over and over that it really wasn’t my fault. I was starting to almost believe him.
If anything, the one bright side is that the kindness from the movie theater staff and from my boyfriend really helped make a miserable episode infinitely better. Compassion and empathy can make many some situations, no matter how dreadful, far more tolerable. Their kindness didn’t make me any less nauseated or raise my blood pressure to a safer level, but it was one of the few times that I truly felt like I was not blamed for ruining someone’s night or made to feel like a freak. I was made to feel like a regular girl who is a little different, but still important and cared for. This whole experience made me think that maybe I can still have an amazing life even if my road is just a bit bumpier than most others. Maybe it doesn’t have to be my fault or anyone else’s when these things happen, and I can learn to accept even the most frustrating parts of the life I’ve been given.
I think, given enough support and kindness, that can absolutely happen. I’m well on my way.
Teller: Does the dog have a name?
~John Wick – Chapter Two