please don’t freak out
i want to start by saying I’m okay.
i’m texting you from _________
that sounds like A Lot,
and it is.
i know you’re worrying already—
i can hear the weight of your sigh ripple
across the few oceans, mountain ranges
and timezones that separate us
you would never believe what they have me wearing.
a pale green gown (whose colour you’d say reminds you
of hateful women and vomit-stained tablecloths)
and these weird padded socks like the ones
i wore that one time we went to the trampoline park
a few years ago
do you remember? anyway, i know you’re worried
and angry and whatnot but so am I
ma, I was tempted to tell you the diluted version:
that i ended up here for a panic attack; but
i imagine you’d be upset with me for not taking
care of myself well enough
all the way in Canada? but will you be fine?
instead, what if i told you
that yesterday, on one of the greyest days of November,
I was seduced by a bottle of SSRIs?
that i let exactly f o u r t e e n of them explore
the pinkness of my insides
because it seemed easier than figuring out
the tangled shitshow of cheap wire that my emotions had become?
don’t worry. the ER nurses have been sweet enough
(although being hooked up to an ECG is no fun)
and you’re going to ask did your friends come?
yes, they brought me A Collection of Short Stories by Charlotte
(ha, maybe life really does imitate art)
and my toothbrush
which the psych ward nurses took away from me
(this made me laugh—
what good a weapon is a toothbrush?)
but anyway, the psychiatrist is coming to see me soon
and i thought i’d update you before i see her.
if i’m lucky they’ll let me leave today
with a note of please do not attempt this again
and we’ve upped your dosage
and we strongly suggest you enrol in this online therapy module
we shouldn’t have sent her so far away
i know you just woke up so reading this will be
are the dogs okay? tell them i miss them
i’ll call you when i’m home and tell you
what the doctor says. hopefully she’s not
as less cloudy than the psych ward nurses are
i wish you were here right now.
Shanai Tanwar (she/her) is an undergraduate student double majoring in psychology and English literature at the University of British Columbia. Born to Indian parents and raised in Dubai, she interned with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and Cosmopolitan Middle East before working as an Editorial Assistant for Canadian Literature, UBC’s scholarly journal. When she isn’t petting dogs around campus, you can find her reading Victorian fiction or writing for The Ubyssey.