Stuff I Talk About

by Christina Ledbetter

My Voice is Coming Back

It’s time to start writing again.

For months, my brain was so trenched in despair that words proved a waste of the sparse reserves I had left. When panic attacks hit out of nowhere, I gasped and went mute. “Honey, what do you need?” Benson would beg.

My response? Closed mouth. Balled up body. Shakes galore.

In those first few weeks last fall he’d carry my tense frame to the sofa and cover me with my weighted blanket where I’d remain for much of the day until he scooped chocolate protein powder into a water bottle and coaxed me into the kitchen. “Drink.” God’s love sent straight to me in the form of Benson Ledbetter, the one I’d met at the Superbowl party in college a couple decades prior. 

In those moments, somewhere between collapsing and sipping calories I didn’t want, simply staying alive through a moment, silently praying I’d have the strength not to cut my own cheek with a dull kitchen knife, took all the energy in the tank.

(For the record (Whose record, you ask? Yours, I suppose. Or maybe my own.), I never did pick up the dull knife, but God knows how badly I wanted to.)

When I did speak, the words came muffled. Like Christina, but with a pillow over her face, plus another stuffed into her lungs, heart and parts of the throat.

Eventually, the stutter showed up (and continues to hang around, having found my company pleasant). It proves handy, that stutter, as it’s Benson’s first cue that, if I don’t change gears, a panic attack will show up at the door, smiling with luggage in tow, prepared to stay an hour, or possibly a few days depending on what’s for dinner. I’m beginning to grow fond of my organic, jittery-syllabled alert. A wee bit embarrassing when I’m trying to explain the rash on my dog Chief’s leg to the vet though? Absolutely.

My digital voice echoed my literal one. It baffled me that there was a moment in my past in which I was a writer.

These days, the volume of my voice has returned – evidence that I’m no longer wedged in the sickly hollows of depression – along with the capability to think beyond the very second (did I mention I stopped daydreaming for a while? No room.) Only yesterday did the idea land on me: I could start writing again.

So here we are, reader. You, from your own depths or heights, and me: hobbled and crooked, so much better than I was, yet so far from all better.

Categories: This and That

4 replies

  1. Yayyyy! I’m so glad your voice is coming back ♥️ Love you!!!

  2. So glad to see you writing again!

  3. God is still working on you and all of us. The Bible says if you are His child, your name is written in the palm of His hand. Praying for your healing. So happy you are able to use your wonderful gift of writing!

  4. One of my friends has played guitar since grade school and he’s pretty good. Once, he got a sort of block in his mind and he said he couldn’t play anything, just wasn’t up to it. I gave him a tape of various artists and later he was playing one of them pretty well. He said he just needed a little time, and the different stuff on the tape helped a little.
    I’m in Orange and just finished the book about the fellow who hunted for his real dad. Being in Orange, I recognized most of the people in the story. Then a flash hit me – – in high school there were various clubs like the Chess Club. Our school had the Key Club, sponsored by the Kiwanis. I never figured out what they did or how to join, someone told me I should try the chess club instead of them. So i wonder now if that Stark High club had any connection to the Jack Tar club. Back then I didn’t know anything about anything, not much better now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the kids were the next-generation copy. Hope not, though. Good work on the book, thanks!

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