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The blue balloon
I sat in the “doctor’s” office waiting room. All I could think about was what the doctor was going to say. I looked around and tried to think about something else, this part was always the worst. The walls were blue, a pretty cobalt color. I thought about the first or second time that I was here. When I wondered what the significance of the blue walls was, if any. I pulled out my phone and and googled it hoping that this would stop my thinking of the doctor for a little while. Google told me that blue was the color of stability. Yeah right, I thought to myself. Anyone who is at this doctor is not stable. I laughed to myself thinking about how nervous I used to get while waiting. Suddenly, an older lady walked in. She more waddled than walked. She was wearing a blue dress. Again with all of this blue. I wondered what her reason for being here was. Everyone here was not stable but the goal was to become stable. Maybe that's why the walls were blue. I thought about this a lot until I snapped out of my flashback when I heard the desk woman say my name. I stood up and walked to the back door. She took me down the hallway to my usual room; 4D. As we walked past 4B, I could hear someone crying. As we walked by 4C someone was laughing. I walk into my room, again noticing that it was a different shade of blue that the waiting room. This room was a little brighter than the waiting room. I waited for about 10 minutes before my my doctor walked in.
“Hi Jane, how have you been?”
“Better,” I told him.
“That’s good,” he said. “What has been going on lately? Good? Bad? Neither?” He said.
At that moment, I told him everything from the really good with my family to the really bad with work, which was much less than all the good. Of course everyone has a bad day here and there and talking about it actually helped me so much. He told me that I should come back in one week to check up and if things are still decent, it would be my last appointment for a while. That was the news that every person in this place wanted to hear.
A week passed. I woke up in the morning feeling pretty positive that this would be my last appointment. I drove to the office, hoping this would be the last time I would drive down Care Center Lane. I sat in front of the building for a few minutes to minimize the time inside the gloomy blue waiting room. When I finally went in, the woman at the front desk asked me to fill out a survey since it would most likely be my last time here. I took the clipboard and headed to a seat when I noticed the same lady who was wearing the blue dress last time was sitting next to me. I started filling out my survey.
On a scale on 1-10, how much has the CARE CENTER helped you? I circled the 9 since this placed helped me so much over the last year. Suddenly, the lady in blue leaned over.
“I don’t meant to be nosy but has this place really helped you that much?” She asked.
“Well at first, I hated coming and having to talk about everything but it actually helped a lot when I stopped being so stubborn,” I explained to her.
She explained that she had PTSD and asked why I was there.
“...Depression,” I replied hesitantly. I hated saying it out loud, especially since I was so much better. Neither of us explained what our issues had been from and neither of us wanted to ask. For a few moments, we just sat there, not saying anything. I wondered how she would react if she cared to know what had caused the depression. How would she react when I told her that I had lost my best friend, Tommy, growing up because he took his own life? It was almost 15 years ago and it still killed me. Most people get over something like that by now and of course, they still think about it but they don’t hold onto the pain this long. Immediately I shook the idea that she would judge me. Everyone has their own issues, that’s why the waiting room was so crowded.
A girl walked passed us. She was young. She looked to be about 13 or 14 years old. In her hand was a blue balloon and she had a huge smile on her face. I had seen a few people walking out with balloons but this was the first time I had actually really payed attention. Did they give out balloons to people when it was their last day? I wondered. Finally, the woman called my name and we headed to my usual room. I walked in and saw a blue balloon tied to my seat. Wow, I thought. This is FINALLY it. The doctor came in and asked how things were. I told him that everything has been so good. He just smiled at me.
“Congratulations,” he said to me.
“Is this my last time?” I asked.
“Yes, but I will be checking in on you every once in awhile to make sure that things are still going okay,” he told me.
“Okay, sounds good. Thank you so much for everything you’ve helped me with over the past year,” I said as I stood up.
“Of course, Jane!! Things always can get better. You just have to remember that it is okay to talk about what’s on your mind every now and then.”
The two of us walked out. I had the blue balloon in my hand. I was finally stable with my life. In the waiting room, people just smiled at me. The woman I had met smiled and said congratulations. I hoped that she too would recover through the Care Center just as I had. I guess I would never really know.
On my drive home, the blue balloon was a passenger next to me. As I turned right onto Care Center Lane and headed for home, I couldn’t help but smile. I thought of Tommy and imagined that the blue balloon was him. He was right next to me, even when the balloon wasn’t there. Tommy, I miss you. I thought to myself. I felt almost content now that I had come so far and I knew that Tommy was with me every step of the way.
I walked into my house, greeted by my dog. Then my husband walked out of the living room.
“Well?” he asked.
“I did it! I’m done for a while, hopefully forever,” I told him.
“That’s great!! I’m glad it all helped. Let’s celebrate. I made reservations, let’s go,” he told me.
I meant a lot to me that he was so supportive through this process. The dinner was amazing and I was so happy not to feel trapped anymore.