Coffee Dates & Mental Hospitals

By Candice Wells

Sometimes you need a coffee date with the girls. Sometimes you’re in the mental hospital. But, why not make the best of our situation. Coffee it is.

We walk down to the cafeteria, grab our pastries and coffees. The three of us sit down at the barstools to eat. By listening to our conversation, you would never know we weren’t allowed to leave. Our conversation consists of: complementing each other, boy issues, and the mutual hatred of our mothers that we all share.

At one point in the conversation I say “You guys literally have boyfriends coming to visit you daily in the psych ward and this bitch can’t get a text back!” We all laugh.

I love these girls, and I can see all the good in them, and they can see all the good in me. But for some strange reason, we can’t see the good in ourselves. We can only see our diagnoses and our traumas, our shortcomings that keep us from living a normal happy life.

Hi! I’m Candice. 30. Alcoholic. PTSD. ADHD. Anxiety.

This is the person I see today. This is the person who goes out into the world, though she’d hidden by big smiles, friendly small talk, and lots of jokes. Just like my addiction and nobody knows it but me… (sang in the tune of Tony Rich’s ‘Nobody Knows’).

How do I get to the place where the real me and the fake me meet? How do I get to the place where I can show up honestly and authentically? It’s much easier for me to own this loud, funny, raunchy, over-the-top version of myself. But will I ever be able to show the woman who I see as falling short in every part of life?

I feel like I am horrible with money, with men, and even sometimes with my daughter. I feel as though there have been times when I have chosen not to parent when things get too hard.

I feel like I am in between who I think I am and who others think I am.

Who these girls think I am.

I hope we can get a coffee date sometime when we’re on the outside. Sun shining. Makeup done. Happily laughing and surviving one day at a time. And we’re allowed to leave anytime we want, but we don’t want to go because it feels so damn good to be on a coffee date with the girls.