When I was 18, I spent, I don’t know, a week, maybe more, maybe less, in a mental health facility. I spent the first night on a stiff cot, in a barren room, with a video camera staring me down and a bright light on. After earning my own room with a bed and a nightlight, I spent the remainder of my time in therapy sessions (individual, group, family), accepting a slew of male visitors including my physically and emotionally abusive boyfriend (I don’t think I had a single female friend at the time), conversing with a depressed addict about Ecstasy, and eating a shit ton of peanut butter. I was diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder (of which the latter diagnosis did not hold), given a prescription for Lithium and ushered home. Over the next two months, I gained 60+ pounds—Lithium and peanut butter to be blamed.
As you might imagine, a 60+ pound weight gain did not aid my attempts to thwart depression, to conquer my low self-esteem, or to grapple with my co-dependency issues. Sadly, the hospitalization, the meds, and the dramatic physical ballooning only drew me even further into the dark tunnel in which I was residing at the time. But, dear world, look at me now! There was light! There was light!
Now, after seven weeks of sobriety, I must note that I have turned to peanut butter again.