"It's in my closet," she said animatedly. "There's a possum in my closet!"
I couldn't find anything. I then realized Joyce was seeing things -- her mental illness playing tricks on her mind.
"I got it out," I then said, walking back into her den. "The possum is gone."
"Oh thank you!" she said, hugging me firmly. "I thought I was never going to get any sleep."
I, too, hallucinate with my mental illness. I see what I call ghosting -- ghostly visages of cats laying around my house. It used to scare me, but I've grown so used to it these past few years. Certain medications also exacerbate these effects like pain pills.
"I don't know what I would do without you," Joyce told me as we sat on her couch with her head on my shoulder. I stayed for an hour until she had gone back to sleep. I pulled her quilt over her as she lay on her couch, and then crept out her back door, locking it.
I then walked home. It was well after midnight when she had called me. I curled up in the bed with Maggie, thinking about Joyce. I just want her to be okay. Thoughts of make-believe animals inhabiting her dark home paraded through my mind.
Yesterday, I had pleaded with my father vehemently for help with my anxiety attacks.
"We're not calling your brother or sister to bother them," he said firmly. "Your brother is buying a new car and is busy. Besides, you can't have any addictive substances. You go crazy wanting more."
I pleaded some more... "Just two Xanax," I said. "It is the only thing that helps with this."
We drove down to his pharmacy and he gave me a plain white pill to take that looked like an aspirin along with four Tylenol.
"This will make you feel better," he told me as I gulped it down with a swallow of Coke, willing to try anything out of desperation. It made me so sleepy I couldn't stay awake. I realized afterwards that it was an prescription grade antihistamine -- my mouth and nose becoming very dry. It did help with the anxiety and I slept for the rest of the day with sleep being my only respite.