You probably haven’t heard of it. It was a trial drug and not very well advertised. The only reason I heard of it was because of some stranger I ended up dumping my sorrows on at the bar on a Monday night.
You see, 2016 was an exceptionally hard year for me. If I’m being honest I can’t remember ever having a great year, but this year was remarkable. After returning from my father’s funeral, I was notified that I was going to be involuntarily separated from the military. That was hard, because my spouse and two children relied heavily on my steady income. I had no back up plan and the overwhelming weight of the burden of trying to scurry and make life changing decisions in a matter of months became increasingly heavier with each passing day. I guess that stress manifested in ways that were unhealthy, and became too much for my spouse, and too toxic for my children. With no job, and a newfound love of alcohol. They left me. Can’t say I blame them. I didn’t fight for anything. I let them have it all. I’m currently living off disability and unemployment until I figure out what I want to do from here. I feel too stupid for school and lack the passion anyway.
Right now you might be thinking that I’m weak, I’ve made s**t decisions, and it would be easy to turn my life back around if I worked on it. You’re right. But truth is… grief has prevented me from doing all of that. You know that heart tugging feeling that won’t release its grip. It won’t let you sleep when you want, and it won’t let you leave the couch and stay awake when you need to.
Sob story aside. The point of this story was to share how I got to where I am and warn others not to follow in my footsteps. Skip ahead to the night in the bar. I remember just sitting at the end of the bar counter with my hands wrapped around my cognac, staring towards the glass but not really staring at anything. Grief gripped my heart again and tears welled up in my eyes. My babies. My dad. My career. My love. Gone. And that’s when I saw him. I don’t know how long he had been watching me, but the bartender brought me a drink he paid for.
Of course I felt obligated to entertain him with small talk. He was easy on the eyes, but in a soft, doesn’t really stand out in a crowd type of way. He let me unload, cry, reminisce, laugh. For hours, all the while acting completely interested. I had a lot of built up emotions, because I can’t even recall asking him his name. But what I do remember is when he said to me, “I’m sorry you have to deal with all that grief and depression. I felt your sadness from across the room, which is why I knew I had to talk to you. I might be able to help you.”
Then he told me about “Grievless”. A trial drug that they would pay me to take, if I passed the application first. It works as sort of pain blocker, but just for grief alone. Which then in turn is supposed to help my undiagnosed depression. It works to refocus the brain on the task at hand, and forget about my grieving subconscious. At this point it sounded like a magic pill, so I didn’t hesitate.
As soon as I could I went down to the facility and started the process. I was so eager I didn’t even bother reading the side effects. I vaguely remember the nurse or whomever telling me about possible lifelong side effects from even just one dose. I signed the disclosure as fast as I could, swallowed the pill, and was told to come back for another one next week. That night was kind of blur. I couldn’t remember if I was allowed to drink or not but the urge was too strong so I caved anyway. When I awoke the next day all I could remember was having terrible fearful nightmares. Nightmares I couldn’t really remember full details of. The next day went by fast. I decided to keep busy to help keep my mind focused. But that night, is when I noticed a change.
Grief likes to rear its ugly head at night. Reminds you of your regrets. Makes you think about how much you miss everything you had, and convinces you you’ll never be that happy again. So there I was, wallowing as part of my nightly ritual. I heard a loud thud come from the back of the house and a deep laugh. My heart jumped from my chest as I thought for sure someone had broke in. I grabbed a kitchen knife and jolted back to my room instinctively… where I thought the noise came from.
I burst through the door with a loud scream and I swung the knife forward. But there was no one. Suddenly the door behind me slammed shut. I screamed again and ran away from the door towards my bed. Before I jumped on my bed I looked down and caught eyes with a figure under my bed. Just a face. But the eyes had no eyelids, and the face was chalk white. Blood shot eyes that seemed like they were bulging out way too far.
I froze and pissed my pants on accident. Never before had I ever seen such a terrifying creature, or have felt that level of fear in my life. I jumped back just as its long fingers slid out from under the bed towards me. I opened my door and ran outside in hysterics. I phoned the police of a break in and hid in my car until they arrived. Of course there was nothing they found, and I was suddenly suspected of being on drugs. They eventually left and I calmed down enough to go back in. I convinced myself it was my mind playing tricks on me. I didn’t get the facilities phone number, so I decided to drive down there and ask more of the side effects. But they were closed. And not just closed, like… empty. Moved out. I became furious. They only had my info, so all I could do was hope that they would call me. I didn’t know the pharmaceutical name of the drug, and “Grievless” showed empty searches on the Internet. I didn’t know where to turn.
Now that it’s been awhile, with no signs of stopping, I can tell you what I’ve figured out about it. Every time I start to feel sad, I’ll notice something startling. If I’m out, it’ll be a flash of something no one else seems to notice. If I’m at home, it’ll be noises at first… visuals next. If I let Grief take over, it’ll actually manifest into full body figures. Not the same figure. I’ve theorized that it taps into your fears and shuffles through like a library and chooses one at random. Clowns, snakes, spiders, needles, etc. “Grievless” releases your fear response by making hallucinations every time your happy feelings get too low.
I’m literally not allowed to feel sad. I’m terrified to feel sad. I’m going crazy. I’m scared of everything. I feel like I can’t tell the difference between hallucinations and reality. I’m house bound. I didn’t want to feel sad anymore, but I traded it in for pure terror. That stranger at the bar that I thought was a Saint, in hindsight he must have been a demon, or someone getting paid to bait and hook poor down and outs like myself.
I’m just so f*****g tired. I can’t sleep. I can’t watch horror movies (which used to be my favorite genre), I can’t keep friends. I can’t drink because it triggers my depression. I can’t watch the news. I have to stay either angry, or happy. All. Of. The. Time. But there’s good news. I’ve taken up running instead of drinking. I’ve started eating healthy in hopes to help curb the nightmares. From the outside I look like my life is back on track. But I can’t tell people that my brain is literally holding a gun to itself. I can’t talk about the drug, I can’t release the sadness. I’m going to explode. Even now, just confessing on the Internet is beginning to trigger it.
I saw white eye balls from inside the hallway closet. Lord help me God. Please oh God. Oh my God, please take me please let me die please God please. F**k the door opened a little more. I’m trying to seem distracted. It’s a child with long black hair grinning from ear to ear. She’s got a knife. Maybe I should see if they are allowed to kill. I want to be done. One more thing before I go.
The facility called. They told me of another drug to counteract the fear. Guess what they call it? Yep… “fearless”. I don’t know how I feel about it. I want to just end it all. I don’t know if this is permanent. I don’t know if I should take the drug and fight to live for nothing. I can feel her. She’s breathing on my neck from behind, probably reading these very words.