I saw two hitchhikers when I left the gas station. I thought about the kindness Karel showed me this morning. Even though I tried to buy him coffee, he wouldn't take it. He insisted in paying for my breakfast instead, with his company card. The shopgirl rolled her eyes and laughed. She said I wasn't able to get myself out of it.
It was very cold outside today. When I saw a girl and man standing on the side of the road, heavily loaded, I stopped to let them in. The girl was Polish and her name was Agnieszka. The guy, also Polish (but they only knew each other for 3 days), was named Karol also (just written differently), just like the man I met before. They don't look like gypsy banditos.
The moment I let them inside my car I feel regret; now I have to talk to them. I barely have spoken to anyone in days. Do I still have a voice? Do I look mad? I must look mad, but they want a ride still. Am I sane and awake enough to make sure I don't drive myself and them off the road? I've been driving for hours and my mind has been nowhere during the whole trip. I write to get back to the now, because where I am in-between, I don't know.
I'm suddenly terrified I'll take Karol and Agnieszka down in my dark pit and have no idea why I put myself in this situation or how to get myself out of it. I tell them, urge them, I've been on the road all day and am extremely tired. They're not bothered, and settle in the back of my car. She is 25, and he is 33 years old. They met online; she was looking for a friend to travel with. We talk a bit. It's hard, because there's a language-barrier, and I don't really want to talk. It feels like any second now, my chess is going to explode. If I open my mouth when that happens, I'll make a greater mess, so I better keep my mouth shut. I tell my passengers I need to focus so we all get safe to wherever we're going (up north), and put my headphones on instead.
After an hour adjusting to the two strangers in the back of my car, I need to fill up my car and go to the toilet for what seems like an hour. The pain is fading though, and ibuprofen helps me to stay, well, not great, but something. If anything Agnieszka and Karol are the ones making me feel a little better. When back in the car, we finally warm up to each other, and have a conversation.
Agnieszka likes sad music. Karol has a tent. I find this last piece of information funny given the circumstances, and if I could laugh I would. I tell them about my bad experience with a tent in Oktober once, in England. Two years ago. It's November now however, in Denmark. Who goes camping in November in Denmark?
While driving, Agnieszka makes me listen to music on her MP3 player, and Karol gives me directions. The road is long and dark and doesn't seem to go anywhere. I just focus on the end of the next one, and the next one, and the next one. As long as they keep coming, I can't do anything but drive on. I hear Agnieszka talk to me. She says something about me being a 'warm and beautiful person'. She asks why I could ever look sad while being 'that', and why I'm traveling. The more she talks the more I feel like telling her the truth: that I need to save myself from my own thoughts. At home, I couldn't. But on the road, I can forget about them. Kinda.
Depression may affect your ability to drive safely. If you're involved in an accident as a result, in some countries you can be prosecuted. Please consult your doctor about driving when you're depressed. - Pie
Really, I need to save myself from me, but I can't tell her that. I can't tell her how I don't want to sleep anymore because of the nightmares, and don't want to live anymore due to how my mind haunts me during the day. I just tell her the part where I knew I needed to drive, for a long time.
When we stop in Hirtshals, Agnieszka gives me her contact details written on a tissue. I hug Karol and her goodbye, and leave into the night. Karol told me how to get to the harbour. Since I have no plan and don't want to stop moving, I drive into the direction of the docks.
Timeline of Events Inside the System
Inside the System is a blog series about mental health, being hospitalised, and pretty much everything I've experienced these last few months. From naked patients crawling through the hallway, to having your medication dose raised 4 times in 6 weeks due to your ex boyfriend threatening you. From being publicly shamed online for speaking out and being called a liar, to what actually happened, and how and when I will press charges against my ex. So, a lot of mental vomit will be thrown on my blog upcoming weeks. The Inside The System series is part of Project Blue is a Wave.