The Trip

So, way back when things with Dandette were still good, she proposed we all go to her childhood home while her parents were on vacation. This was a three-bedroom house in a tiny town two hours away, with a fire pit and a pond and a full-size trampoline in the yard plus a Jacuzzi in the upstairs bathroom. She talked up the amenities big time and made it sound like a blissful vacation.

As time went on and Dandette became markedly less loving toward me, I began to sort of dread the trip. And then the bullshit with her trying to throw out my mug and bookcase happened THE DAY BEFORE WE WERE SUPPOSED TO LEAVE. Right after it happened I told The Dandy I wasn’t going, but then we all sorta patched things up and Dandette brought the cat-sitting neighbour in to show her where we keep the food and stuff and it would have felt awkward to pipe up with “well, actually…” so meh. I went.

Long story short: Dandette’s mental state was sort of…iffy the first two days; she alternated between slightly standoffish and friendly/normal. On day three everything hit the fucking fan, at least as far as I’m concerned.

I woke up to the sound of her sobbing and heard her yell “NO. LEAVE ME ALONE.” (Turns out this was not directed toward The Dandy, so…maybe one of the dogs?) Then there was some talking between her and The Dandy but I couldn’t hear about what; I was opting to hide in the bedroom. I think part of what happened was, we’d agreed the night before that we would wake up and go into the nearby tourist town for brunch, but Dandette ended up sleeping in past brunch-time. The Dandy gently woke her up, told her the time, and asked if she wanted to still go into town or just eat in the house. This caused her to start self-flagellating for “ruining our plans” by sleeping too late, and she had a panic attack and couldn’t make a decision either way. The Dandy came up and said we’d be eating at home and between us we figured out what he could make. When Dandette joined us at the table she was in her usual post-panic-attack mode: constantly apologizing in a voice so tiny I could barely hear it. When she’s like this she also gets into a mood where she’s convinced she doesn’t deserve basic human consideration, so like if The Dandy asked “Do you want some potatoes?” she’d insist that there wasn’t enough for three people so she wouldn’t have any and he had to convince her no, it was okay, we can spare some, she should eat. She kept hovering on the edge of another panic attack, which means going bug-eyed and hyperventilating and for some reason repeatedly trying to tell us things even though she was stuttering really badly and still using her teeny-tiny quiet voice.

A little while later, she was back to her normal self – kind of – but she would sometimes start freaking out over something and start hyperventilating and talking all quiet and stuttery again but a few minutes later she’d be speaking normally once more. She then started being super cranky – The Dandy asked her how her other partner (who was in the hospital after a cycling accident) was and she snapped “He broke his fucking head.” (We already knew he had a skull fracture. Obviously The Dandy was looking for updates on how bad it was or how he was doing generally. But sure, okay, restate the obvious in a bitchy voice, that’s helpful).

The actual trip was supposed to be for two weeks-ish (The Dandy took vacation days) with The Dandy and I going home a couple of times briefly because I had to work and he has some family thing to go to. We thought Dandette would stay there when we went home and honestly I was looking forward to the alone-time with him, especially now. But no, Dandette wanted to come back now so she could visit her partner with the busted head. So we piled into the car and home we went. Dandette asked The Dandy to pull into a nearby service station so she could buy a drink, and when it was closed and he offered to take her to the grocery store instead, she yelled “I DON’T HAVE THE ENERGY TO DEAL WITH GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE.” The Dandy didn’t offer to go buy a drink for her and from what I know of Dandette it’s because that would make her feel like a burden and she’d freak out even harder.

I spent the car ride in silence, speaking only when spoken to. And Dandette did sometimes speak to me; in-between stuttering and apologizing and long bouts of silence she’d swing back into normal mode and be chattering about various things and showing me funny memes on her phone. I almost wish she’d just been cranky and fucked up the whole time instead of having those random moments of normalcy. I don’t like inconsistency. I don’t like not ever knowing how someone’s going to be.

I needed some snacks for work the next day, and also I really needed to vent to The Dandy about a bunch of stuff. I asked if he could drop Dandette off at home and drive me to the grocery store so I wouldn’t have to haul the groceries by hand. He said yes, thank god, and basically as soon as Dandette left the car I had a huuuuuge stress-cry and yet another rant at The Dandy for not warning me about what she can be like.  I have always, always said to him that I value consistency in people above almost everything else and that I’m really sensitive to other people’s moods. He knew this about me well before I moved in. And okay, I was desperate for a place and this may be better than dealing with Harpy but WHY DID HE LET ME SUGGEST MOVING ALL OF US INTO A BIGGER PLACE. I mean I floated the idea to him first and then he floated it to Dandette. Why the FUCK didn’t he hear my suggestion and go “Well…let me give you an accurate overview of what she’s like before you start making any big plans. I want you to be able to make an informed decision.”

On a side note, while we were at Dandette’s place I got bitten by, I dunno, maybe mosquitoes or maybe something else, but my lower legs were covered in HUGE bites and they were driving me crazy to a point where the itching would wake me up at night.


I asked Dandette if her parents had any calamine lotion or anything like that and she said no. I asked The Dandy if we could drive into town and find some calamine lotion or something and I forget what he said. I think he didn’t know the area well and was like “I don’t remember the grocery store we went to having stuff like that.” So I gave up and just…suffered.

When we went for groceries (at a store with a big pharmaceutical section) we looked for something to stop my itching and they had nothing. On our way to another store (I was getting really desperate by then) I remembered that I’d given Dandette a thing of topical anesthetic for her cyst a little while back  – some stuff my gyno had prescribed me because reasons but I’d never used it. I texted her asking if there was any left, figuring I’d still try to get stuff at the drug store but at least I’d have a backup plan. Dandette texted back “yes…at my parents’. :(”

“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS?!?” I yelled, within the confines of The Dandy’s car. He asked what was up and I told him, adding “I’ve been suffering for TWO DAYS. The bites on my ankle are so swollen MY SKIN FEELS TOO TIGHT. The bites are blistering and the skin is breaking and it itches so much I can’t sleep and you knew all of this and neither of you particularly seemed to give a shit AND THERE WAS TOPICAL ANESTHETIC IN THE FUCKING HOUSE THE ENTIRE TIME.”

The Dandy is good at listening to rants and not taking them personally. He just petted me. It’s cool.

But by the time we got home, Dandette had realized why I was asking about the anesthetic and had spiralled into “I’m a fuckup and don’t deserve to live” territory. Like literally saying that to The Dandy, then lapsing into her wee baby voice and stutter as she tried to tell him something for five full minutes, then just bailing the fuck out of the apartment. The Dandy shrugged and turned to making me dinner. He said he can’t help her – nothing he can say or do will snap her out of this shit – but he could help me, so that’s what he’d do.

Today I learned that Dandette is still off her goddamned fucking meds. Her appointment to get her prescription renewed was on the day she decided she couldn’t stand the pain of that ass-cyst anymore and needed it lanced. Which, okay, but instead of making it a priority to make a new appointment and get it sorted out, she…continued with the plan to go on a trip. To her parents’ place which was in the middle of nowhere and which, by the way, probably holds some emotional triggers for her because her relationship with her parents is kinda…complicated. She trapped us in a house with her when she knew she was very very likely to have some kind of meltdown.

So on one hand this means her horrible mood swings are the unmedicated version of her, and maybe she’ll become the person I loved again once she’s back on her Effexor.

On the other hand it means she’s not being responsible about her mental illness. Medication exists and you know it helps you – fucking go get some! Or ask for help getting some if you need to! And if it’ll be a while before you can get it, let us all know and offer to postpone the trip so you can hide and keep your crazy bullshit to yourself until it’s squared away!

Jesus fuck.




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9 responses to “The Trip

  1. Christina

    Two suggestions: Benadryl (any fucking grocery store or Shopper’s Drug Mart) for you, and psychiatric emergency room for Dandette.

  2. Christina

    Also, please be on the lookout for signs of cellulitis:

    People do get it from insect bites, and it’s serious.

  3. M

    I second the Benadryl, and I recomend getting both non drowsy and drowsy kind. The drowsy stuff is amazing for when I get mosquito bites and can’t sleep – it both reduced the itch and ya know…sleep.

    For the other stuff: yikes. Sorry cowgirl. I hope things get worked out soon! 😞

    • jooyous

      Yes! Also some bites — usually the painful ones — you can heat them up to get the active chemicals to fall apart and be less effective sometimes!

  4. Brian

    Those are NASTY looking bites. Black flies maybe? They are done in my area, but may persist a little later in your area.
    Caladryl = Calamine + Benadryl. Don’t know if it’s available where you are, but it’s a lovely combo. There’s also something called “After Bite” available here in the states.
    What Christina said about cellulitis – do keep an eye on those bites. I was in the Adirondacks back in ’99. Got bit by something, got infected, fever up to 104 F. Ended up with cellulitis and ultimately had an area about the size of a hockey puck (but only half as thick) excised off the front of my right shin. Not fun.
    As for the Dandette’s issues – Oy!! Hope she gets back on her meds soon. At least knowing what’s up may help with the tolerance a wee bit??

  5. Isla Sinclair

    Oh. My. God.

    I would be going fucking bugnuts climbing-walls crazy if I were in your shoes, and my anxiety sounds like it’s, like, a third of what you’ve got going on.


    • Yeah. A big part of my stress-cry to The Dandy was me asking how in the hell he can deal with the unpredictability of her mood swings and he just shrugged and I was like “Okay, well, I grew up in an abusive household so I just HAVE to have my feelers up and quivering all the time, looking for any hint of anger in the air, and I have to adapt my behaviour to any perceived patterns so I can avoid confrontation. I don’t know how NOT to do those things. I can’t live with someone unpredictable and just act normal and see what happens.”

      • Isla Sinclair


        Exactly that. Unpredictable emotions, especially when it’s not just “swings between happy and sad” but “swings between affectionate and angry” — badbadbad. I’m kind of cocking my head to the side like a puzzled dog at the idea that one COULD just…ride it out and see what happens. Huh. I’ve always got this hyper-awareness of other people’s emotional states. (Not that I don’t ever miss important things going on with them! But pretty ridiculously fine-tuned to “are they gonna yell at me now.”)


  6. Pingback: Tidbits | hiding in plain sight

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