those who are searching

A little more than four years ago, a carpet changed my life. 

I came into my office one Monday and found myself choking on fumes. The building’s carpets had been replaced over the weekend, and they were noxious. My colleagues and I coughed and wheezed through our first days.

The carpet vendor, saying they got this complaint a lot with this carpet, came in and did a steam cleaning. This took some of the edge off the smell, but I continued to struggle with all kinds of reactions to what lingered.

While my colleagues adapted within a couple of weeks, my reaction worsened by the day. The strictly physical pain was bad enough, but what really terrified me was when I started losing mental ground.

I called my sister ranting and rambling one evening. I was trying to figure out what to do; I had a family to feed, and so feared the consequences of either staying or going. Stay and hurt myself further, or leave and struggle financially?

I was so incoherent in my agitation that my sister was terrified. She told me the next day, “You sounded just like Mom.”

Our mom suffered years of mental illness before she died of cancer in 2010. To hear I sounded like Mom was jarring.

I did not want to follow that path.

I found a new job, and left pronto.

What is this doing on my book blog, though? Continue reading “those who are searching”

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