I broke my “boss lady” wine glass… maybe it’s a sign, a sign of enough wine… nah! It was one glass. Or, a sign that I am tired of being the boss all of the time. Work, home, repeat. Sometimes I just have had enough and want to say “when”.
I am tired and feeling weak and garbled, and this is the time in my mental health where I feel all of the crazy I joke about on normal days. I am overwhelmed with a load of nothing and I just want to sleep for 4 days.
I feel angry, fists clenched, jaw grinding. Why? You ask. Well, to be honest, I have no fucking clue, other than the fact that my brain is a real jerk and doesn’t work like it is supposed to all of the time. Which makes me even more angry. Maybe I will read a bit because this feeling, this imbalance is heading toward a spiral, I can just feel it. The number of curse words that are bound to follow will not end well.
One of my toughest mornings in a long time. I laid in bed, tears welling in my eyes, terrified. Again, with nothing at all to blame. I felt as if I were to get out of bed, it would be the end of me. My anxiety was making my neck tight, my heart race, everything was blurring as the minutes passed. My face flushed, my stomach in knots.
I should have stayed in bed, but with no paid time off left for the year, I played my own devil’s advocate. I was hard on myself and looked in the mirror. I heard the words of someone else, “get your shit together, you know this is all in your mind!”
I threw my hair into a messy bun, took a quick rinse in the shower, chin quivering through the desire to cry. Like my insides were begging, “please don’t go outside, you cannot survive this.”
I drank my Gatorade to avoid the POTs also playing a role in my unraveling. Off to work I went. I had no idea it was so early and I do not remember a single second of the drive until I downshifted on the off-ramp. It was all autopilot. I pulled in tears burning my eyes.
I walked through the wind forcing the tears to fall, I walked into my office and fell into my chair.
I forced some food down and turned the heater on full blast only to turn it off 20 seconds later with the flush of the next panic attack. I found my crazy lady pills in my handbag, downed one along with the second half of the Xanax it took just to get out of the door. Holding the pills in my hand I realize I should have seen this coming, my skin in a complete eczema flare.
I did the breathing and the meditating and the ‘you are going to make it through” self-talk. Nothing is helping. I tried cold water and my favorite distraction songs. And then outside to the cold air. Nothing. Neck tight like I was in a brace, tears just on the verge, my hands aching in the same scars my fingernails have dug into before with my knuckles white. My heart is pounding so loud I cannot focus and the sound of the lights buzzing overhead is enough to make me want to put my headphones in. When the sound of a stapler is so jarring, you know your sensitivity is on the fritz.
A couple of texts to a supportive friend who goes through the same things, and I plow into work. If I can just get a few things done I can go home, back to my bed, back to safety. “You can do this, look you made it all the way here, you’re doing fine.” It’s all bullshit, but I am trying.
Someone walks into my office and I answer them through deep breaths and squinting eyes and I waive their questions away by blaming the headache that is no doubt because my brain is actually attacking itself in there. I don’t remember what was said just seconds later, the words lost to the pain of the fire in my veins. The desire to peel my own skin away to not have to feel in this situation is an actual thought of relief.
Terrified my work will be shit because I cannot focus over the whir in my brain, the clench in my jaw, the constant knuckle cracking. Someone else walks in, yet this face knows my struggle and at the sight of her, I lose it. I cannot keep it together, I am cracking and the tissues only smear the bit of mascara I managed to put on. She is understanding and patient and closes the door to help the onslaught of curious co-workers.
The hardest part is not only not understanding the why, but trying to help someone else understand. People genuinely care and want to help, but how can I explain that it feels like my own brain is under siege from itself and there is no rhyme or reason. There was no catalyst, there was no death, or rape, fight or assault. There is just the chemical imbalance that sometimes is stronger than the meds and all I can do is outlive it.
I clear my desk, I answer the emails, I put out the fires for everyone else, and I leave. I hold my breath from the door to my car and as I exhale in the safety of my vehicle, I fall apart. I am desperate to get home, the drive another blur. My stomach reminds me I need to eat to survive so I have a potato, nausea sets in. More Gatorade for my low blood pressure.
Undress, Xanax and ah, finally my bed.
I wake up 4 hours later, and it is all still there, every glitch in my body. The brain malfunction won’t quit. I want to scream. I inhale like it is the first and last breath until my lungs feel like they will pop. My heart is exhausted, my body weak and heavy. My stomach revolts, it is as if the assault in my mind has leaked down into my belly. As the two are connected I pop the meds for that now. Slamming the drawer shut, furious I have to medicate. Why is my brain such an asshole? I look in the mirror, how can I look so tired – defeat. I climb back in bed. I am a disaster.
I am writing this to you because I cannot make it make sense. But, this shit, it is real, and it is hard. If you have never experienced it I envy you, but I also understand how impossible it is to understand. It is happening to me and I can’t make sense of it either. How can I help someone else get it? All I can ask for is patience. Hell, it is all I can even ask of myself.
There is no end yet, but I am too exhausted to keep typing. It all passes, it always does, that is all I can count on right now.