This Saturday’s struggle surprised me. Going to bed the previous night I was tired, a little boozy, but felt good. I slept on TWO feather toppers. I ordered a queen and by the time I fluff and bunch it to lay on the thickness I want, I have a nest 6-8 inches from the edges of my bed. I ordered a king sized topper that fits the whole bed. But still not quite the heaven I seek. So……last night I slept on BOTH feather bed toppers! My goal is to sleep on several inches of feathers. Pure heaven.
It was warm in my studio when I woke up. I left my space heater on because of the cold snap, the building heat was on, and brilliant sunlight was streaming onto my bed. My radio was playing NPR Latino USA. This was a seriously glorious rising.
I think I get upset at the time. Getting up in the afternoon gets such a bad wrap in this culture. It is instant guilt and Loserville. I’ve been beaten down about my sleep habits. But back up the train here. I worked the equivalent of two 8 hour days and two 12 hour days in a row, three of which were killer shifts. I started down the rabbit hole, but I did a reality check, then launched into last week’s challenges with the drill downs, and then my flash forty. Yes, I need recovery in terms of what happened to me, but also what didn’t happen.
Some of this Back Log are things I was not taught to recognize like being tired. Like understanding that schedules change, get added to, that burdens suddenly increase, energy and abilities rise and fall, decisions may be made on the fly, and even values get a boost or take a hit. In my mind, others’ unpredictability is fine and to be adjusted to, but mine is unacceptable. And yes, I have evidence to back up this belief. I think I don’t remember what I go through. My critical self and The Committee are unfamiliar with feelings. Until recently, Nobody new what “good” felt like. Neither of them are grounded in reality or fluent in normal. Today I was just very, very tired.
Some of this Back Log is refusing acceptance. In my family, I think my Uncle is the only one who can be too tired. Nobody can can get out of maintaining an addiction because they are tired. When asked why I didn’t just buckle down and stay with my Aunt to finish nursing school, that was my point. Trying to do anything and maintain her addictions was too exhausting. I might have failed anyway or even just been too upset most of the time to think straight or learn. Nothing is more important than cleanliness, order, rigid schedules, her way, and her rules. Seriously. Don’t get up and make hot cereal in the middle of the night, clean the rabbits completely daily even though they are outside, don’t drive on the driveway if there is a single flake of snow on it, and don’t leave any uncertainty about coming and going. Understand the disappointment created by not doing what you had planned, mentioned, or should have done; and the shock at at something unexpected. I grew up in one house where if you changed it was traumatic, and another that the constant change was traumatic. Maybe now, alone, both places inhabit my thinking and I am confused. Since I don’t have any reference for acceptance, I don’t know how to accept my days as they present themselves, therefore I ping back and forth between opposite non-acceptance.
In neither house was anything good enough. I am sure I still do this to myself. Working 40 murderous hours in 4 days is a good enough reason to be tired. My life, my bills, my apartment, and my holiday preparations are in good shape. But no, let’s put on the cloak of you-suck because it’s 3:45 and you haven’t accomplished 40 things. Seriously, growing up things were never “fine” because it was never enough. When I say to a nervous co-worker, “It’s fine. Go home. I’ll get it.” I mean it is good enough. I accept what their day was like, their style of labor, my lot. It’s fine, life goes on.
Self doubt and fear of being found as a fraud plagues me. Even when I don’t let the hour of the day, or self-criticism drive me to non-acceptance, or when things are good enough; and I get on a roll viewing myself as one day possibly writing for pay, using my experiences for income, creating things for income, and finding my niche in various facets of my life; I have terrible fears of failure, being found as not real, or the worst; that I have become incapable of learning and thinking at the level I need to to accomplish the things I have in mind. I am very afraid that when my brain broke almost three years ago, that that was it.
Sometimes I think the Back Log is what was not present in the people who reared me. There was not acceptance of themselves or anyone else. There wasn’t room for mistakes, back-treading, changing one’s mind or approach. There was a stark absence of quiet calm, heart-felt reassurances, long-suffering patience, certainty of affection, assumption of good intentions, and for sure no push for individual success.
It isn’t just what happened to us growing up, it’s what didn’t happen as well. Recovery is also about finding and mending those holes in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Recovery for me, is about re-teaching my body that life is okay now. I am safe, I will stay safe. I am very real. I will find the help I need to cognitively recover from my last PTSD episode. Eventually I will accept that I may behave like a slug only because I am tired from work. That that is all it is and it’s fine.