Today I awoke at 1:30 pm. very, very tired. By 3:45 pm I needed to decide on my day. The 7-3 day was over, the 9-5 day was closing, even a 3-11 day would be two hours behind. I’ve struggled with this forever. It makes me sad, then mad, then scared. Then shame drapes over me. A cloak of my family’s brand of dysfunction. If I let it continue, I can become helpless, hopeless, and hapless. I can give into the dysfunction and scramble to justify my laziness, explain tasks not done, cover up my lacking, hurry and make-up for my time lost; or give up and remain unwashed, unfed, uncaffeinated, and putter the rest of the day. On this path, when darkness falls, anxiety fills me and I enter the night a terrified child.
I am slowly kicking this cycle to the curb. Checking in with my physical body, I notice that I am moving slowly. I am indecisive in my steps around my studio, inefficient in my morning (now afternoon tasks), nervous, resistant to bathing, eating, caffeinating, planning, or completing any darn thing. And way hyper-critical of every thought, feeling, and action.
BOOM! There it is. Hyper-criticalness of myself. I have a hard time moving and feeling at the same time AND I pick on myself for this difficulty. Yet, today I know that I am okay. Maybe this time of weirdness is part of the reboot in my thinking. My thinking is ten times healthier than it used to be. I am far different in the things that I do do now, truly feel now, and my decisions are more solid. Even this particular frustration is getting easier to understand as I continue to drill down to what’s really bothering me. Maybe this self criticism is a bunch of bologna. Maybe anyone would act like a slug today.
I just worked 40 hours in four days. I just worked 40 hours in four days in a crazy, stressful, “are you f*@&*^% kidding me?” environment. Other people far healthier and far more supported than I, nearly lost THEIR minds. Okay. Ya. I already feel better. Good reality check.
On top of my 40 hours of work is my recovery, which is nearly a minute-by-minute endeavor dealing with normal challenges like money, holiday preparations, and daily life. On top of THAT, I was still emotionally hung over from last week, which was a huge week itself. Yup. There it is. I am Emotionally Hungover.
If Emotional Sobriety is what I seek, I’ve been on a bender. Now, this bender is mostly not of my making. That is, not directly of dysfunctional thinking and behaviors to drum up the “excitement” described in the Big Red Book. My emotional drama was from events that occurred as a part of life. It all started with a conversation that was painfully authentic, opening me to vulnerability. Now nobody from a rough home enjoys vulnerability! It also showed me up close and personal why in a twelve step meeting, not reacting, even in positive ways during a share, is so important to the other person. Good lesson, but left an ouchie on me.
The next blow to my emotions occurred while picking up medication which used to cost $9 a month, or 27 for three, then jumped to $22 a month or 66 for three, and then the pharmacy wanted $124 for three months or $41.30 a month. This week the issue was favorably resolved, but the stress continued in my body. The drill down reveled a fear for my safety. Fear for my safety lingers.
The third strain on my sanity came in the form of another person struggling with their own issues affecting me. I am learning that not facing one’s own personal truth, not being honest with one’s self, unintentionally harms other people. As I see it, the situation is beyond them not being able to face me, rather, not facing themselves. Unfortunately, given my history, I got royally rattled. Stored trauma in my body went berserk. The drill down on that one was how easily I can be discarded, without a word, without regard for the effect being discarded had on me. On the positive side, in those acute moments, my mind was able to remain in today, in the actual situation of being an adult capable of providing for myself, and the reality that this person doesn’t owe me a thing. Radically differing reactions going on in my body AT THE SAME TIME. It was like being punched in my insides the rest of the day.
The last two blows to my emotions were work related. One was a change in practice that I’ve been used to for almost two decades. Now a certain thing is no longer part of the beginning of my shift and I am going to struggle with the change. Actually, I am going to fight tooth and nail, bitch loudly, and resist. Professionally of course. This one really did a number on my insides in the form of separation anxiety, belonging, and the value of my place in the group. I felt cast out, discounted, silenced, and placed in a catch-22. Now, a catch-22 is a dangerous place for me because a catch-22 by design creates confusion. I do not do well with confusion. This situation, if I don’t “recovery the hell out of it”, will continue to feel EXACTLY LIKE HOME when I was growing up. Now, ain’t nobody got time for THAT crap now as a grown adult! What I mean is I recognize this as a major problem from childhood resurfacing and shape-shifting into a challenge in the workplace. I need to be able to behave like an adult who protects her income, health insurance, time-off, 401K, health savings account, reputation, and resume. That’s a lot to put on someone who will for an hour, every work day, feel about 7 years old. That, my friends, is the legacy of trauma for me.
Lastly, I endured a bait-n-switch. You know when promised one thing, then given something different? This happens all the time with my position. It is irritating, but normal, and no big deal. Last week it was the proverbial straw yanking down the poor camel. I was furious. The drill down was that I am not entitled to the same things as other people. Now, that is just not true, the situation was unintentional, of short duration, and everybody was already cranked up. The good news is that I got over it, truly over it, quickly, and with a better perspective.
Yes, today was like many of my days. And it was okay.