Monday, March 22, 2010

In which I decide that everything I do is wrong, and most likely will end in disaster

Oh dear Lord, why do I live my life in a friggin firestorm of anxiety? Today I feel like a fish who’s just found herself washed ashore and the tide going out.

Sample internal conversation:

Me 1: We’re going to lose our jobs and have no money and we’ll be forced to foreclose and live in a cardboard box under the overpass.

Me 2: Deep breath. These are emotions that come and go.

Me 1: What if Dear Husband dies? You know what you’re like – you freeze. Do you even know where your car insurance cards are? See, you’re screwed.

Me 2: Focus on the now.

Me 1: The now totally blows! I’m bored, and my eyes hurt. I need new glasses, and they cost a fortune. My vision’s so bad eventually there will be no glasses strong enough.

Me 2: What?

Me 1: And detached retinas. I’m at a very high risk for detached retinas. And there’s nothing I can do about it! There are no preventative measures!

Me 2: Maybe you should concentrate on finally setting up dental appointments for the girls.

Me 1: And orthodontics. Sure as anything Firecracker will have to get braces. How the hell are we going to afford braces? And they eat too much sugar. The dentist is going to secretly condemn me because I can’t figure out how to floss their teeth or teach them to do it themselves.

Me 2: Perhaps you should read a book over lunch break…

Me 1: Library fines – can you believe I had to pay over $30 in library fines? I’m so irresponsible and disorganized. And my house is impossible. I hate housework. The countertops are sticky. No matter how many times I wipe them, they’re always sticky. And the kitchen table is always piled with papers glued to the surface by pancake syrup. Which I really shouldn’t let the kids eat – real maple syrup has to be better for you, but it’s so expensive (remember the cardboard box). And now the doctor tells me they have to cut back on dairy products, which just reminds me that I’m a bad mother and my kids won’t eat anything because I haven’t, well, done something. I don’t know. Nothing works. They hate everything. They hate things they used to like. We’re going backwards. My kids are going to be fat and have rickets.

Me 2: You need a valium.

Me 1: Yes, I do. But I can’t even afford the medication I take. What if I’m on the wrong medication? Maybe my diagnoses are all wrong. What if I’m not really bipolar and instead managed to bamboozle the doctor because it really seemed that my symptoms fit and nothing else worked and then we threw in ADD but perhaps I’m just really lazy and don’t get enough sleep and both of those are over diagnosed because doctors like to diagnose you with stuff. And I think my mom was bipolar but who knows because she was in an institution in the 50s when they shocked everyone and put them on lithium and they said she was schizophrenic but then how did she get by without any meds at all? None, zilch, zero. And she swung like a pendulum. But I don’t – I’m not that bad, really. I just get depressed over and over. I don’t gamble, I don’t empty the bank account, I don’t stay up all night, I don’t think I can conquer the world (although sometimes I think I can drop the meds because it’s really okay, I’m really okay), and I don’t behave recklessly (unless you count the years of taking whatever drug was handed to me, getting drunk in unsavory situations, cutting myself, and that rather weird episode of unprotected sex with a series of men, which pretty much clinched matters for me because that was totally out of character for someone as generally uptight and painfully timid and anxious as I am, but at the time it just seemed rather free-spirited, and then just really really skeevy), and how do you know if your thoughts are racing if that is just the way they are and have been all your life? What would you compare it with? Doesn’t everyone think like that, with thoughts galloping across the plains? The speed of my thoughts feels normal. A little exhilarating sometimes, when I’m surfing them, but who wants slow thoughts, anyway? That’s the cold depths of depression, when thoughts are stiff-legged and lag behind. But it could just look suspiciously like bipolar, because that’s how I’ve arranged all my memories, now, whereas before they were all arranged for dysthemia and no one, no one, would have considered otherwise. Maybe because I lied a lot. I lie to therapists. I leave out stuff. I rearrange it. I exaggerate or understate. I actually understate a lot. If I’m really really ashamed of something, I never ever admit it, or it takes years, or I honestly don’t think it’s relevant even if it shaped me in some way. Being bisexual, for instance. I don’t mention that. Is it relevant? I don’t know. Maybe I’m not really. I mean, sheesh, I’m married here. Maybe I just hang onto that identity for some unknown reason, because it’s kind of cool to be secretly different even though it has zilch impact on my life now, except that I find it hard to imagine being completely straight. How can you be completely one way or the other? How can you find one gender undesirable? What exactly is that like, anyway?

Me 2: Do you even hear yourself?

Me 1: I hear almost no one else, because I’m totally self-centered and don’t know how not to be, because here I am with myself, keeping myself company, and whatever I do, I’m stuck in here, worrying that I’m not very giving and can’t seem to make friends and I talk a lot about compassion blah blah blah but I never really do anything, unless you count writing to my congressman twice or making donations doing something, and the only thing I’ve ever done at church was work in the nursery sometimes, because I feel really weird trying to do volunteer work, everyone else is so genuine and caring and I’m cold and remote. Trust issues you know, fear of commitment, which is why I don’t make friends. I don’t want anyone to know me, at least not the people I meet now. I’m afraid I’ll be exposed for a fraud and lose my job. And how the hell did I end up working for a denomination that partners with organizations that try to “cure” gay people? WTF? That’s not me. That’s an abomination. But here I am, 100% cynical skeptic working for people who believe in 5 point Calvinism.

Me 2: Are you done yet?

Me 1: Yes, I think so for now, because I have cherry nougats.


  1. So glad you have cherry nougats.

    Though I'm repeating myself, stop the spiral of thoughts with:
    Am I safe RIGHT NOW? (yes)
    WHO is in charge? (God)

    But if you need this therapeutic rambling, that's all right.


  2. You sound just like me...really. Also, in my lifetime, which since I am 53, means I've lived a lot longer than you....most of those things you worry about (job loss, braces, anxiety, etc)...have all happened to me. And somehow we've lived through it - or are living through it. But I do have a lot of late night monologues that keep me up. And a lot of conversations with God that feel like monologues.

  3. Me 2: Do you even hear yourself?

    Me 1: I hear almost no one else.

    I'm sure you don't care, but you make me smile. Coming from the Mizz Scarlet school of "things will be better tomorrow" I have a hard time relating. But you do help me to better understand the people in my life with the same struggles.

    Tomorrow really is a new day and the cherry nougats aren't going anywhere.

  4. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.............................................

  5. I have no advice, just an observation:

    Ending with cherry nougats was badass.

  6. I want cherry nougats, too, now.

    I also want to be badass.

    The cherry nougats seem a better bet.

  7. Jan: I love to ramble. Eventually it calms me down long enough to move to point B.

    Mompriest: Yep, I've lived through quite a lot of them, but somehow I don't exactly draw comfort from that. Sigh.

    Random: Of course I care that I make you smile. that makes me happy. Thank God there are people like you or we would be awash in despair.

    Ira: Cherry nougats as the Samuel L Jackson of candy. In any case, they rock.

    David: You really can't go wrong with cherry nougats. See above.

  8. I didn't mean you wouldn't care because you're uncaring. I guess what I was trying to communicate, and apparently not so well, is that when you write like this it feels like peeking in on somebody's inner most thoughts and feelings. You really put yourself out there sometimes. The fact that I am amused by something feels almost disrespectful. Sheesh, way overthinking this. I'll be quiet now.

  9. Valium is spelled with a capital "V".

    You'll need to know that when you lose your health care and have to forge prescriptions. . .

  10. A great form of therapy is rambling, it's served me well for years as has chocolate. Good to hear you have cherry nougat.

  11. Cherry nougats would never do it for me...but I have similar thoughts from time to time...always late at night. The morning seems to help. I hope things are more peaceful for you today.

  12. mmm, cherry nougat.

    Also, can I just say, this sounds almost exactly like my brain, only me2 talks a lot too, and not nearly as sensibly as You2. (sigh)

  13. Just stopping by to see how you are doing. Best wishes.

  14. I try to break up such recurring worrysome thoughts by writing them down on a piece of paper, and then placing it on the lit barbecue - and then I watch my worries go up in smoke. It always amuses me to do so, but it rarely solves the original problem. In fact sometimes it doesn't help at all

  15. Oh, I've been such a slacker. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and lauding the cherry nougats.

    RT: It's all good. What were we talking about again?

    Buck: I steal the Valium from my husband. I have connections.

    Petty: Puttering along here, thanks for checking.

    hip2b: Hey, nice to hear from you! Sometimes only jellybeans work for me.

    Teri: My rambling was sensible? :)

    Boonsong: Thanks for dropping by. Your photoblog looks beautiful.

  16. Good heavens! And I thought it was just me!

    This is probably completely unhealthy and reinforcing all of your worst dire fantasies and your shrink will kill me, but... try providing yourself with: a small collapsible tent (preferably camo, not bright royal blue or anything), a ball of string, a roll of aluminum foil, a roll of paper towels, a real towel, a couple of disposable lighters, a small bottle of vodka, a sleeping bag with a stuff-sack, some water purification tablets, a pack of beef jerky, a couple of box-cutters, a can of pepper spray, and a big bar of soap, or better yet two or three bars of soap. Stick all this stuff into a canvas or nylon backpack and stash it somwhere where you know you can find it if everything caves in.

    Also, you may want to get hold of an old Girl Scout manual. It will tell you things like how to make a vagabond stove out of an old coffee can. The aluminum foil is to cook in, and the water purification tablets are so that you'll always have drinkable water available. Very important.

    That way, when you become utterly covinced that you are destined to live on the street, you'll at least know that you are all nicely prepared for exactly that, and that thought may make you feel better. Remember: water, shelter, fire, food! In that order! (And, if you are an urban tent dweller, defense.)

    And if nothing else, you'll have fun shopping for the stuff. Give the tent a cool name, too, like Rosemead Manor or The Breakers.

    BTW, one last thing: what, exactly, is cherry nougat?

  17. Anonymous - oh you've brightened my day enormously. I'd forgotten this post. I sound like someone I might feel nervous about getting into an elevator with. I think the inclusion of a bottle of vodka was particularly astute. Oh, I do wish you had a blog link, as I'm sure it would be very amusing.

    I no longer remember what a cherry nougat is. I assume it was something chewy, obscenely sweet and mottled red and pink.