Day 248-255: Overwhelmed
I have been and expect to continue working extremely long hours for the next few weeks. Some serious problems have come up at my job that require me to resolve, over and above my normal responsibilities. It's the nature of my position to take the heat or the fall when something goes wrong. I expect to be successful resolving the problems, but that success comes at the price of my personal time and sleep. Please be with me in my pocket dear friends sending energy and patience.
Also, and I probably should have led with this, my step father is having heart bypass surgery. My mother sent a text informing me. I was already in rough shape when I got the message. I was triggered on Thursday from going to the medical supply store and struggling again to get the catheter supplies. I went a week ago and they didn't have them in, although they had told me last week on Monday they would have the order ready by Wednesday. They assured me they would have the supplies ready this Wednesday. So, I went on Thursday and, unsurprisingly, they still didn't have everything. The problem is that I need each item. I can't perform the catheterization if something is missing.
I stood at their counter for 20 minutes becoming increasingly agitated. I felt the anxiety and panic rising up inside me, so I texted AF. She responded right away and kept talking to me. She was irritated with them, which helped me feel accepting of my own irritation. I stood there texting with her for another 10 or 15 minutes. I was just about to walk out and give up entirely on this idea when the clerk brought out everything except one item. She explained there were other places I could get a similar item that would be an adequate substitute. I verified with AF (and later I let my ObGyn know about it). I purchased the items and went back to work. I sat at my desk for 30 minutes to pull myself out of the dissociation and panic I was feeling. I was able to push the emotions down into myself and finish my work day.
I paid a price for it though through physical symptoms. I have been knotted up with back pain and abdominal pain ever since. Yesterday it was really affecting me. I wasn't able to keep track of my schedule. I ended up forgetting I had a critically important meeting. They messaged me and waited for me for 45 minutes. It was the president of my organization and one of the other executives. They were completely understanding. Nothing like that has happened with me before. So, to them it was an anomaly. They didn't know it was part of my sliding into a pit. Additionally, I was a bit rough with people, not thinking before speaking. And I wasn't attentive to anything around me, so much so I didn't hear my phone notifications when I received text messages.
AF messaged me several times. It's odd because I had my phone with me. Normally I respond right away to messages. After an hour she messaged again both my personal and my work phones asking if I was OK. In between tasks I glanced at my work phone and noticed this question from her, but I had no idea why she was asking if I was OK. I wasn't aware of having missed messages from her on my personal phone. I called her to find out what she was concerned about. She told me she was trying to get ahold of me. I was still quite dissociated and it was really hard for me to hear her or connect with her. I had other people nearby waiting for me as well. I let her know I was OK and we would talk later.
We had time scheduled to work later in the day. I figured I would let her know then that I was alright, just experiencing stress at work. I got through my morning and managed to get everything done that needed to be done. AF and I met at my house to work as it was the best choice logistically with our schedules. When she was getting her things settled I was getting myself ready to work. I expected to get right to it. We had little time and much to accomplish. But she wanted to know how I was and what was up. I gave some weak responses and couldn't even look at her. She sat down and asked me to sit down with her. She knew I needed to be held. I knew it too. I was hesitant, however, because we didn't have time. She said I would be more effective if I got the feelings out of my system. I knew she was right. When I am like this I make mistakes and I have trouble concentrating. The work goes slowly and it's fairly unpleasant to boot. I tend to get angry and frustrated with myself because of the mistakes I make.
I sat down next to her and she wrapped me in her arms. I tried to form words but couldn't explain myself. I think I said I was still dealing with the trigger from going to the medical supply store. I laid my head on her shoulder and held on to her tightly. I knew the emotions were in there and needing released. The tears eventually came and my understanding of them followed. I felt guilty for my problems side tracking us so often. I told her I felt I am failing her because this keeps happening. She assured me I wasn't failing her; she didn't feel that way. This guilt was layered over another feeling . . . loss. I didn't want to say out loud what came up next. I cried for a good while. She just held me and told me to let it out. Finally I told her I couldn't understand how I survived without this, without love and affection. I said I felt so much pain. "It hurt so much!" I said between sobs, referring to the abandonment and neglect as well as the abuse. I thought about my children and how much I love showing my love for them. I loved holding and nurturing them as infants and children. I love being playful and affectionate with them. And today I still love spending time with them, listening to them. Everything they do matters to me.
I thought about what it would do to them if they never had that love. I thought about how it would hurt them beyond words and how horrible I would feel if it were them. And then I felt that pain for myself, for Little Intrepid. (I'm feeling it right now again writing this - it hurts so much!). I told AF what I was thinking and I cried deeply. I mourned the loss. I wanted to stay in her arms and cry until every tear was released. But I started to feel better after a bit. I knew there was more inside me but I also knew I had let enough out that I would be able to work.
We finally got to work and made good progress. We weren't able to finish everything that needed to be done, so we scheduled another time. She had a trip this weekend and will work with me on Sunday night. Our work is due on Monday morning. I feel bad about this. She had to cancel plans on Sunday night in order to work with me. But, I need to remember she sets her boundaries. I don't set them for her. I shouldn't feel guilty. I know she wouldn't want me to.
Anyway, I explain all of that to indicate my state when I got the text message. I was going to bed early, feeling worn out from the tumult and the tears. I was getting ready for bed when I noticed it (my mom's message about my step-father). I wanted to message back, "I hope the bastard dies on the operating table!" I heard those words scream in my head. But then I felt guilty. I wouldn't wish anyone dead. I wouldn't wish harm on anyone. It doesn't align with my values. But I felt compelled to respond. I thought, "A good daughter responds with something caring and compassionate." I didn't feel caring or compassionate. If I responded that way I would be lying. And, that lie felt like it would be perpetuation of the lie that they didn't get to me. The lie that what happened wasn't a big deal. The lie that it didn't matter. I couldn't respond and I felt sick at myself. I messaged AF and she replied that she didn't think I should respond. They didn't deserve my compassion.
I went to sleep with a raging head ache, which I still have. I cried for a long time before I was able to fall asleep. Today my muscles are knotted up; and in places they feel like they're on fire. It feels like a hammer is being pounded inside my skull. I called another friend and she suggested I respond to my mom with, "Thanks for letting me know." I liked that idea and took her advice. It helped me take action, which relieves some of the pressure I feel inside. And it was a neutral response that didn't feel like it was adding another lie on top of a lifetime of lies.
I'm overwhelmed and exhausted. I have much to do this weekend. But, I'm going to take it easy until this evening.
I am currently on a T holiday at my T suggestion. I'm considering terminating T because I have developed good coping skills and resources. I won't make that decision until after this rough patch is over.
I don't know how much I'll be on Pandy's. I miss everyone and think of you often. I feel you in my pocket encouraging and supporting me.