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Friday, January 27, 2012

Pick yourself up; dust yourself off...

It's Friday. I need it to be Friday. This has been a rough week. Without going into details, let me just say I'm very glad it's over.

When I have difficult weeks there are times when I feel overwhelmed to the point of being nonfunctional. Those are the moments when loneliness sets in and I wonder if anyone knows I'm alive, and I'm fairly certain that even if they do, it doesn't really matter. Then, of course, I launch into my normal logical thought progression:
1. People know Samantha is alive and they care about her.
2. People have lives of their own and those must always take precedence over what is happening in Sam's life.
3. It doesn't really matter how Samantha would deal with or lend support to people she loves, because she's weird and it's important to acknowledge the sane approach which is normal and appropriate.
4. Ultimately, Samantha is responsible for what is happening to her and how she responds to it.
5. It's ridiculous to feel lonely because no one can change what is currently happening anyway.
6. Therapist has suggested I ask people for support or just a listening ear when I go through this type of episode. I feel worse (more insecure, guilt, shame, weakness) after I do that, therefore I am disregarding Therapist's erudite counsel.
7. If Samantha waits long enough this will all go away in some fashion, so there's no reason to take up anyone else's time by talking about it--the end result of which will be that Sam will cry while someone else is listening and that's never a delight.
8. Vitamin D helps.
9. Sunshine helps.
10. When Samantha feels able, she will eat, and food will help a little, too.

I talked with Therapist about a phone consultation. Probably that will happen in the next few weeks because I refuse to travel right now. I was stranded three times last year, resulting in loss of work, a great deal of stress, and unforeseen expense. I can't deal with that right now.

In the past few months I have tried to put some safety barriers in place so that I could stave off or manage PTSD symptoms as they cropped up or in situations that might potentially trigger them. Being alone is one of those potentially triggering situations; so is being in a crowd. So these are the safeties I've attempted:
1. If I am alone more than two hours, I need to call someone on the phone. The call need not last long and will help me balance reality with any extremity I begin feeling.
2. I am to seek sunlight whenever possible. Because I work in a garden level basement, this is important.
3. I am to plan meals and eat away from the computer to help me remember that mealtime is pleasant and an essential break from work.
4. When I begin to feel isolated and forgotten, I am to find someone to talk with online, on the phone, or in person. Should that not be possible, I am to look at previous chats, emails, or other saved correspondence and remember I'm not invisible.

There were more but I'm not listing them because I only got as far as number one. It was difficult enough that I didn't even attempt the others. But I can't even do that anymore. I'm too tired. I understand that I'm the one who has stewardship over me--no one else--but sometimes it seems that this is the way it's been since I was born and I'm tired. I'm embarrassed to admit that there are moments now when I wish I was accountable to someone; I feel the need to tell someone about my day, my stress, my needs, my joys, my fears...

Maybe I never really grew up.

The point is moot, though. I remember as a child, trying to tell my parents something I thought was very important. It wasn't. We were taking a walk and I was just noticing that if you open a snapdragon and brush your finger along the center, yellow powder clings to your finger. But they were talking with my older sister and when they finally noticed I'd been talking, they realized I'd picked flowers from someone's garden and I was in disgrace.

I've never forgotten that moment. It crops up again and again. I have something to say that feels profoundly important but I have to vie for attention, try repeatedly to make my voice heard, and in the end I realize what I had to say was overshadowed by something I should or should not have done and I wish I had said nothing. And now I'm too tired to find an audience anyway. Even if I found an empathetic ear, I don't believe I have the stamina to say anything--and I definitely don't have the strength to listen to all the things I'm doing wrong right now. I am doing the best I can, given the situation in which I find myself.

I feel like a coward. Some of my Facebook friends, however, have been circulating a Monson quote today. I believe, for once, I will buy into it: "Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow.'"

And I will.

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