Except it doesn't feel like home.
Therapist and I talked a bit while I was away because I'd had time to think. I'd figured some things out. And also, I'd had my first opportunity in more than a year to de-stress. When I do that, I start to understand why I've been thinking craziness and acting stupid. It's a little disconcerting and a lot embarrassing.
I've spoken to people close to me. They assure me that they know, after spending lots of time with me, that this is how I work. And I should be grateful, but all I can think is, "But one day, I won't work like this anymore. That's the endgame. And when I don't, I'll be different. Then what?"
It's a problem. However, before I came home, I felt very calm about what might happen to me in regards to my relationships with other people. In fact, one of the things I said to Therapist was this: "I'm still afraid of people leaving, but not desperately so. People do leave. But sometimes it's good that they do that, for both of us. You have to choose, mutually, to have long-term relationships and allow for the misunderstandings while having the desire to continue building that relationship. Tolkien Boy calls it relentless forgiveness, but it's much more than that. But my point is, I don't feel aggravated or defensive or resentful right now about the possibility of someone deciding that they need someone different from me in their lives (Darrin excepted, of course. He doesn't get that choice.). This doesn't mean I'm not uncomfortable with the possibility, just less irrational about it."
Then I continued: "I actually don't believe the people in my life WILL leave. It's been awhile since I've been able to feel that. I'm finally able to feel what my brain is telling me when it says, 'Um, Sam, your kids call you all the time. This isn't because they feel guilty or obligated. You didn't raise them that way. It's because they miss you just like you miss them.' And, 'You're ridiculous. You have people who have been your friend for 10 years now. Do you understand that many people don't even have 10-year friends? They're not leaving because you've worked together to build something that will last.' Or, 'You've been married a long time. Stop making up scenarios in which Darrin will finally be free of you. He doesn't want to be free. He wants to be married. Start being married and stop worrying about things that aren't real.' Yeah, my brain is much smarter than the rest of me. But the point is, while I'm here, all that paranoid crap feels just like paranoid crap."
But the problem is that if I'm not able to find space and time to work through stress, I'll be right back in the place where the paranoid crap seems feasible and the most likely scenario for my life. And nothing anyone says or does will make a dent in my certainty that the paranoid crap is reality.
I don't want to go there again.
So this week I am working on buying a house and getting a job outside my home. Darrin and I are going to take some time to talk about boundaries we need to protect our independence and intimacy as a couple. And I am going to figure out how to enjoy being close with people once again instead of being crazy afraid of physical and emotional closeness. I'm going to do it.
There were so many nice things that happened while I was gone. Good, building things. I needed that. I had good conversations with a couple of people who have made a place for me in their lives for more than a decade. I made up new beautiful, creative, delicious recipes. I haven't done that for awhile. I spent time reading and writing. I haven't written anything other than emails and whiny blog posts for more than a year. I went out with people and had fun. I spent a day with my parents and worked with my dad in his office. I shoveled snow for hours. I watched the sun rise and set every day.
Today was my first day home. I won't lie. It was pretty awful. Lots of depression waiting to descend. Frustration. Uncertainty. But I'm going to be okay. More than okay. I'm going to figure this out. Tomorrow I will go running. I'll practice. I'll work a bit. I'll look and apply for jobs. And I appointments to see two homes. Right now I don't feel like being with anyone, but on Monday I'm going to see if Jeff will have lunch with me. I'm glad he decided not to die.
For now, though, I'm going to sleep.