Monday, May 26, 2008

Fighting denial

This week started unremarkably but with an ending I couldn't have predicted.

The cloud of denial is a foggy one. You can spend a year, a decade, all your life in one and only find your way out when you see the clear, blue sky. If you find your way out at all.

I've always be the one who got picked on. It's a detail I'd like to forget but someone keeps reminding me that I've got a heart like a vacuum. Not only do I allow each and every person into it but darned if the sucker forgives and forgets again and again.

It's the "again and again" that nailed me this time.

"Abuse" is a strong word. It's a nasty word. But there's no mystery why "abuse" and "denial" are often so closely linked. "Verbal abuse" crosses an even thinner, grayer line.

My year has been tainted subliminally with depression, migraines, lack of motivation to do enjoying activities (training, horseback riding) and sheer exhaustion. And trying to tell myself that it's all going to be alright and soon it will stop. Or that it wasn't meant the way that I heard it. Or questioning whether I heard it at all. Or just letting it blow right over.

It was relief with the torch was passed, however briefly, to another who was weaker and more susceptible than I was. I became cowardly and relieved at the same time. But I knew it would be brief. I knew as soon as the weaker animal was driven off, it would be back to me again.

I hoped, really hoped, it wouldn't be this way. But even I could face that I was in denial about that. Because I was wrong. And I was right. The metronome reverted like a magnet attracted to its polar opposite and there I was in the spotlight once more and life became more like it's supposed to be.

But, surrounded in surrealism and coughed up like vomit, came the product almost 365 days in the making. I barely remember what I said but I remember how I felt when I said what I said.

One second I was walking to my locker to get my things and the next second I was outside. One hand holding my supervisor's and one hiding the right half of my face so no one could see what the color of pent-up misery looks like.

I would think, that having my heart laid bare so many times, the word "abuse" would just roll off my tongue. But it doesn't. It doesn't even get thought about or acknowledged as a possibility. Even when everything I read (or skim over, because surely it doesn't pertain to me) and feel and battle like an oncoming storm. Even when I know, with my help, that someone can change. Even when I can't explain why I want to curl into a ball and sleep forever or why I feel like something unfathomable is pacing back and forth, back and forth just awaiting regurgitation.

Even when I feel an unspeakable relief when everything is out in the open and I am nothing but a sweaty, shaky, sobbing person holding my boss' hand - the word abuse is still hard to say.

And it's still hard to say "I'm right" and so easy to say "I'm wrong." I feel very vulnerable. It would be easy to believe that I can't take a joke or I'm too sensitive.

That is, if there weren't so many arms around my shoulders, kisses on my cheeks, warms hands on my back and hugs that hold on, take my weight, let me just hang and bury my face on a chest. So many questions about how I'm feeling or requests of how my day is going. And when the tears come out like aftershocks, how fingers wipe them away and tell me it will all be alright.

It's those things that make me see the downhill or the light at the end of the tunnel or whatever euphemism is used to describe these things. All I know is it's there.

And for the moment I can see the payoff of my open-door heart.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Social cringing

It can be something that happened five years ago or five hours ago but it makes my stomach knot and my hands start to shake, these things that make me cringe.

Largely, they're self-induced. You know, thinking you're the epitome of "witty" but, in fact, you're "not funny in the slightest." Or when you really didn't mean for that thought to become public knowledge?

This plagues me. These little verbal burps happen at least once a day but probably more. And what about the ones that I don't even realize happened?

First of all, there's the blushing. It's a side effect of knowing (or being fearful of) digging a hole and then renting a backhoe and digging a enormous hole. Then, as I continue to try to dig my way out, the hole has gophers and worms and other hole-y creatures move in and live their entire lives in the Sinkhole of My Embarrassment.

Anyway, my face becomes the color of the American flag minus the white and blue. I can actually feel my temperature rising by five degrees.

Then the fidgeting will start. Nothing is safe from my fingers. Zippers on my pants or shirt (except for my fly - even at my most fidgetiest I know that's one zipper to steer clear of), anything that peeps, knocks, bangs, snaps or otherwise makes noise is fair game. If, in the rare occasion that I catch myself mid-fidget, a second will pass and then my feet will begin to bounce. Or tap or move side-to-side in a 1920s sort of dance motion.

Why, oh why can't I just talk to someone without my stomach flopping around like a dying trout? Why can't I say what I mean instead of the Idiot Police come and take over my brain? Why are some people's conversations coquettish and flirty while mine sound like I should be on American Gladiators?

Then - THEN I relive these fine moments over and over and over again trying to judge, rejudge and rethink the victim of my verbal onslaught's reaction(s). Cringe.

Have I really lived my life as my own dog for so long that the longer I live the more socially inept I become? I work overnight with the same six people, whom I think know me pretty well and they still can't believe the things that spew forth.

Maybe that's the problem. I work overnight, I don't socialize. Everytime I try to socialize, no one wants to play with me. I'm like the weird kid who eats the sand in the sandbox. Or the one that the other kids' mothers forced a birthday party invitation on. Then I would show up with a fresh pack of underwear as a present.

I want to be the one whose invitations get accepted. Who gets told "yes" at the merest hint that I want to hang out. No embarrassment and no long-term effects.

Monday, May 12, 2008

If I have to withdraw from something, why can't it be from something fun?

I've never been an addict. (Well, there was the caffeine but that's pretty much overwith.)

But I'm discovering that someone can be addicted without having a choice in the matter.

I have epilepsy. (No shit, right?) Because I'm on oodles of expensive drugs (I'm not kidding. By the time I die I will probably have been able to tour the world driving my very own Porsche), it's my deepest wish to be on less of them.

So, here we go. Lower dose (but not the lowest I will go, which can only mean more fun awaits) - side effects that are currently making me psychotic:

DIZZINESS: And I'm not talking about the dumb blonde ones, even though my hair is currently red and bright pink. Sounds frightfully clashy but actually works well. Anyway, remember when you were a kid and you used to twirl around and around until you fell on the ground because that, for some reason, was really fun? It's not fun anymore. And you don't get any forewarning - it just sweeps through my body like a twirly, seasick tornado. Probably worst of all is I'm trying to hide this at work because (a) no one would understand (b) no one would care. For example, after I had a seizure at work a number of months ago, one of coworkers recently told me he thought I was just trying to get out of work. Do the math.

NAUSEA: This goes hand in hand with the "weight loss" side effect also warned about. Today I've managed to eat a bowl of cereal and, following that, a sh*tload of Tums. A word about Tums - if you have to take these things, go with the variety pack. You can choose which flavor you like or, if you're an adventurer, just turn the bottle upside down and let sponteneity run its course. Do not choose the all cherry or all pork flavor (or whatever all they're offering these days). You will be bored causing a cessation in Tums and continuation of uncomfortable, barfy stomach. Gas-X are also tasty. . .

FLATULENCE: You can skip this part if you are of weak constitution or consider the discussions of farts to be in excessively poor taste. These are nothing to laugh about. They are deadly. Not just your average pressure relievers, these crop dusters will take out your co-workers (sometimes that's what you want but still) and make your dog run for cover. They are silent, as the bad ones usually are. Of all of the side effects, I hope this one goes away soonest. Not for anyone else's sake but for my own. Let's be honest. Usually farts of your own doing are tolerable and, some say, enjoyable. These are so bad that I sprint for the bathroom every time I'm clinching and praying it won't leak out into the open in a black, funky cloud. At home I just hope the sofa absorbs (who hasn't had one like this?).

FATIGUE: You could sleep more than your grandpa in an easy chair and

INSANE, FREAKING WEIRD DREAMS (not the way this is listed, medically speaking): The inspiration that makes LSD seem like not such a scary option for first-timers. I don't remember exactly what they were when I wake up but I know that I'm still in a shaky, sweaty haze even as I'm on my way to work. I know, in no particular order, that some of the content included a shopping mall with no way out (truly hell for me), being caught as a cartoon figure in an out-of-control cartoon car, exploding stars while floating through space and permanent darkness in the house I grew up in. These dreams would not be complete without NIGHT SWEATS (not pants, actually drenching myself and bedding in sweat resulting in many sheet changes. No pee. Just sweat.)

Now, I'm on the fourth day of this crap. Here's some further side effect fun that are listed as distinct possibilities:

- intense insomnia
- extreme confusion during waking hours
- intense fear of losing your sanity
-steady feeling of existing outside of reality as you know it (this is my favorite.
Although I think I could deal with a little unreality sometimes.)
-memory and concentration problems
- Panic Attacks (even if you never had one before) (Oh, I've had
- severe mood swings, esp. heightened irritability / anger
(I think this one's waiting in the wings)

- suicidal thoughts (in extreme cases).
- the feeling of shocks, similar to mild electric one, running the length of your body
- an unsteady gait
- slurred speech
- headaches (Yeah. Big change. A better symptom would be no headaches. I'd withdraw all the time if that were true.)
- profuse sweating, esp. at night
- muscle cramps
- blurred vision (Can this get worse from the blurred I already have without my contact lenses?)
- breaking out in tears.- hypersensitivity to motion, sounds, smells.
- decreased appetite
- nausea
- abdominal cramping, diarrhea
- loss of appetite
- chills/ hot flashes

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tapping Out

Well, this is a bit of a challenge, isn't it?

Nine fingers. It's the Little Piggy Who Weeweewee's All the Way Home. On the left side. Efficient knife skills - NOT.

I tried to cut butter from what has to be the largest cube of butter ever. I mean, if there's such a thing as a butter sculptor, this would be heaven. It somehow almost makes me think perverted things but I'm not sure exactly what.

This really highlights the fact that I am totally, completely left handed and utterly useless as a righty. Already a world-class klutz, I am sprinting into Olympic quality gawkiness and/or dropping of items. Or I try to use the four fingers on the left side of my hand to my advantage. They miss their pinky friend.

My work shoes had diarreah. (That is really not how to spell that.) I'm not sure how they got it but when I wiped the soles off, this green ick trapped in flour came off. I fed them a Tums and hopefully they will be better tomorrow. Otherwise, they're going to have to take a sick day and I will be forced to wear the ones where the insole is paperlike in its thickness, needing a new one like the morning needs sunshine.

Third day of dragon touch-up, still no digital camera since mine took a dump. I tapped out after three hours instead of the scheduled four. Turns out you really must eat something at least within 36 hours before getting one of these things. I started to bonk only about one hour into it. But did I tell Michael anything? No. That would be wimpy. I was just shaking so badly that I nearly took him out at the knees when I tripped over the chair I was trying to get out of.

That would be bad. Not only incredibly rude but it would put off my tattoo for quite awhile. ( just kidding)

But then he hit the pinched nerve. I really thought I could stick it out. I mean, I just finished Ironman Arizona when 20 percent out of the field dropped out because of the wind and heat!! Certainly I could make it through one more hour.

When the color and light started swirling around and I started to sweat pretty much like the finish of the aforementioned Ironman, I decided to call it. I could swear the color drained from my face so fast that I got the Bends.

It would really have been a bummer to take Michael down at the knees while passing out at the same time.