I’ve now completely had it.
Last night I had anxiety so bad that I really didn’t sleep. Maybe I slept half an hour here and there, but then I just woke up again. The first time it was the cat’s fault, who isn’t even supposed to be in the room – let alone on the bed or on me – but I had left the door open because of the situation from the night before with the atomic farts rising up from the dog from his post under the bed and the related trips to the bathroom he had to get up to take, and I had to open the door to facilitate. So anyway, I slept like shit, and at one point I thought I might puke but instead laid on my arms until they fell asleep (although no other part of me did), and it took every ounce of strength and willpower to get my thoughts to switch to something positive and calm the fuck down and stop freaking out…and then the anxiety would come around again and good god, it was awful.
I have an entire Blackberry filled with self-portraits of me and the dog. It's at a point where he sees the thing and starts ducking out of the way.
And the thing of it is, generally speaking I’m not an anxiety person. I’m pretty sure the only other anxiety attack I’ve ever had was the morning I flew to Iceland on the start of the three-month trip covered in this blog. That was caused by the mass fear of leaving my job in order to travel alone and was I making a colossal mistake and what would become of me and all that.
Now it’s more like dozens of little things have gone wrong or awry or are unclear or unknown or simply out of my hands. I think it’s more like nothing is going right, except – as far as I know – my health. So I’ve got my health. And a head full of my own teeth. And rounding out the trifecta, the love and support of some wonderful friends.
Otherwise? I am a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown or maybe in the middle of one. How does one know? Does playing The Sims 3 for ten hours a day four days in a row and finding it more enjoyable than your own life count as a symptom? If so, point me toward the nearest padded room and inject me with something nice and sleepy.
Sleep doesn’t usually elude me, and last night as I lay there tired, but unable to sleep, I found myself wondering: if life is so short, why is the night so freaking long???
But d is life really so short? Or does it just feel that way when you’re working at a job you hate or on vacation or actually asleep? And yet sometimes it is terribly short: cut off early and unexpectedly and while things were just looking up.
Enter a thought experiment I’m calling Project Brain Tumor. It goes a little something like this: my birthday is just three days after my friend who passed away in January, and she was eight years older than me when she died. So what if I knew – unequivocally – that come October 13th I would have just seven years, three months, and ten days left to live? Or even just seven years (because let’s be real here, those last three months were totally hosed) left on the clock?
I'm also very fond of the "dog visible in back seat while driving" pose. I take several of them every time he's in the car. Sometimes he wedges his face between the door and the seat and pants, which is good comedy, if you ask me. Moreover, it's a real art to capture a moment where we're not only both in it, but both look good. Okay, fine: where I look good. The dog is a supermodel.
Would I be sitting around playing The Sims 3 all day while simultaneously kicking myself for my laziness?
Would I be so afraid to make some hard choices and tough decisions and execute the orders necessary to unshackle myself from my own self-imposed limitations?
Would I worry so goddamned much about money?
Would I try so hard to help (or, worse yet “fix”) people who are broken or miserable or just plain unhappy or would I step back and realize it’s their life’s work to fix their own shit, and it’s okay if they resent me for that hard truth?
Would I do a better job at facing my own shit?
And would I start now?
I guess we’ll find out, because Project Brain Tumor is the filter through which I’m going to run everything for the next few months. Life is both incredibly short and painfully long. Sometimes it is literally so hard that we have to wonder what the goddamned point is and if it’s worth it to keep on trucking, and other times it’s so spectacularly wonderful we can’t imagine how we could have ever had the other thoughts.
Add to that, as Americans (and those of you who aren’t – as I know there are a number of you – will have to just let me know if the same rules apply) are part of a culture that works so hard trying to impress one another through money and looks and achievement and ‘success’ that most of us never even really learn how to stop and assess who we are and what matters to us. Most of us never get the chance to do that. Maybe there are glimpses of “Is this really my life?” or “Why am I doing this?” or “I’m HOW old next month?” but then the mortgage or the kids or the car payment come tromping along and add the reason – or what passes as reason anymore – for the ignoring of one’s real bliss or calling or truth and on it goes.
My friend has these Louise Hay cards in her bathroom, and I always randomly pick one from the stack whenever I’m there. Yesterday’s said something like “I answer only to me: The only critic in the whole world you have to answer to is the one looking at you in the mirror.” And it’s so true. It’s easy to forget it’s true, but it’s still jarringly true when you read it. As long as things aren’t straight between you and you, nothing else will ever be right.
So in the spirit of honesty, I don’t entirely know what I should be doing right now, and I am about as far from having a plan as a person could be, but I know a few things I shouldn’t be doing. So off to step away – far away – from this laptop for a few hours and see where my distress and discontent takes me: quite possibly to deal with the pile of mouse feces surrounding my stuff in the garage.
Nonetheless, as once brilliantly stated by M. Scott Peck, “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
I nuked a black widow spider – and probably several hundred thousand brain cells – off the face of the earth with a can of Raid Wasp and Hornet killer yesterday afternoon, and have felt like hell ever since. Not only did the stuff get all over my hands, but I pretty much stood in a fog of it for six? seven? minutes waiting for the widow to die. I tell you, she was one tough bitch: walked around on the ceiling for what seemed like forever (and this was with Raid literally rolling down the sheetrock like a waterfall I hosed her so much) and then did a very nice lowering of herself into the general vicinity of my face (which sent me running away screaming, even though I’d dressed myself like a bee keeper for the event.)
Anyway, the point if this is to say that a) almost immediately after dosing her with the Raid I felt horribly guilty for killing an innocent creature, even one that could take out my cat if he was stupid enough to try to play with it and b) maybe I got some kind of toxic poisoning that’s contributing to my brand new mental illness?
c) Maybe that’s just an excuse.