The Diary of a Nervous Breakdown - Part Two

Part One is here.

I did not want to go back. I didn't want more triggers. I couldn't handle more triggers. I could not. But, I had an appointment scheduled. It's just one more week. I can survive this, I told myself.

I woke up the next morning, shaking with fear. No more triggers. Please.

I found a rock, per the counselor's suggestion. It's not so much a rock as a worn brick, found on the shores of Northerly Island last summer. It was sufficiently textured to soothe me. I rubbed it so much I thought I would over-exfoliate my fingers. I psyched myself up for work. My friends on Facebook saw my statii (or is it statuses?), and encouraged me. One suggested I do a brain game to keep me out of my head. Sudoku. Sure, I can do that. I played Sudoku on my phone on the bus to work. Tears kept trying leak out. I tried to talk them away. Tears, what tears? Oh, those tears that make it hard to see the game. Focus. Focus on the numbers, I said.

I played more Sudoku on my computer. I kept busy. I ran stats. I scheduled meetings. But more triggers. My memories told me I was a disappointment. I'm a failure. My fingers tingled after rubbing the stone nearly constantly. The ground under my feet. I think the carpet used to be red. Tears kept leaking out. If it falls down my cheek, I'll lose it. Thank God, it evaporated.

Present a good face, hide the fear inside. Damn. Another trigger. I was standing on the threshold of a breakdown. Or had I really recovered at all from my breakdown yesterday? I had recovered enough to put on a good face, at least.  Always present a good face. Bottle up those emotions. Just as I did as a kid.

I survived the day, encouraged along by friends who distracted me, who helped me keep me out of my head. I went home. My husband was working, so I was all alone for most of the evening. I fed the hungry cats, but I was not hungry at all. No. Well, maybe I should eat something. But I don't want to cook. I'm not hungry.

I killed time on Facebook. My friends and relatives kept writing supportive messages. Like a sudden thundercloud, pain and fear surged, and I cried. I am not deserving, I don't deserve this, I just need to get over myself, I can't do this. The emotions faded away, leaving my limbs saturated with gravity.

Maybe I should eat, I thought as I finally eased up out of my chair and went to the kitchen. Hashbrowns are easy. Where is the oil? And why the hell was I getting irritated because I can't find the oil? There it is. I heated it up, and put grated potatoes in. The hot oil freaking overflowed. I freaking can't handle this. I turned the temperature down, and waited for it to brown. And waited. And waited.

Great. I'm going to be up late. Why the hell isn't it browning? The apartment smells like burned oil. I hope the building alarm doesn't go off. Good, it's browning. So. Slowly. But what's wrong with it? Normally I don't have problems. What's wrong with me? I can't cook. I started crying again. Okay. I'm not hungry, so I'll just call this a waste. I lifted the soggy browns out of the pan and set it aside to cool.

I showered. My husband came home, and hugged me. I took my pills, and laid down while he and I talked. His new job was going well--he made good commission. How was I doing? I don't want to go back. I don't want more triggers. I can't go back.

"You have to," he said.

I cried, I don't want to. I can't stand any more triggers. I can't do it. But I was stuck. Stuck. I need to work. They need me. My husband needs me. I need that paycheck. And without health insurance we're sunk. I need to suck it up.

"I wish I could do medical leave" I said, like my friends suggested. "But you're in no real position to do that. At least not yet," Jeff said.

I need to recover. I need to. I know it. But I can't stop working. Or we'll end up on the streets, as Jeff said. I cried even harder. My heart hurt. I don't frigging want to be homeless. What about the cats? I can't be on the street. I pleaded with him. I need to quit. I'm not doing my job any good. I can't do it. I need to quit. I can't do it. but I'm stuck.

My lips barely formed the words. "I can't do it. I can't do it."

"What?" Jeff asked.

Part Three

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