Old Tapes, or, Emotional synapses misfiring

You'd think those old tapes would have fallen apart by now for how often they've been played in my head. That's why we switched to DVDs now. And entirely digital media. What will future generations say? "Old iPod playlist is stuck on repeat."

I was doing well at work, both yesterday and today. I wasn't on top of the world, but I was alert, attentive, and managed my tasks well. I was starting to feel more positive. "Yeah...I can actually do things now." A far cry from "I can't do it, I can't do it, I can't do it" during my major breakdown.

Then, today, I nearly forgot to lock up a room after a meeting was done in there. My boss gently reminded me, saying that our higher-up boss would be angry if the rooms were found to be unlocked. There's some expensive equipment in there, so that's a perfectly reasonable worry. And a perfectly reasonable reminder.

Yet, something about it clicked in my head. Not a good click. More like an "uh oh," click. A trigger "click." I could feel the tears getting ready to form in my sinuses, ready to start flowing should I get triggered further. That trigger happens to be repetitive talking. (Have I talked about this before? I apologize...). You know, the kind where people repeat themselves saying the same thing in many different ways even though you got it on the first time around, and most definitely on the second time around. My dad did that. It causes fear.

But I was more prepared. Not entirely prepared, but you know, good enough to last me until my first therapy appointment. I hope. I told myself that this was a PTSD reaction, and that it was a perfectly reasonable reminder at work. I wasn't going to be punished for this minor mistake.

Thank God it was nearly time to clock off. I distracted myself until then. There were some tiny tasks that needed completing, so I did those. At the bus stop, I picked up a RedEye to learn more about the cursed helicopters in the Loop. (seriously, thanks for freaking me out. And seriously, I do think they're training for NATO. Call me a skeptic. Call me an old lady that's yelling "Get away from my balcony!")

I attempted to do sudoku on the bus home in pen. I'm getting good at it. I made a mistake, though, putting two 3s in the same row, so I put the paper aside. If you saw a partially finished puzzle, and it had a phone number on the top, don't call it. I missed a call from that number and looked it up on my phone to see it was some sort of PAC mass-dialing. Just so you know.

I couldn't get over this feeling of sadness. of dread. It was so strange. I kept trying different tactics to push my thoughts in a more positive direction, but instead, I ended up with a bit of a numb mind. I took half of an Ativan just in case it might help. I'm trying to conserve it for these relatively frequent occasions of anxiety-ish things.

Gardening. I watered my plants. The wind dries them out quickly, and it's been tricky keeping it moist enough for the seeds to grow. I wasn't winning against my thoughts, and worse, my body acted as if I was deep in depression. My limbs hurt. I felt like crying. I looked at Facebook hoping for a good distraction, but nothing worked.I wished I could be institutionalized. I just feel crazy. The tapes were playing.

So, I climbed into bed, and one of the kitties joined me. I wrapped myself tightly in the bedsheets, like those institutional enforced self-bear-hug wrapper thingies. I'm crap. I'm spoiled--I shouldn't feel this way. Oh God, am I narcissistic because I posted about feeling crappy on Facebook? I just was hoping for some encouragement. I needed help. And needing help made me narcissistic. I don't deserve anything. I'm a spoiled brat.  Shit. I messed that thing up at work. And that thing. I wasn't perfect, and so it was messed up. I didn't think to call the other office, and so my coworker did instead.

Tears leaked out, and trickled onto the pillow. I kept thinking I was hearing helicopter noises, and my anxiety meter jumped. Fuck those copters. Oh, it was just a loud car. Thank God. An ambulance siren wailed and faded. I wish I were in the ambulance. I need help. I want to climb down the balconies. I might slip and break a leg and be in the hospital. That'll give me time and space to heal. Maybe a car will run over me. The main doors were open. If we had a kid, the kid might unlock the screen doors and toddle out and fall down and die, never mind the fact that the railings are very tall. What if I fell down and died? I can't imagine the pain it would cause Jeff. No way am I going to do that. I'm not actually suicidal.

But if I had an external wound, then that would give me a reason to be feeling crappy. I have no reason to feel bad. I have a good job. My husband has a job now, and he loves it. I have three cats. And many amazing friends. I have no reason to feel bad. So maybe if I gave myself a reason. I thought of the sharp knives in the kitchen. The orange-handled Rachael Ray ones we got on clearance. Those are sharp. And clean. It wouldn't take much pressure to make a good cut. Then I can clean it up and bandage it, and the pain will keep my mind off my internal pain. Picking my skin seems to help. So why not this? Another knife that might work is that small paring knife. It has a sharp point. Easy enough to cut with. Skin? Probably. Crosswise, or lengthwise on the arm? I don't know.

Fuck, I have no energy to get up. I don't have energy to turn over and look at the kitchen. Maybe the leg. But I already feel bad about the picking wounds in my leg. I picked and picked at this one bump trying to get a non-existent ingrown hair out. And the bump next to it. And the one next to that. The three large red spots are still healing, a couple weeks later. I couldn't help but pick at the scabs, so it's taking a while. And now I'm working on my face. Need to keep my hands off. I hate pimples. I need to pop them. I need to. No I don't. See, I can't handle the grotesque aspects of self-injury. I'm too chicken. Explain that to work, why I carved into myself.

I cried. I'm thinking about self-injury. I'm awful. I need to get over myself. Good thing I'm too chicken. Maybe anorexia. Part of me wants to try. But I like food. I wrapped myself more tightly in the blankets, and let out a couple of sobs. Old tapes, of words said and unsaid, by my father and family. Tapes of unworthiness. The tapes finally reached its end. I then dozed, finally tired.

I woke up around the time Jeff came home from work, feeling a bit better. My appetite was starting to come back. He asked me how I felt, having seen my Facebook status. He stayed and talked a while. I told him about how my thoughts just spiraled down. Including the thoughts of self-injury. I should tell the therapist about that, he said. I agreed. Maybe I can tell her about my skin-picking, too.

I took the second half of an Ativan. Should have had a whole one, earlier, when I first realized that they were old tapes playing. Now I know. It was definitely anxiety. Thanks to PTSD /sarcasm/

I thought I should write this. Maybe it might help people. You're not alone. And if you think you need help, you need help. Get a counselor. That is one of the things that was keeping me sane besides the cats and my husband. I was able to focus on the counseling that's coming up on Saturday. I will get help then.

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