Did you know that changing jobs is one of the most stressful things you can do?
Did you know that handling externally imposed stress is not one of the life skills at which I excel?
My old boss called me today at 6:45 p.m. and when I picked up the phone she said by way of greeting, “So how’s that work-life balance deal working out for you?” And the thing is, hearing her voice made me miss her terribly. I dawdled answering her questions, trying to keep her on the line. I made her say she missed me.
That is not our normal mode of interaction.
I saw the IO for he first time since I moved into his office building today, and it was strange and awkward and unenjoyable. Now you don’t want to hang out with me, now that you’re the only friend I have for miles and miles? Of course.
Messaged briefly with the Office Crush:
OC: “Things aren’t the same around here without you (crying emoticon ) (and I actually think crying men are really hot, situationally)
ME: “Ha ha etc…Well, don’t forget about our happy hour”
They both hurt my feelings, which means my feelings need to go back into hiding for a while. I cannot have them getting messed up right now. I am always screwed on the risk/reward ratios; how could I have forgotten that? Nothing ventured, nothing ripped up and tossed back at you haphazardly, full of holes.
Ever since I had that terrible, awful, bolt-from-the-blue onslaught of depression this summer, I worry about it constantly. Every little mood alteration terrifies me — was that it? Normal stress or end times? Am I legitimately tired and cranky from life or because my brain is out to get me yet again?
I have been trying and trying– yet again — to keep things moving. I have been ferociously (for me) social. I make myself get up and walk around outside during the day. I signed up to do three shows and take a month of classes. I’m fixing up my house: throwing away furniture and negotiating new floors. I got contacts, finally, and bought sexy new glasses to boot. I have been flirting like crazy.
Saturday, I had a panic attack, out in the spring sunshine surrounded by happy Washingtonians on patios. I was listening to my sister and her friend chatter brightly about the boys they are dating. Suddenly I knew I had to get out of there, and I bolted, forgetting that I was their ride. It was embarrassing and infuriating, and it knocked me out for the rest of the afternoon. But then I went out that evening and met a friend and acted (I believe) normal and sociable. Monday on the phone with my mom, I started laughing too hard, hysterically, recounting something that wasn’t funny at all, and laughing like that made me me begin to cry for real, like…well, like some kind of crazy person.
These are the top three things I fear for myself: That I’ll never fall in love. That I’ll never have a kid. That my brain chemistry is going to unravel me down to a pile of dirty string at some point.
My sister says that once you have lived through a time of big emotions, you wear a groove in your psyche that stands dangerously empty. So the next time you get stressed out — a new job! some minor boy trouble! a bout of intractable insomnia! — instead of having your extra feelings splash safely out of your brain pan, they find their way back to the groove and get all stagnant and moldy and stanky. To combat this phenomena, you have to burn those feelings out out out all the time. She does this by staying in motion, ceaselessly.
I used to sit down in the outfield during kiddie softball games and make letters out of grass, then turn those green letters into words because I missed my book. That’s one of the most encapsulating anecdotes there is about me.
I’m not saying anything terrible is happening. No one is worried yet. I’m just saying I’m not very happy and extremely hypervigilant about it. I’m saying my feelings are getting hurt by things that should breeze on by me, and I’m snapping at people who don’t deserve it (and, in all fairness, a couple of jackholes who do) and I don’t like that.
I’m saying I can tell by my new boss’ reactions that my face is betraying me; it takes a lot of effort for me to keep whatever I’m feeling from being written right across it, bold as paint, and I lose control when I’m overwhelmed. I’m an open book, for better or worse. (Exhibit A is in your eyeholes right now.)
I’m saying that Saturday’s panic attack — the first since last summer — felt like a big step in the wrong direction.
Occam’s razor says when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras. The simplest explanation is always the most plausible. I just got a new job! I can’t get no satisfaction from men! The polar ice caps are melting at an astonishing rate, and my family honestly believes this is due to perfectly natural temperature variances! Who wouldn’t be a little blue, in that situation?
The truth is, though, I’ve been to Africa. Those herds of zebras are something you never forget.