Mating, Dating, Relating, Medicating

Mar 13

When you hear hoofbeats

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”

OC: <crickets>.

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.

12 Responses to “When you hear hoofbeats”

  1. MJ says:

    I am really excited by all the posts again. Maybe not bootie action excited, but hey! small victories! Throw me a Ten (I’d take five) Thing Thursday though and I might be convinced.

    It does not really matter what I think, I know ,but it sounds to me like you are doing an excellent job of concretely working to ensure your mental well-being! Pat yourself on the back, girl, for being so kick-ass a little more often.

    Also, I’ve realized we have completely and total opposite taste in men. I think this means that together we really could conquer the world.

  2. Swistle says:

    This is memorably put.

  3. Melospiza says:

    “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.”

    This is so wonderfully weird and also like a metaphor for so much of what I do in life. Except instead of kiddie softball games it’s my damn job. Or yet another sporting event at which I am compelled by a sense of maternal duty to sit on the sidelines and cheer. While in my head I am twisting everything into letters because I miss the book I am reading or writing.

  4. Melospiza says:

    Also, I am sending you good vibes for the staving off of the blackness.

  5. Ciara says:

    Thanks, guys. I appreciate you.

  6. Strawberrymaj says:

    Something must be in the DC water– it’s been a blue season for me too.

    Hugs your way, lady. While we’ve only met once, (you better be putting that camera book to good use, damnit!) you come across as such a vibrant and powerful force. Good vibes your way–I have faith that things will be on the upswing for you soon.

  7. Kristin H says:

    I’m so glad you’re fighting it, if there is indeed anything to fight. Do not go gentle, etc. etc. Hopefully it’s just the new job, and remember that every day, you are one day closer to having friends there and not being the new girl. And if the intuitive was right, then every day you are also one day closer to meeting the person you’re going to end up with.

  8. Lindsay says:

    Do you have a good wingman? This might help in the man love department. I have a married friend who will literally talk to ANYONE. I love going out with her because she forces me to socialize and make an effort to engage others which left alone I do not do at all.

    I really truly think there’s been some wacky planetary trends that have jacked up the last 2 years or so because I am so in the same boat. Panic, bolting, being terrified I’m on the border of Crazytown… It’s like you need some GLIMPSE of something to believe in, right?

    I dunno, I’m seeing an energy healer on 4/1 and I’m going to ask her about all of this.

    And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new posts. It was like getting a card in the mail (actually 2 cards) from a good friend and being super excited to read it when I saw your new posts. YAY!

  9. rooth says:

    So you’re definitely right about the new job thing. I reacted to things very oddly and was highly sensitive to people’s reactions / comments to me, whereas usually I’m a dense shell. I was sure that things wouldn’t get better, no one would like me and I would hate it. I was also sure that my social life would be zero (it still kind of is but that’s my fault). Well, I’ve been here almost two months now so not so new and it has gotten better. So don’t you worry. Things will get better.

  10. Olives! says:

    I love your writing so, so much. That is all.

  11. El Dani says:

    There must be something in DC’s tap water…

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