When It Doesn't Let Go Of You
I've always relished having random weekdays off. I could run errands or see movies when most people are at work. Museums were less crowded, the neighborhood was quiet. It was always my favorite part about working in restaurants. I miss having a random Tuesday to be able to pop into a popular restaurant without a reservation.I had one of these days recently when I was asked to fill in on a Sunday in trade for a Thursday off. Naturally, I was stoked because my husband was working and I desperately needed to organize my side of the closet and dresser since moving in. I also wanted to spend the day writing...and unfortunately waiting for a cable guy who never came. WTF, Optimum?I've been going pretty nonstop since we've been officially moved in and back and I fucking love it. I've had energy, I've laughed more than I have in actual years. I'm myself and smiling and I wake up HAPPY. Actually happy. Not pretending to be okay because I knew I needed to be. I'm actually okay. Being busy again is helping.I've always thrived on schedules and full days. I loved that about college and I've written about it before. I know that was one of my struggles in a smaller city with a smaller pool of friends. I felt a bit more isolated and trapped. In the city, I no longer have that feeling.Or so I thought.I went through a dark time being fired and the past two months, I have returned to the light. I assumed I had let it go. On this day off, I got up, made the same breakfast I had made when I was unemployed (trigger), made coffee, and started to write. I am doing Camp NaNoWritMo and have committed to 20,000 words. I had skipped writing July 4th and wanted to catch up (trigger). I had gotten fired and never finished my November NaNoWritMo goal. I started to feel the anxiety grow. The coughing thing I do when I am anxious rose in my throat and I began to panic any more. I texted Lincoln and told him I felt this way. He suggested I breathe, put on music, and work on my writing or closet organization as he did when I experienced this back in Vermont (trigger).I wrote 2,000 words. I felt great about them. I kept my music going and tackled my closet. It didn't take very long and for that short time, I felt okay. But I knew once I was done that project, I had nothing plan for the day. Since I was waiting on the internet company to come, I couldn't really leave so I had that isolation and trapped sensation engulfing me (trigger).I kept trying to tell myself the day was going to be over and I was heading into the city to meet my friends for a coworkers show. That was an awesome thing I was really looking forward to and it was only a few hours until I would get there. But as much as I thought I had let it go, it hadn't let go of me.I worry I won't be able to ever be alone during a weekday without a set schedule and not spiral into extreme anxiety. I cried like I did during the seven months I had no job. I felt worthless, useless, alone even though I am fully employed. I was getting paid the next day, and I had plans that night for something extremely fun. Shouldn't I bask in the fact I can take this day for myself?What's wrong with the human brain? I am not saying MY brain because I know I am not alone in having these thoughts and feelings for no reason. All research I do on anxiety says you have to try and trick your brain to thinking it is safe and secure and that anxiety will pass and you are not dying. Well, my brain likes to trick me into thinking I am back to normal when really it is just lying in wait for me to have a relaxing day to myself to spring an attack and ruin it entirely. It did not make any sense for me to feel that way. I had no deadlines, no commitments aside from waiting for this repair person WHO NEVER CAME. I should have been happy to sit and watch Netflix and work on my novel and fucking day drink.But I wasn't.I left to meet my friends and husband and got stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel for 45 minutes due to an accident. Cue panic attack rising like a phoenix out of the ashes to break me into a cold sweat and text my husband saying I lived in the tunnel now and to move on without me.In a way, I am grateful it happened early on in my new residency in the city. I am more aware of my triggers now. The days I lived when I had no job were long and routine. I did not realize how much damage it did and how I could be sent right back to that state with something as simple as a weekday off. I should have been able to sit and relax and I couldn't no matter how hard I tried. I wanted to do something, be productive, show I was useful somehow even though no one but my cats were home and they really just think of me as part of the couch.While I did not think moving to the city fixed me entirely, it had been working like gangbusters. I had been feeling so stellar and it all came crashing down in a matter of hours. It never lets you go, this creature, but holds on with its claws, waiting for bait to be dangled in front of it to climb back up into your chest. I realize now I have a lot more work to do to cope with the damage that has been done. I've never been naive enough to think I can heal all on my own but I finally have understood I have a lot more than a little black rain cloud following me around. Triggers are there in hidden ways and though I am back home where I belong, I am not immune to them. None of us are.