As has been established, I am not a morning person. I often doze on the train to work and there are weekdays where I have to fight to keep my eyes open — literally. I don’t really finish this battle til around ten AM. I often have panic attacks upon wakening and just want to crawl back under the covers. It’s an unpleasant experience but since I don’t have a night shift option, it’s my workday reality.
But on the weekends, something else happens. I sleep even longer than I should, until I feel drugged and unable to get out of bed — and panic anyway.
So NOW what do I do?
I wonder why one horrible week really traumatized me to the point where I seriously feared for my sanity a few years ago.
After the horrible vacation, which left me reduced to furious, shaking terror all mixed up together, I really was ill for about six months. (The fury was outer-directed at my tormentor but also inner-directed because I was not strong enough to deal effectively with the situation and I was not extroverted enough to go party with strangers like he was. The terror was the collapse of nerves after eight days of mistreatment.)
I felt literally sick, exhausted, unable to get comfortable in my skin and therefore I found it hard to sit still and concentrate. I had to leave church one Sunday midway through Mass because I felt too weird and had to go lie down. I left a friend in a cafe in the same way. There were says I honestly questioned my sanity, although a lot of what made me do so has faded into a blur of that discomfort, fatigue, and fear.
About six months or so later, in the summer, it eased, thank God. And if I ever travel with another person again, I will have an exit plan. I should have flown home on Day 2.
In another time and social class, I suppose I would have collapsed with “nervous exhaustion” and been an invalid for a few months. In some other times and social classes, I might have been locked up, or become an alcoholic or drug addict. In my time and social class, I had to go to work (at a place that would eventually put me on stress disability all by itself!). Of course it’s not that people of my social class don’t become alcoholics or drug addicts; they sure do. It’s just that I’ve never been tempted by them the way I am by food and sleep, and because I have no other financial support besides my job, keeping it was the key to having a home and a bed to come home to.
It was a grim few months.
But why, and how, did eight days of emotional torture and some situational terror (stuck in a remote campground alone as i got dark and without the keys to the car, for example), totally undo me for six months? I was home, as safe as I ever was, free of my tormentor.
I was reading Lipstick Jihad the other day, and in it a man and woman calmly deny, to a morality enforcer, that they even know each other, much less are involved. The vigilante smacks the guy around in hopes of getting a rise out of the woman, who calmly says, basically, “Whatever.” and process to call her mom on her cell to see if she needs anything.
I would be so deeply screwed in that sort of situation. Not only do I not have nerves of steel, I don’t even have nerves of flesh. I’ve got china nerves.
Yet somehow I keep going, which kind of surprises me when I think about it. I am the big worrier, the anxiety-attack-having, quasi-agoraphobic introvert. Yet somehow I get up every day (well, most days) and go to work. I have to have surgery next month and I am totally flailing, especially because I hate logistics and haven’t worked them out yet, but although it looks like I will be totally on my own and have to arrange getting there and getting home and managing my OH GOD GENERAL ANESTHESIA CAN KILLZ YOU DED! fear… I’m managing.
People are odd creatures, aren’t they?