Monday, December 27, 2010

Don't challenge me to a staring contest unless you want to lose

I opted out of the family Christmas experience this year. I had planned on spending it with friends, but I actually ended up alone for the majority of the holiday. Unless you want to count cats, which just sounds impressively pathetic. My reasoning behind staying in the city was that it would be less stressful. If you read my last post, you may have sensed that my hypothesis didn't necessarily hold up. By nightfall on Christmas, I was in rather a shit mood. After Christophucker "fired" me, I was walking down the street to get to the bus, grumbling to myself that it was stupid not to have gone to see my family, cursing about this and that, giving people dirty looks, you know...just generally spreading holiday cheer.

When I start feeling really low, something happens inside of me that I can almost physically feel. I am not referring to just being in a bad mood here. This is when a lot of little things pile up on each other, mixed with some big things, sprinkle in whatever else is going on and stir, and I start to shut down. It is like an internal shudder; a master switch being flipped. The electricity drains from me, the bottom drops out and underneath is a black hole, which needs to be filled with something that will make me feel better. I have a drop but I need an ocean. For now. Sometimes it feels like something so dramatic has happened that I half expect people to be able to tell just by looking at me. I feel numb. My affect changes. I look at people blankly, and if I don't force myself to, I will hardly speak at all. When I do, it comes out monotone. It feels like a dark, echoey cave inside of my head. It starts to take twice as much energy to do half as much activity, and I am tired but restless all of the time. Concentration becomes a chore: I have a hard time paying attention to anything longer than a commercial, and following what people are saying when they are speaking to me is nearly impossible. I can't cry. I can't laugh. But I can stare like a fucking champion.
This is a scary thing when it starts to happen, and when I am coming out of it, but as you might intuit- in the thick of it, I can't really get myself to give a shit. Another neat feature of my own peculiar set of circumstances is that even when I am not feeling like this at all, a loud and sudden noise, a certain distinctive smell, someone that happens to intensely remind me of something particularly unpleasant, or some other things can launch me directly into varying degrees of this state. Or other fucked up states of being. PTSD is not awesome. The biggest pain in my ass lately has been dealing with my startle reflex. Loud and sudden noises happen all of the time, especially in the city, but dang. I don't generally go into super rowdy situations, so I am usually at least somewhat prepared for what I am going to encounter, and am used to dealing with the weird looks I get when I jump visibly from the sound of someone setting a glass down on the table firmly, or whatever. I was at a pretty calm holiday party last night, and apparently someone was having a hard time getting people's attention to announce something, so this guy unexpectedly, so fucking loudly. I don't even remember what he said, but I didn't even have time for a 'wtf?' My eyes glazed over, my heart started pounding, and my ears started ringing. I was no longer mentally present in the room and I wanted to crawl under the table. I was already pretty overwhelmed and that was just the shit sauce on the turd burger. I had to put my head in my hands and ground myself. Once that passed, I wanted to go stomp on his nuts, because he's an obnoxious asshole. Does that sound judgmental? 
When I got home on Saturday night, still grumbling, I trudged into my room, plopped down on the bed, and kicked off my boots. I surveyed the room critically, still rolling around the day's events in my head, and beating myself up about the mistakes I made, actual and perceived. Then the beautifully wrapped present in the corner caught my eye. A white and silver box with a big white bow. My uncle had given it to me on Thursday, with the suggestion that I wait until Christmas to open it. I'm slightly Scroogey sometimes, but I thought that was really sweet, and both when I received it and when I saw it that night, I got uncharacteristically excited. It was enough to snap me out of that funk, actually, and I hopped up to pick it up and open it.
By the shape of the box, I was guessing clothes, which I totally need and would have been ecstatic to get. Especially from him; he has great taste. When I picked it up, however, it was unexpectedly heavy. I looked at the present like it tricked me and thought, "What the hell is this heavy? There's no way it's..."
And then I unwrapped the box containing a brand new laptop and yelled, "NO FUCKING WAY!"
Total missed Kodak moment.
I stood there looking at the half opened present with my mouth hanging open for a minute, and then I sat down on the bed and started crying. Sneak attack tears. Good tears. I'm not a robot after all. That gift was so unexpected, I was so grateful, and there was so much other stuff going on in my head that I was just overwhelmed. I'm just now building a close relationship with my uncle, who has always been good to me, but is a literal lifesaver right now. We had been talking about how I want to go back to school, and that is why he got me the computer (which I am blogging on right nowww!). Missing my family had been weighing on me, but that was sort of like reassurance that they aren't going anywhere, regardless of whether or not I happened to make it this year for the holidays. It just really made me think about where I am in my life right now, and where I am headed. Something clicked in my brain and went, "You are loved." So I sat with that, and let it in as much as I could, even though it was uncomfortable.

Whoever you are, in case you don't already know, you are loved. Yes, you. You are worthy. You are valuable.


  1. This got me all teary! First of all, awesome Uncle! Second of all, that first part, where you describe the depression - you described it so well. I've felt that, though not for awhile, thank jeebs. Scary good picture you painted.

    I'm glad your Christmas took a turn for the better lady. Keep up the blogging - I love to read your posts. xo

  2. I missed you on Christmas and am sorry you got startled by an obnoxious a-hole. Your uncle is one of the best. You are too. xo Merry Christmas, knucklebutt.

  3. Aw, see? Perfect people to comment on this. Theeenks ladies! I need to see both y'all's faces in the near future. xoxo

  4. You are soooo loved, and your Uncle has a way of always coming through in a thoughtful and generous way--out of love. xoxo