Sunday, April 24, 2016

How Not to Snap Someone Out of It

I'd had a long exhausting week at work, complicated by my boss's inept attempt to help me deal with my stress. (Let's put it this way: her idea of helping me was equivalent to someone helping you deal with the stress of driving home after a long day of work by taking away your car. You no longer have the stress of driving home, right?)

And I'd had to use every ounce of social interaction tricks I've learned over the years to persuade her this was a bad idea without telling her she was ... without negatively implicating her mental processes in coming up with the idea.

I haven't been getting enough sleep either. So when I got there for breakfast, I wasn't in a very perky, happy mood. I wasn't in a particularly bad mood, actually. I was just exhausted. And when I get that way, I get morbid (thank you, OCD).

There are only a few people I feel comfortable being myself around. Everybody else I pretend, to some extent or the other, to be someone else. Someone who is cheerful, who has a positive outlook on life. Someone who isn't struggling just to make it to the end of each day without getting fired, losing her house, her temper, or her friends by letting them see the real me. The one that nobody likes being around because it's depressing and you can't fix me so it's frustrating as well.

My parents are two of those people that I don't have to pretend with. That I can just be myself. So, after establishing that I'd had a long exhausting week at work and I was still tired, I ended up making a morbid comment about the stupid dogs at the foot of the hill they live on, who bark at you constantly as long as they can see you and the sound is physically painful for me, so it's really stressful.

And then, trying to lighten the mood a bit, I said something along the lines of, "wow, if I don't lighten up I'm going to be real fun to be around tonight at my friend's birthday party. I really want to go, but I'm just so tired."

"Don't worry about it honey, you have the whole day to start feeling better. You might even be able to get a nap in and that would help, right? Besides, even if you feel this way tonight, I have confidence in you. You can certainly hide your exhaustion and be a good mood person just for as long as the party takes. It's only a few hours, and I've seen you accomplish that for much longer. You've had plenty of practice. I'm sure you'll be fine."

Only it didn't happen that way.

Instead of going away feeling supported and having my confidence bolstered that I can do this thing, I left holding back tears and feeling a deep, ripping, tearing loss.

Because apparently, my parents are human too, and my mom got fed up with who I really am and decided to go off on me. She was harsh, and mean, and basically a less fun version of that song where the chorus goes,

Go and fix your makeup, girl, it's just a breakup, girl
Go hide your crazy and start acting like a lady
Cause I raised you better, so keep it together
Even when you fall apart.
(But this ain't my mama's broken heart).

So I left feeling like a complete failure, like I wasn't ever going to be able to get it together enough to be a pleasant person to be around at the party.

But worse, I've lost my mom. Oh, she's still here, alive. I still love her. I'll still see her. But I'm going to have to pretend around her, too. And since she and my dad are joined at the hip (which I love but it makes it hard to have any daddy-daughter time), I have to pretend around him, too.

When I said I only had a few people I could relax and be myself around, even if that meant being depressing and not-fun ... I kind of lied. Few equals 3, technically.

My mom and dad were my last people who hadn't demonstrated unequivocally that being myself around them wasn't to be tolerated.

Thus I've lost everybody. The only people I can be myself around are my cats.

And they cheer me up and make me want to be pleasant company because they respond by being even better company.

(I wonder why humans can't do that. If you're depressing and down and they can't fix you, they get exasperated with you and leave. If they think they've done a good job of fixing you, then they ignore you--"my work here is done"--and if you pretend in the first place and they don't feel compelled to fix you, then you're just part of the background. An expected behavior in an expected place.)


Hey there. If you're reading this, I'm surprised. I'm not advertising this or allowing my other blog to link to it ( if you're curious).

This is where I write out the dark side of being high-functioning autistic, having anxiety, pure-O OCD, an eating disorder, depression (yes, I know that one doesn't start with a vowel), endometriosis, so forth and so on.

This isn't a funny or cheerful blog, although I do have a morbid, biting sense of humor that's probably going to show up no matter what.

But I needed someplace to write out the problems that I'm having in my personal life, and the people in my personal life know about and read the other blog. I don't particularly want the fallout from them reading this. (If they find it on the net, then they must really want to know, and in that case, if they get their feelings hurt, then tough.)

So why am I putting this on the internet at all? Because I've read some blogs by some people in pretty bad places in their lives, and it's helped me. Sometimes it's just knowing someone else goes through the same things--anxiety in particular is very isolating. And sometimes their solutions (if they have one) are helpful. And sometimes it just helps to know someone's got it worse than me, even if I do feel ashamed for finding that helpful.