Anymore now, when I catch a glimpse of my reflection while at work, I discover that it looks like I’ve been vigorously rubbing a balloon across my head. I can’t even blame the hardhat for this. Without fail, I walk around work with a perpetual case of bedhead.
In school I’d joke that the craziness of my hair was a fairly accurate representation of my current state of mind. Frazzled was a popular hairstyle for a while. Ohio humidity helped to exacerbate whatever my hair was feeling. Oregon doesn’t really do that too often, not in the same in-your-face way that Ohio did. Oregon is so laid back like that.
I’m leaving for my belligerent home state tomorrow. (More on that later.)
My anxiety level has been all sorts of mortifyingly high these days, and I’ve avoided examining the possible causes. Work has taken over my life more than ever, and I’m constantly exhausted, so if I even begin to consider stressors beyond work, I get a little meltdowny. So, not gonna think about it.
But I have a new therapist in addition to the hippie therapist, and this new therapist is eventually going to use EMDR therapy with me to more or less de-triggerify me. I sprinted through general descriptions of The Big Traumas for her, and the physical response I had reminded me that I still haven’t talked about this stuff with people out here. There’s rarely a good way to broach the subject, y’know? So I’m still simmering from last week’s sprint. I suppose what has me wound up the most is that when she mentioned that she’d need to screen me for dissociative disorders so that she’d be able to formulate a more effective treatment plan, I immediately knew that this was going to be critical. And difficult. I’m not terribly sure why no one else has thought do those screenings, especially considering how generally ineffective treatment has been so far, but here it is, finally. I’ve dealt with some version of the disorder for well over a decade, and now I find myself attempting to re-view my experiences with the awareness of my tendency to cope through dissociation. It’s unsettling…like suddenly discovering that you didn’t brush your hair like you thought you did that morning.
There are many, many reasons I adore Anne Lamott. Here’s one of them, from her post this evening on her Facebook page (errors and all):
Boston broke my heart, in the good way. I went to the great progressive, peacenik anti-racist Arlington Street Church, and the minister-at-large took us up to the very, very top floor, where the ancient bells are. It was my late father’s 90th, and George played Happy Birthday for him on the bells. I bet my dad loved that.
Don’t let anyone tell you ever that you are supposed to stopping mourning and missing people you’ve lost. What a crock. Our beloved people are forever. What a joy for that dumb song to ring out in Dad’s honor into the city air. Leonard Cohen wrote that there are cracks in everything, and that’s how the light gets in. Stay cracked; don’t let people shame you into using caulking.
This touches on one of the topics that came up in therapy this week: How, when I’m struck with intense grief seemingly out of the blue, I don’t allow myself to just grieve. In my family, there’s a statute of limitations on grieving that lasts, oh, maybe five days. I don’t know. I suppose it depends on the situation. I had less than two days to stop being upset about my mom’s suicide attempt. I could still be upset beyond that, but the family support system wasn’t going to acknowledge it. In fact, I recall getting chewed out for not processing the event quickly enough. Imagine if I hadn’t been hiding the majority of my emotions from them! Anyway, my therapist keeps reminding me that I have plenty to grieve, so even if my grief isn’t caused by something that happened in the previous few days, it’s still valid.
I like the idea of putting down the defective caulking and just bearing those cracks.
As I drove home from a friend’s house last night, I spotted something sasquatchian prancing down the street. It looked like someone wearing a costume constructed from moppy brown shag carpet, and the yarn bits flopped in unison to the rhythm of its running. As I passed it, I looked back over my shoulder, and it had turned around and started bouncing in the opposite direction on the bridge, never leaving the sidewalk. I was pretty sure I had lost my marbles at that point, and the over-imaginative kid in me was terrified. It didn’t lumber along like it was supposed to, according to all of my childhood Sasquatch studies! I said to myself. It was a person in a costume…out for a jog at 11pm?
I’m pretty much going to avoid that stretch of road for, oh, let’s say forever.