I’ve realized that I need more than ordinary assistance. I need a new way of approaching everything.
I need to find a way of avoiding being chronically overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed creates a slew of problems. I mentioned last post that I lost my apartment keys. I forgot to mention that I managed to lose my gym bag. How in hell did I do that? I contacted the gym and told them about it (beige with cats all over it). I should still probably go there to see if someone didn’t just shove it into a locker after it sat around all day.
Other issues from being overwhelmed include physical and emotional. Physically, I don’t want to make myself vulnerable to all sorts of illness ending in “-itis” (swelling or inflammation of _______). Emotionally, I basically lost it the other day being paranoid about a problem at work. I was right on the edge to begin with and that just pushed me right over the edge.
Today is thanksgiving for normal people. I am actually going to two different celebrations. However, for me, it is the thirtieth anniversary with Barry. We were married 11/22/88. We were married for 29 years. Yet it still feels good to go somewhere, anywhere, so I am not alone all day. It sounds crazy, but I am actually glad I work Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Another hazard of being overwhelmed is projecting my emotional crap onto others because I do not have the mental space to discern the difference between my stuff and other people’s. Hard not to do.
What am I going to do today? Breathe a lot and prepare for Black Friday.
Same lessons, different players.
My life is crazy. That is nothing new. What is new is the suddenness of the overwhelm. I really didn’t see it coming. Perhaps I was not paying sufficient attention.
Overwhelm can even come from good things. For example, I decided on the couch I wanted. I mail-ordered it and it arrived, extraordinarily quickly. When I ordered it (it came from California), the Couchbed website said it would take maybe 8-10 days. My concern was the apartment management people having to sign for it and me having to pick it up from the rental office. Well, about four or five days later, I went into the hall to get my mail and, voila, there’s the package sitting in front of my apartment door. I am sure the mail person had no problem with it because it only weighed 50 pounds. It was big and bulky, but not heavy in the least. I let it sit in my apartment untouched for a couple days. I was afraid that opening it would allow it to expand in an out-of-control fashion, like a self-inflating pontoon. I was not ready for that.
The previous week, I had lost my apartment keys that had the mail key on it. I still had Barry’s keys in the glove box of my car, but sans the mail key. I had to call the apartment people to see if they had one. They did. So I picked it up and made 2 copies of everything. I made sure they all worked in the proper locks and threw one set in the glove box and gave the other spare set to a friend. I only lose things when I am overwhelmed. Over the years, I have lost almost everything important at some time or another.
Also, I screwed up my spare phone somehow. It is like I erased everything. I don’t even know if it rings. The screen is mostly blank with a few icons on it. WTF. I will have to take it to Wal-Mart to see if there is anything I can do about it. Zap.
Then, a couple days ago, my laptop stopped working. I could turn it on, but it would not go to a useful screen. I would have a blank screen with a cursor. I just got it back today. The issue with the computer is that it is my lifeline to my ability to do my Duolingo Spanish and Greek, check my email, and basically do my OCD stuff. Needless to say, I no longer have a 140-day streak going in my languages. Zap.
And yesterday, I had a meltdown at work. I was putting away clothing from the racks coming out, when a manager and another employee pulled me over to show how there were a lot of women’s pants in the men’s section and that someone was putting away the clothes improperly. My assumption, of course, was that it was me. I still have a hard time telling the difference between men’s and women’s jeans. It is easy if there is a size (something x something is always men’s, whereas women’s sizes are like 10, 12, 18, etc.), but not all pants have that. I started to cry.
I was assured that it was not me. How could it be? I have been there two months and this problem was less than two-weeks old. When I put stuff away from the racks, the men’s and women’s clothing are separated. My mistake would have been caught a very long time ago. This does not mean I never ever put a pair of jeans in the wrong area, but this is clearly not a chronic issue on my part. This issue is not mine. They just wanted me to check the pants, one pair at a time so the women’s could be taken to their proper place.
Part of my vulnerability is my being alone. I need this job. Or at least a job. But it is all on me. I am not part of a couple anymore.
Thursday is Thanksgiving, but it is also Barry’s and my anniversary. 11/22/88 was our wedding day. This would have been thirty years. Everything bothers me right now.
So what have I been doing? Projecting my overwhelm on my friend that I recommended the intuition books to. When I last saw her, she had that look in her eyes that I recognized in myself a few times. That look where, if someone had informed me my house was on fire, I would have said, “And your point is?” There is a point where you (maybe just me?) are simply incapable of caring about anything anymore. Fear is for people who have the energy to care. So I called her another time this past weekend. She has not called me back and I am not initiating contact again. When her academic term is up, perhaps she will call me.
My concern for her is that I know what being overwhelmed feels like and it can take years to recover. We are not in our twenties, thirties, or even forties anymore. I’ve seen how quickly a person’s body can deteriorate. Two days before Barry died, it took two people (an in-home health aide and myself) to move him from his chair to the couch. He fought. Here was a man who probably weighed all of 135 pounds being freakishly strong. And two days later he was dead. I am still trying to recover from caretaker burnout.
My point, in regards to my friend, is that I want her to slow down while she still has a choice. It’s kind of like smoking: everyone quits eventually, even if it is the undertaker that removes that one last cigarette from the person’s cold, dead hand. I don’t want her grave marker to say, “She finally slowed down.” I would like to preserve her health for a few more years. But I’ve had this conversation with her repeatedly, the one where I tell her to slow down and she gives me every excuse as to why she can’t. On the other hand, what I saw in her a few weeks ago, I’ve never seen before. I feel like I’ve been where she is headed. And, trust me, she does not want to go there. This is different.
Worse yet, I am almost there again now. Life has ways of kicking my ass until I slow down and take care of myself. Lately, life has been screaming at me. Losing access to my laptop actually forced me to listen. How many other devices can I stop from working? I do not want to find out.
My life is getting better, I think, but I am not in control.
I have a friend I would love to help, but there is just no way. Her life is crazy busy. She is married and her husband is planning to retire from the military in a couple of years. She is going to school full-time. She needs to evict her sister from her mother’s house. She is still struggling with a traumatic brain injury (chronic headaches). And I believe she is struggling with some serious empathic distress.
She is one of those people that knows who is calling when the phone rings (pre-caller-ID). She seems to be attracting people with pressing problems. I believe she is an empath with no control over her abilities.
So what do I do? I tell her about two books: “Dodging Energy Vampires” by Christaine Northrup and “The Empath Survival Guide” by Judith Orloff. Then I order them for her from Amazon. I got an email from them couple of days ago saying that they had a delivery failure. My friend and her husband have a house in Eaton Rapids (where I sent the books) and an apartment in Mount Pleasant (where he works and she goes to school at CMU). I can’t even ensure the books get to her. I can’t help. I can just wish her well, I guess.
I like my job at Goodwill, but my feet don’t like working four days in a row. Usually I don’t have to, but when I do, it’s hard. I am not in charge of the schedule. They like me and want me at certain times. I am negotiating with a manager that does the scheduling. They like me working four days a week, but do they all need to be in a row? I actually have a job I like and don’t want to come off as whiny, especially to a manager that just worked for two weeks straight due to their being three managers short (they just hired one last week). (Tiny violin playing for my pity party.)
I got rid of some furniture. VOA came and took it last week. Now I have actual space to put a couch in. I assumed I wanted a futon for extra person sleeping purposes. But my brain was not coming up with anything. I assumed for years that when Barry passed, I would have years and years of pent-up desires waiting to be indulged. Nope. I have never gotten furniture just for myself. I have no idea what I want for the most part. Not a clue.
A different friend emailed me a link to a site that sells couches that fold out to beds. I might get one. What a super-cool idea. But now we are talking about mail order furniture. I have never done that. Will I have to take time off from work? If I am not home, will the apartment office take it? Surely this is not a unique situation for them.
I don’t know what I am doing, but what else is new?