the worry book. june 21st. summer solstice.

i've been catching a few horoscopes lately. and every single one has been astonishingly accurate to my life.

one was about reconsidering career paths the same day i was looking at job postings. another was just after that, talking about career stress being on the way out.

and today, about sudden moments of self-doubt, about whether i can handle my responsibilities.

this following a strange day.

i woke up having a panic attack. really, i think it's worse than waking up crying from a nightmare/dream. the dream was benign. i was with nina and a friend, maybe at a wedding or a party or something. and there was an issue with a dress. but i woke up with a start, flat on my back, paralyzed as per the usual. and my arms were folded above my head. i woke up at 6, and could not calm myself down, much less go back to sleep. at 7 i gave up, sat up, took an ativan to try to salvage my day, and laid around for maybe twenty more minutes before getting up to get a shower. by the time i was out of the shower, i was feeling more normal. but a very nervous, very nauseous version of normal.

when i wake up like that, i am deep in worry. some things are senseless. some things are real. it's a heavy mixture that hits me so quickly that i cannot stop it or slow it or try to snuff it out.

today's stress was completely work related. even though i was at my favorite store until noon, the things i had to tackle were not fun. mundane health department nutrition labeling. easy, but boring. but the bigger task was related to quinn's store schedule.

kenna has asked me to put in hours at her store, working shifts to reconnect with the store. i really don't want to, especially because it will mean that the two of us work together. but i have to do it. despite the fact that it makes me feel kindof sick inside.

and for kim and pam to be full time, it means that their hours at fun store get cut, because the sales suck. and that one of them has to go work with her as well.

it felt like all the fun getting sucked out of a morning. everyone was sad and angry about it, even though we all know what needs to be done.

at a point this afternoon, i decided to suck it up and try to talk it up to pam, saying that maybe if we both work over there and make it super fun, the hate brigade will disband and maybe the store will be a little more like ours.

wouldn't that be nice? if only...

after dealing with that, i got into the car and drove to the shrink.

i was nervous about it since yesterday. it happens every time i feel less than awesome and go to talk to her. part of me is always happy to get help. which is why i go. but i don't minimize the work it takes to go to a shrink, and go through everything with a fine tooth comb, and have it analyzed.

today, especially. i have been trying to avoid my stress, until the last two days. and thinking about all of it at once with her made me feel like i was going to feel overwhelmed all over again.

but a couple things happened. one, i paid the worst bill today, over the phone. the bill never showed up, and i got another collections call, so i just handled it. and i got two email responses from people interested in the room in the house for rent.

so it made me feel like, worst case scenario, i will have an option, and won't have to go too long without collecting rent, if what i think will happen happens on the 30th.

it's a tiny bit of control to recapture. to know that i have the upper hand, even though he has money that is owed me.

and dealing with quinn about the schedule was fine. it's not that she was nice, but we are able to deal with each other, which is mandatory. i think we'll be able to go along, just working, for a while. maybe me being around her all the time will annoy her enough to get her out. who knows...

so by the time i got to the shrink, the worst part of my day was over with, and the rest was downhill. i had a decent talk with greg under my belt, from last night, and that was enough of a relief to be able to feel like at least a couple things are starting to go right. or just not go wrong.

i started with the work stuff. and it's funny to me, how every time i talk about quinn to anyone else, their eyes get big, and they say, 'it sounds like she's being inappropriate' or 'disrespecting you is a problem'. not something, like stealing, that would be easy to fire over. and just talking about it made me stress over it again, so after a bit, i changed subjects.

and talked about the job search/giving up/burnt out/wanting to quit thing. i prefaced it by saying that i know it's because i thought i'd be done by now. and she commended me for realizing that it's not like things at work are so unbearable that i need to go. and she also pointed out that, if this one person wasn't in the picture, i'd not be feeling this way at all. which is true.

and then i talked about the money problems and non-rent. and how i finally was able to make an ad for the room, and feel a little bit better about it, which is when she commented that she was glad that i am doing something to take some control back in that aspect of my life.

and i talked about quitting the house, too. how when it gets like this i want to sell it. and recognize that it is definitely not the answer. as easy as it sounds like it would be. and talked about beating myself up about the house work that isn't getting done. and how the money stress is tied to not being able to make progress on the house.

and then i think i spent the rest of the time talking about the state i've been in the last couple weeks. with the crying. and the not getting out of bed for hours at a time. how money is tied to it, and how the hormones are as well.

and this light bulb went off over her head. she pulled out her iphone to look up nuvaring. and said, 'oh. this makes so much sense, tea.' and explained how it's a combo of estrogen, which really doesn't do much in the way of mood altering, but how it's got a hefty dose of progesterone in it as well. and how that triggers mood swings, and depression, and serious bouts of the weepies. that it's why pms feels the way it does. and that, after not having extra amounts of that in my body for so long, reintroducing it in such a drastic way is highly to blame for how i've been feeling.

and she agreed with me, to give it at least another month before deciding whether i should stick with it or change to something different. but that it makes sense why i've never felt quite this intensely emotional until now, and why it is happening now, and how it's making everything else feel.

and i linked that to greg, too. for that first month of magic, i felt like i could do anything. i felt like nothing could get me down. i squashed problems as they arose and smiled while doing it. and since then, as things have gotten progressively worse and harder for me, using him as a crutch to get through shitty days by distracting myself with him was super helpful.

but leave it to two incredibly stressful weeks, pumped full of hormones at their highest level, and time away from him, and it makes sense that i'd add him to the pile of problems.

she reaffirmed my feeling of wanting more time with him. she said that it's really important when a new relationship is starting to have that face time. and that the rest can be great, but that the real time spent together is important. and that, despite the fact that it is so early on, i shouldn't feel strange for requesting a little more time with him.

and as far as the rest, in talking about it, she agrees that it can wait, that the timing might be a little off. and that having a little more time with him will help with the stuff i feel in the between times.

sunday felt so unbearable to me, because of the time it would take to have the opportunity to feel like the beginning was recaptured. and she said that sometimes that doesn't get recaptured, but that it probably would. i felt so completely disconnected from him on saturday, and told him so on sunday morning. and thinking about the things i thought and put myself through in the two weeks it took to pin him down, and having to go through two more? i just couldn't deal. when i locked the door behind him, i told aubree, 'i'm in big trouble' and lost it.

because i couldn't see it being any easier. any better. i couldn't see that we could reconnect without seeing each other. it felt impossible. and i heard the sound of my own heart breaking. i felt myself breaking my own heart. and the entire time i spent with him was totally awkward. i felt awkward the day before, and during, and i didn't know what to say or do. and being aware of my awkwardness made me even MORE awkward. it was awful. i'd never felt like that around him before, so i didn't know how to counteract it. so i didn't. and felt awkward even after he left. it was bad.

i'm so glad that last night's talk helped with that. i mean, it's not fixed, because i didn't bring up wanting to see him more. but we talked about saturday, and about everything else in the old way. where we interrupt each other's tangents out of excitement, and don't run out of things to say. hearing him happier, and feeling better myself before i even got the call, made it seem like it will be okay.

what i got from my trip to see the shrink today inspired a genuine smile. she said, 'i want you to do something. you're a writer. this won't be hard for you.'

she said to get a paper journal. keep it on my nightstand. and every morning, like today, when i wake up worrying, write every single worry down before i get out of bed. and every night, when i'm trying to sleep and can't stop worrying, write those down, too.

and every day, when i'm not in bed waking up or falling asleep, that i'm not allowed to worry. because i either already addressed it, or will at the end of the day, if it's still bothering me. it's about separating. compartmentalizing. because it's so difficult to think around problems when you're worrying. it's so counterproductive and counterintuitive. entirely problematic.

by limiting the time that i am actively allowed to worry, and locking it up and setting it aside literally and figuratively, i should notice a difference. and if i don't, and the panic attacks don't stop or subside, then we can reassess. but she also said that it's okay to look back through them. and to bring it with me if i feel like sharing with her what it is that i obsessively worry about.

and i wonder if being allowed to worry will create more or eliminate the need. if i'll have something to write down every day and every night.

i think night time will be harder. but most mornings, i can wake up without worrying. today was just NOT one of those days.

but the idea made me smile. and i have the blank sketchbook journal to do it in already in my room, currently unused. awesome stuff. awesome shrink. she helped me a lot today, like i knew that she would. and she said to also pay attention to whether i need to use ativan as much, when i'm writing out the worries. to see if i still need it to alleviate the worry. it's an experiment i'm interested to do.

and now i also feel hopeful, because i feel like i finally broke free of this oppressed sex drive as well. because of feeling so fucking awful all the time, i couldn't think a sexy thought if i tried - it was close to a week of feeling that way. feeling ugly, feeling tired and sad, feeling like the last thing on earth that i deserved or was capable of was sex. made worse by the fact that the weeks before that, i couldn't stay out of my bedroom.

this, in light of the hormonal attack i'm under to have sex? unbelieveable!

but last night, something changed in my brain. maybe the hormones had a week to taper off. maybe i felt just slightly better enough to be able to turn off my brain for a second.

i don't know what it was. but i kinda turned my head to the side, thinking, 'is that? whaaaa? could it be? yes. yes it IS!' i was turned on.

and today, again. turned on.

so i think i'm coming out of the funk. if the constant stress panic would just flow a little away from me, i'll be better. if this nervous sickness would wane a little, i'll feel like i can handle things.

i felt so sick for a couple days, sunday particularly, that i thought i was going to throw up. and because there is absolutely nothing i hate worse than puking, i talked myself down from it minute to minute until the threat passed. but yesterday on my way to suck store, i couldn't have my usual two cigarettes, and thought seriously for a minute about pulling over to puke. and on sunday, when i was done napping and finally got out of bed at 3, i went to the bathroom, and hoped that i could keep it down, and i did.

i don't know why i feel so physically sick when i'm stressed like this. i've been using my usual fix, which is stress eating. pigging out on shit food, especially when i'm not hungry, just to feel good for the second that i'm tasting it. i mean, the boy nerves do tend to make me unable to eat much of anything, but that is definitely not what is going on with me right now. and i can think of two times that i've puked in the last year, both from being too drunk. so it's not like it's a feeling i'm accustomed to. but in the thick of this past week, i think it has something to do with feeling hot and cold and sweaty all at the same time. those little sick waves. probably linked to chemicals being released in my body and my body fighting back. i don't know. but laying under the same blanket, with the fan on the same speed, in the same spot, with the a/c on the same temp? i go from being hot to cold over and over. foot out, shoulder out. covers to my chin the next minute.

it's just gross. i hope that is over now, because it's awful.

tomorrow at suck store will probably be a little frustrating, as cat didn't do what i asked her to. i saw her today, unannounced, after the shrink. and reminded her gently. but it was too late in the day for her to fix it.

and a completely unrelated rant:

you know you live in the hood when hoodrats steal your fucking garbage cans. i don't think i wrote about the insanity on saturday before the move and greg hangout. it was the one day of the month where my slob neighbors sweep the street. they throw their trash on the ground all the time. buy a bag of chips, eat it, throw the bag on the ground. i figured out accidentally, pretty early on after moving back in, that when i forgot to put in my trash cans on garbage day, they actually used them! all that trash where it rightfully belongs. once someone stole the trash bag out of my can. that was pretty ballsy. and last week, in the heat wave, someone had the audacity to throw an entire thing of crab legs in the can. i hate seafood anyway, but you can imagine...

putting the trash out that day made me feel ill. but i did it. and was grateful that i didn't have to pick it up off the sidewalk.

but on street cleaning day, the 'block captain' was banging on doors like the goddamn police. 'everybody WAKE UP. get outside. grab a broom. it's street cleaning day! WAKE UP!!' every door on both sides of the block. and at some point in that morning, while i was pissed at the noise at 10 am on a saturday, trying to have my peaceful first weekend cup of coffee and writing session, someone stole my garbage cans. the huge one with the recycling sticker. and the nasty one that everyone uses for trash.

i walked the block around the house last night, when everyone was putting trash out, to see if i could spot them. nothing. and today, with aubree in tow, on my way to work at 815, drove the block again, looking. nothing.

sons of bitches. i haven't seen carwash to ask him if he knows who borrowed my shit. but i hope he has an answer, because i don't want to spend $40 to replace them.

maybe i put up a reward sign. take a note from the girls, and offer two forties of old e for anyone who helps my garbage cans find their way home. no questions asked. beer exchanged.

i'm going to attempt to put my ultrafunk out in the trash. maybe it got picked up this morning, from my curb. i don't know that it's going to stay this way. but yesterday was a little bit easier, and despite a rough start, today feels even better.

nina suffered through it with me, getting the play by play. and kit, too. and aubree living with me, seeing it day in and day out, firsthand. i know that she was legitimately scared for me.

the girls just tried to help, and made jokes until it worked, after the hood day feast on sunday.

thank you, real life friends. i'm sorry to have put you through as much as i did. i'm not so great at hiding how i'm feeling, and i know i've been a major bummer to be around lately. but you have all helped me in different ways, and as i start to come out of the fog, i hope we can have more fun and less tearfest hugs. i hate to let people see me cry. really hate it.

and you have all seen more crying than i can remember in a long time this past week solid.

i'm two days tear-free. and i feel a lot better, even if i'm nowhere near 100%. i'll take the little victory...

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