I had a bad night tonight.
More accurately a bad series of events throughout the day. The point here being, I had one of the worst outbursts I have had in a long time.
It began with the morning. I had got to bed late, and woke earlier than I really wanted to; rising just in time, really, to get everyone dressed and ready and get my husband to his therapy session. He does need to be driven to these sessions, since he isn’t supposed to be walking long distances from the car to the clinic, etc. Our child is on spring break, so I had an extra body to chivvy out the door.
But that was not so bad; I didn’t eat breakfast (having intended to eat the last doughnut, and finding that someone else had beat me there), but other than that minor irritation things were fine. However, when we were leaving, the first really bad event occurred.
I was driving; the morning sun was extremely bright to my tired eyes, and slanted in at just the right angle to twang me on the left side of my face. So, I was squinting, trying to reduce the glare and mild discomfort. Suddenly, my RIGHT eye begins to water profusely, stinging and burning in an all too familiar spasm of pain. Something had irritated the eyelid again, and my eye was desperately trying to flush it away, with no luck. I’m in the middle of making a turn; for a heart stopping second I am completely blinded – sun dazzle in the left eye and water blur in the right. We didn’t crash, and I’m pleased to say that I even managed to drive to the closest parking lot without mishap.
There, as I waited out the spasm in my right eye, I began to shiver and shake. Natural enough reaction to nearly crashing, natural enough reaction to the aftereffects of adrenalin rush. Not so natural was the hysterics that kept trying to batter their way through to the surface. I felt nauseated and numb, at the same time, and for a long time I just sat there, saying nothing, just trying to breathe and get myself back into some semblance of working order. Steve offered to drive; I refused. Maybe it was pride. Maybe it was that I felt unable to get out of the car right then. Maybe it was sheer stubborn stupidity or even some sense of machismo, that I had to appear tough and reliant and not give in to a little pain in my eye.
We got home. I felt like a turd that had been left out in the sun to dry. My husband and child went off to do other things. I listed to my computer, and began to set up some music and perhaps a little reading.
I was interrupted by the drama queen, and deciding that I didn’t have the energy to deal with that shit, I shut my computer down entirely and went to bed.
I lay there, dozing, nearly unable to move for sheer lassitude, for about three or four hours. I’m not entirely sure when I fully woke up. But when I did, I went back out to the computer room area. No one bothered me for a time; I finished reading the book I’d started Sunday night. I stood, I stretched, I reflected that the book was a good read if a little cynical. I wiped at my right eye with a tissue, for it had been slowly, steadily watering off and on for an hour while I read. It didn’t hurt, it just kept weeping.
Then, without warning, without any noticeable trigger, I began to cry. I do not know what thoughts went through my mind. I do not feel that thoughts were really a part of what was going on. My body shook, it shivered, it quaked with barely suppressed sobs.
I decided to go to the bathroom, to use the mirror there and the sink – the mirror to inspect my watering eye, and the sink for the cold water, which when run over my wrists has been an effective way to calm me and bring me more into focus.
The eye was fine, the lid perhaps a trifle swollen. The cold water on my hands and wrists did nothing this time. By main force of will I jammed my feelings back, crammed them behind any barrier I could erect, and just managed to construct a fragile facade of distracted maundering to cover my unsteady state of mind.
Then my husband came into the bathroom and hugged me, just showing affection as he does. Without warning I burst into tears.
He knows me; he didn’t ask. He simply stroked my back and my hair and held me lightly, letting me cling to him. I felt warm wetness across my lips, and pulled back, thinking I was snotting on him (I do not, and never have, cried elegantly).
My nose was bleeding.
Blood pressure spike; the capillaries in my nasal passages are so weak they can burst in my sleep. I turned away, huddling over the sink, trying to wash the blood off my face and get the bleeding to stop. My sobs sounded like harsh, ragged breathing as they echoed off the sink’s curvature.
My husband silently left me to deal with myself. I was grateful; I needed to be alone, to concentrate on holding the pieces of me together.
All in all it took a twenty minute shower and ten minutes of thousand-yard-stare before I could speak. I still don’t know what hit me, what broke my defenses, what shattered me so badly. For twenty minutes I was fourteen again, full of rage and hurt and shame and fear. Sure that no one could ever know what pain I knew; positive that they would mock me for complaining of pain that surely everyone suffers. Ashamed that I was not stronger, to hold up under this pain without a word, as I imagined my mother must do. And terrified that if I told anyone how I really felt, that I would suffer more because of it.
Suffer because the well meaning and idiotic government would steal me away from those I loved. Afraid that a professional would click her tongue and tell me it was all in my head, and that all I really needed was to learn to let go. Afraid to talk to my friends, for fear of what seeing my pain might do to them. How could they face what I was, what I had become, and not feel differently towards me? How could they not hate me, or pity me – neither of which I wanted. Even worse, what effect might my own scars have on them? My pain hurt me so much; how could it not hurt someone else to witness my scars and imagine my battles, lost or won?
Slowly I began to wind down; the self-whispered words, the self talk that lets me empty out my overwhelming emotions and leave myself at least a little purged, slowed. My heart rate slowed, evened out, steadied. My nose stopped bleeding, my throat stopped clenching. I was able to stop hugging my arms around myself and actually get clean.
I stepped out of the shower, cleansed, calmed, but not better.
Two pills this time. Two pills, which are supposed to only be one pill, and only for emergencies.
The “emergencies” – the attacks – I am not sure if they are more common or not. The pills don’t make it go away. They smooth it out, make it possible for me to think and talk about them as if they happened to someone I know, and not to me.
But they don’t take away the feelings. They soothe me, they lull me, they make me sleepy and docile. Easy to trank the already tranked psycho, right?
I’m not insane. I’m not dangerous, to myself or anyone else.
But I am broken, and it is all I can do to keep the splints maintained and keep using the crutches. I don’t know how to fix myself, and I don’t trust anyone to help me to do it. I don’t think my friends will want to help. Those that would want to help, don’t know any more than I do about what to do. I love them, but I know they can’t do very much for me, without doing harm to themselves, and that I won’t accept.
I’ve hurt enough people with my problems. I’ve bludgeoned people with my back-story, I’ve flayed their consciences with my sordid, pitiful, shameful past.
I don’t want to hurt. And I don’t want others to hurt for me. I want to be done with pain.
Why is that so much to ask of the universe?