What is up with my brain?
I swear I have felt like the saddest of sad sacks for the past weekish. And not really right with myself since the beginning of summer. I’ve been Google-ing “How do I know if I need an anti-depressant?”. Searching for small campers in which to make my escape. I knew I was in trouble the other afternoon when I was sitting at the bottom of the stairs with my hands in my hair yelling “Help me!” at my husband because the boys were bitching about turning off their video games. Yesterday I tried to hide in bed, to “sleep in” which is really code for “check the fuck out”. My youngest wouldn’t leave me alone so it was a resounding non-success.
It probably reminded him of when I was drinking. And couldn’t get out of bed. I was really just trying for a little reading/sleeping time. But the intention felt like when I was hungover and just wanted to escape. Sleep into nothingness. Disappear. Could he tell?
So I got up. Ate breakfast. Had tea. Made myself go for a hike at the river with my husband, youngest, and dogs. I made myself keep a meeting at my oldest son’s school. I didn’t cancel my husband’s grandmother’s visit. I bitched and moaned, and I really really wanted to, but I didn’t disappear.
And now this morning I feel better. Like, really like ME. Silly. Hopeful. I found yet another few white napkins in the dryer this morning (my husband is a waiter. he brings these things home allllllll the time) and I laughed a little about it when yesterday I would have been furious. I would have had that dialogue in my head all about “Why can’t he leave those at work! How hard is that? What are we going to do with all these white napkins with wine stains on them? Aaaaagggghhhhhh!” I would have said it in that gritty voice through clenched brain teeth. I would have rubbed and polished that resentment right into breakfast this morning.
But instead, because today is today I smiled a little fondly at the napkins and just folded them right up. Moved on. Started another load of clothes. Let the dogs out. Got on with it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes me tick. Like, cellular-ly. How what I eat and when I sleep and how much I exercise affects how I am. I am the queen of experimenting and giving things up. Which people make fun of me for, and which I kind of understand since it seems like I’m always saying, “Wellllll, I think I’m trying no gluten again……” or “Yeah, I know I sometimes don’t eat dairy, but I’m trying yogurt. I read that it’s good for beginning menopause (which I may or may not be having)…..” or “No sugar for me! It makes me crazy!” followed a few hours later by nineteen tiny Halloween candy bars that someone should have never bought in the first place.
One big thing I have known for a long long time that I really really do need to give up is…..gulp…..caffeine. I never ever had any while I was drinking because it made me feel even more shitty and also terrifically edgy and jumping out of my skin anxious. Yaaahhhhhhhh! But after I quit drinking I began a slow love affair with coffee. Then more coffee. Then a fling with Yerba Mate. Then I went for the hard stuff…..energy drinks. Then last Thursday I had two of these big energy drinks. Trouble y’all. With a capital T.
All this caffeine and up and down and woooo and booooo makes my dear body crazy. It makes me (in my humble I’m my own scientist way) know that I’m not making my own energy. That things are waaaayyyyy out of whack. Because, just like with booze, just one cup in the morning is not enough. Suddenly I was making coffee with dinner for pete’s sake! I was so tired and worn out in the afternoon it was the only way to make it to stories and bedtime. Either that or I was just a fucking zombie and we were eating dinner in front of the TV again. And it was cheese and crackers again.
And I was also miserable. Does this sound like booze, but coffee? Yes. YES! Dammit.
But here’s the thing I realized Friday of last week: just stop it. Stop that which makes you sad and miserable. So Monday I quit caffeine. Cold mother fucking turkey. Because that’s the way that works for me.
And now today I woke up on my own feeling good for the first time in a while.
And really, it is time. Time to try to feel better. Time to stop using early sobriety for an excuse to treat myself like shit. Time to do what I know makes my body move better, what makes me feel steady on my feet. Planted here, roots in the ground. Time to dig deeper, to know that it’s OK for things to get harder. I realized after a long conversation with Universe-Sent Amy that I have made huge progress, but I am not to the bottom of the soul hole yet.
She said, “You’ve pulled off scabs. Big ones. Now you have to heal them and not just let them scab up again.” She also said people tend to relapse right around one year. That it seemed like instead of canceling therapy appointments and kind of dropping off the radar I should amp up my game and try going to an AA meeting? To keep my appointment. And get ready to get down to business because this could be even harder than it’s been, but if I reach out and take care of myself I can handle it. I can handle it.
I think I was around the block from giving up. Not drinking again, but just saying yes to the life check out. I am so sick of this shit I wanted to say. And pass me another cake.
But here I am, typing away at five in the morning. Here I am, keeping going. Here I am. Tears in my eyes feeling proud of myself for being so brave. For looking when the world holds up hard things. Having my own back. Feeling capable again. Able to help myself instead of lying to myself. Holding hands with my brain again.