Last weekend was a horrible one for me. I can’t say it came as a shock since I had been dreading it for awhile. What I think surprised me is how it has made me feel days later. I woke up this morning with a full blown panic attack because of the thoughts running through my head.
What did I dread? A presentation I had to give (weak on my part, everyone else was great). Friends I hadn’t seen since the last time we kind of argued back in March (person is even more angry at me now). Being around booze (failed that in the worst way possible). Being back in Portland (sad and wanted to hide). Seeing someone I really like who isn’t interested in me and how I would handle it (worst way possible). Keeping up my energy (surprisingly okay). Being away from work and things going on (okay because everything else was a mess). Not being able to escape since I was going to be on a mountain (avoided the temptation to walk out of the lodge and into a snow bank). I didn’t handle any of it very well. As a matter of fact, I think it was actually worse than what I expected.
I keep saying to a few people that I have lost a sense of who I am over this past year. There are a lot of reasons why I make that comment. I guess the primary reason is I no longer cope with things in the same way as before. I don’t feel as strong.Things I used to hold important and core to who I am are much harder to find. I can’t shake things off the way like I did before.
I woke up this morning in a panic that maybe I have lost that sense because *this* is who I am now. Maybe I am this person who is no longer as considerate as before. Maybe I am this person who ignores the people who have stood by my side for years and takes it for granted. Maybe I am this person who says hurtful things to people. Maybe I am really this fucked up. Maybe I am faking my way through my job and waiting for someone to notice that I am just a fraud. And maybe I am this person who finds comfort in the wrong things. I have done more embarrassing, hurtful, and stupid things in the last year than probably any other year in my life. What if this is the norm?
When I returned to Portland last Tuesday, I went right to Bonnie’s house and curled up on her couch. I cancelled everything I had lined up for the day and night. I slept. When I woke up, I couldn’t stop crying. I called Mary. She couldn’t even get me to stop sobbing to explain what was wrong. That was the funny thing — I didn’t know how to describe what was wrong. I was crawling out of my skin because I couldn’t get my brain to shut up. Bonnie came home later. We ordered a pizza. We watched mindless television. She knew that I didn’t want to talk. I was afraid if I said anything, I would lose one more friend. I woke up the next day and still couldn’t stop crying. I called a friend from the airport and made it through the conversation without losing it. He gave me some advice. I sent off an email to this person – I almost missed my flight. I cried during take off. I sent an email to a friend who wasn’t part of the weekend debacle but I blew off on the Portland days/nights. I worked. I cried some more. I called Mary from my layover in Minneapolis. Cried some more. Landed in Omaha. I cried walking through the terminal to my car. Sobbed when I got home.
I’ve had other moments since then of random and uncontrollable crying. Fortunately, I’ve held it together at work and in other public places. I kept it together for a friend who has also had a rough week. I kept it together when my favorite employee suffered a massive heart attack and waited to hear if he would survive surgery (he did). I kept it together when another employee was also admitted to the hospital. I kept it together when I was hit with more administrative issues at work. I haven’t had a sip of alcohol since I returned, nor do I want any. I’ve been able to focus a little more on work.
I thought maybe I was starting to forgive myself for last weekend. And, then I woke up this morning feeling worse than I have in years. I am scared this is who I am because I don’t like this version of me. At all. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know where to turn anymore for comfort. I think it could take a very,very long time for my self-esteem to ever return but that is a minor concern compared to this. I just feel horrible for all of the things I’ve done and said. I wish my memory could be erased. I need the old me to return as soon as possible. What scares me is that it will be too late for me and all of the people who know that person will say I’ve blown it way too many times to make a difference.