I am having a difficult time right now. Nothing is necessarily awful in my life. From all outward appearances things are good and one could argue I am ungrateful for not feeling sated. But, that one would be an ass hole. I am grateful for the good things in my life; I am just having a hard time.
You see, I am not a person who has an easy time with people. Relationships of all kinds are difficult for me because they require relating to and interacting with other human beings. And that, that my friends, has been the root of all my problems for my entire life. Interacting with my fellow earth dwellers has always caused me great amounts of fear and panic. Toss in a new high pressure job, a husband struggling with some inner demons, a demanding (albeit beautiful and sweet) 4 year old and I end up frazzled and teary-eyed.
And, as naturally and easily as breathing in an out, I resort to a few coping behaviors to deal with this stress. They are cyclical in nature and go like this….
I begin to crave cigarettes. I don't mean crave as in, "Oh I wish I could smoke." I mean crave as in, "Look crippled old man holding a baby and a puppy, get the fuck out of my way so I can get to the cigarettes, dammit." I confess, I smoked a few cigarettes over the past week. And then I felt like I was going to throw up my intestines. Blech. They are disgusting. Why, I ask you, why do I love them so? They do not love me back. They are Satan in rolling paper. I also resort to over eating when I crave cigarettes. And again, I don't mean over eating like, "Oh I think I ate too many M&Ms," I mean "Oh I ate so much cheese and chips and sandwiches and candy and pot roast and pie and anything that was not running away from me."
Then, I become convinced I am dying. Maybe fueled by feeling awful from the cigarettes and or gluttonous pigging out, I become convinced I have some form of terminal illness, usually cancer of some sort. I obsessively log on to WebMD and input my symptoms du jour. I then become over whelmed with grief that I am going to die so young and I have wasted my whole life not doing anything fun, which leads to…
I begin elaborately fantasizing about and planning my escape. It is a recurring fantasy that I use every time my life gets stressful and in it, I pretty much vanish. First, I will sell everything I own…house, cars, furniture…anything of remote value that is not tied down. I will have a liquidation sale. I will cash in savings and get a refund on the exorbitant tuition I paid for Max's pre-k…EVERYTHIGN MUST GO!
Next, I start the search for a used Toyota RV. I don't know why it has to be a Toyota RV, it just does, ok? This is my fantasy, so butt out. I figure I can get one these babies for less than $10,000 and with a little sweat (my husband's that is) we can get it road and family ready. Once it is tricked out, we hit the road. We will have no plan, we will explore every inch of this great country and Max will be a student of life. He will learn the ways of the world by actually living in it.
However, it does not take long for my neuroses to control even that fantasy…for example, how will I get treatment for my undiagnosed terminal ailment? I won't have a job and thus no insurance! What would my dear departed mother think?!?! Insurance was to her the mark of a successful person. The fear of not having insurance has been ground into my being from the time I could say the word insurance. Plus, I have never taught anyone how to read. How am I going to teach Max how to read? And Math? And what about money? We'll have to insure that RV and put gas in it and eat. How long will the money last?
From there, I begin thinking about the odd jobs we would get…but what about Max? The whole point was to school him on the road, but how are we going to do that if we both now have to work low-paying menial jobs while living in a trailer park in a too small RV?
From there, it all dissolves into a wishing game…I wish I would win the lottery so I could fuel this escape fantasy, I wish had a different job that didn't require so much travel/time/energy/fill in the blank, I wish my husband would fill in the blank, I wish my son would fill in the blank. And so it goes.
Then, it all comes back to me. Everything points back to me as I am the constant in all those scenarios and I feel it bubbling up, rising inside me, the self-loathing, the fear, the uncertainty , the discomfort and then, I start to crave a cigarette, which sets the whole cycle going again.
Here is a chart to illustrate what I call the cycle of crazy…
Being this way is eating up a lot of time and energy and since it is a vicious cycle that feeds on itself and gains momentum quickly, I am not really sure how to stop it, other than occasionally calling out, "Stop the ride! I want to get off," but thus far, that has proven only to startle strangers.