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I was going back through my old posts because I finally downloaded the app on my new-ish phone. I’m sure that some people saw I wrote a locked post, and I’m not sure if it’s one I will ever share. It has alot of vulnerable Sass in there, and she is someone that I am just meeting. I’m trying to give her the space she needs to understand what has happened to her in her life, and that it’s all ok to feel what she feels. Yes, I know I am talking about myself in the third person. If you have lived with deep seeded trauma in your life and you understand why we do what we do, then you’ll know.

So, speaking of trauma….

I started another new job last year-completely different from everything I’ve ever done. No corrections, no healthcare. And it’s been a HUGE learning experience, in a good way. Not the BEST, but good, at least. There have been a LOT of changes company wide, and I have taken on many more responsibilities than I ever expected. Which is good and bad. Good, because I get experience. Bad, because it threw me into the “I can’t fail” mindset and I end up doing just that. And it all started because I got out of my much needed work routine.

Every day of the week is focused on a different task to be done. Which I don’t mind. Mondays are payroll, Tuesdays are billing, Wednesdays are setting up appointments, etc. When my role shifted to include more supervisory needs, my daily routine was rocked a little more than I bargained for. I tried to adapt and to make it work without having my mental health needs suffer…but that did not happen. In the past 2 weeks I’ve worked over 60 hours each week, and this past Friday into Saturday I worked 25 hours. Straight. I’m getting a deal out of it from my boss, and I’m making plans to go on a much needed road trip to some place I’ve never been-more on that later. If you know me, or anyone else that has any kind of trauma in their life or mental health issues, you know the importance of routine. And what happens when that routine is shifted, even the tiniest amount. I used to have a clean and tidy desk by Friday mid morning. Now, I’m lucky to see the wood grain once a week, if not longer.

Anyway, I thought I was at least treading water.. but this past week kind of showed me I have been slowing drowning. It’s not like I’ve been ignoring it, I’ve known I have not been doing well. But what happened that sent me over the proverbial edge wasn’t anything work related, but something emotionally related. Trauma related. See, most of you that know me from here for years have known I have been in intensive out patient programs and group hospital programs, all kinds of therapy with some less than useful therapists, and some even more detrimental medications. I know for myself that CBT-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-does not work for me. Like, not at all. So I’ve had a VERY hard time finding a therapist in my area that specializes in DBT-Dialectal Behavioral Therapy, which is a trauma based therapy. And I’m learning that Trauma Response is a very real thing that will influence your life choices and behaviors. And boy howdy did it do that this past week.

See, a very dear, very old Internet friend popped back into my life, like they always do. We have been Internet friends for every bit of 18 years, so there’s a much established history. And this person is very dear to me, in the kind of way that you would become a sister-wife. Not saying I am, though some days the thought does dance through my head. Anyway, we both talked about some very traumatic experiences we both have had, and for me, personally, it was like the unlocking of a great door to this emotional fortress inside of me. This fortress is huge, has walls hundreds of feet thick, is very dark and cold, and is surrounded by an alligator and piranha filled moat with acid and the thickest drawbridge I have ever seen. I even have some pet dragons in here. {Scene set, right?} Now, this person, who has been nothing but supportive over the years, somehow managed to see this fortress and go, “Eh. Challenge accepted,” not intentionally knowing what they were doing. Or maybe they were, I don’t know. We haven’t really talked in depth lately, because I lost my ever loving shit. Why, you ask? Because of my honesty and being vulnerable and my past traumatic relationships, I took their exhaustion from work as an indication that I was not worthy for them. My issues, yes. So for almost 24 hours I stewed in my own insecurities and trauma, leading myself to my first ever panic attack-yay!-while at work-even better!-to the point I cried so hard I threw up. Never in my life have I done that. Ever. So when I finally reached out, instead of going, “Hey. Hope you’re ok. I was worried when you didn’t text me back that I did something wrong to upset you. If I did, I am sorry. Just want to know you’re ok and that we are ok.” You know, NOT jump to conclusions, right?? INSTEAD, I went to the exact OPPOSITE and pretty much told them that “I’m just going to walk away and delete everything because I know I did something to piss you off and this is your way of punishing me and I can’t handle that so it’s easier to run so bye.” NOT productive. They messaged back instantly letting me know they just had a long day a work and literally came home, ate, showered, and crashed. And that if I had been so worried I can message any time. And I tried to tell them it wasn’t that simple in my brain, but It was so jumbled in my brain I just said, “You’re right. I’ll remember that from now on.” And I have been, trying to, at least.

So I go into work on Friday, thinking I’ll finally get the chance to do my actual job and get caught up on all the things. Oh, how wrong I was. There was no supervisor, no clerk, no management period. Ok, it’s cool. I know my boss said he would be in, no big deal. The clerk is on her way, well, “on her way”, so I wouldn’t need to be out there very long. So I’m trying to just get the desk cleaned off, paperwork in order, emails updated. Then the text messages start to come in, the drivers and floor staff asking me questions that I have no clue how to answer. And it just hits me like a fuck-ton of bricks: I can’t do this. I can’t do anything, I am inadequate and I shouldn’t be in this position. I’m going to lose my job because I can’t even do this one “simple” thing. Over and over I just repeated, “I can’t do this.” I ran outside, threw down my phone, gave a my glasses to my driver, kicked off my shoes and proceeded to have another panic attack. It wasn’t like the first one where I was immobile. This one had me restless, pacing, gasping for air, trying to sit, kneel, stand, bend-anything to rid myself of the panicky energy built up inside me. I paced, and I screamed-not paying attention to the other drivers in the yard-how I just wanted to be a peon. I’m not a supervisor, I’m not management. I can’t even do my job because I’m too busy doing every-fucking-one else’s jobs and I can’t do it anymore. To the point I almost went back inside and grabbed my stuff to leave and never go back. And I’ve never done that before, left a job during my actual working hours and never went back. Friday, man, that was almost the day. Somehow I was able to gather my marbles and just get back inside enough to settle things down. I was able to go back and kind of do my job, but, there’s always something. I was almost settled down and the panic rose again. And I’ve had anxiety attacks before and this wasn’t like that. This was close to mind numbing fear of being inadequate. Not the catastrophising I’ve had before from my anxiety. So I just went outside and walked in the grass barefoot, trying to calm and ground myself. Now, where I work at is a logistics company, surrounded by other warehouses in the area. The grass isn’t super nice-normal Indiana crab grass that hurts your feet walking barefoot, and a concrete yard for drivers and trailers. My nerve endings were so numb from all of the cortisol coursing through my system I couldn’t feel either under my feet. I knew I was walking on SOMETHING, but I couldn’t have told you what. I just knew my feet where making contact to some sort of surfaces. I was finally able to curb the cortisol and head back inside, and my driver bought me lunch after witnessing my epic meltdown. I also made a deal with my boss: I’ll work until 3 am, if I can have a Friday off for a three day weekend. He countered with: if you stay all night, even when the next person comes in, I’ll give you Thursday AND Friday off, both paid. I know I looked at him like he was out of his mind, and I really did think about it-do I really need a four day weekend??

*Smashes buzzer* “Deal!” Handshake to seal it.

So I worked 25 hours, had been awake since 4 am that Friday morning {because I woke up in a panic immediately going over what hadn’t happened in my head and thinking I fucked up a really good friendship when in reality I haven’t}, and didn’t go to bed until about 430 Saturday afternoon. I went to the rock shop and bought myself this beautiful Opalite necklace, a beautiful smoky quartz to help with all of my depression and negative feelings, white candles and a stick of Palo Santo-that reminds me of my Daddy during the summer when we would go camping when we were younger. I visited my sister and had her smudge me with the Palo Santo, and cried to her about how I felt like I fucked things up with my friend and I don’t want to lose that friendship over my stupid miscommunication and my very real trauma response. And she told me that if they are truly a good friend my trauma response wouldn’t hinder them. That I am worthy. I told her I don’t feel it, but I’m too exhausted to really pick it all apart. So home I went, into bed I crawled, and I woke up to a couple of pictures of my friend with their cat all comfy on them. I showed them to my sister and she told me, “See. You ARE worthy.” And it made me smile and cry. So my friend and I chatted a little bit, but I’ve pulled back a bit to not be so…much. To not be so, well, Sass. And maybe I’m reading it wrong that they’ve pulled back, but I’m trying not too. I have to keep reminding myself every day we both have very different lives in very different places-geographically, emotionally, mentally, and physically. That we have withstood 18 years of whatever shit life has thrown at us, and we always find a way to communicate when we can. And that’s ok. That’s more than I’ve had with alot of people that I considered really good and close friends in my life-even recently. That it’s the kind of friendship that really does stand the test of time, and of my complete fear based responses.

I hope my friend knows how much they really mean to me. I apologized about what I had done and told them not to tell me it was ok, because it’s not ok. That talking with my sister and knowing this person unknowingly knocked on the front door of my trauma fortress bringing cookies and a warm blanket-even thought they can be the blast furnace in there too warm me up, haha!-and acknowledging trauma response is a very real thing and has very much been a catalyst in my foundation as a person. But that doesn’t mean I have to keep doing those things, that I am worthy of deep and meaningful relationships-friendships included-based on trust and respect and honesty. That I really am a good person who has just been dealt a very shitty hand of cards in life, and that I don’t need to just survive anymore. That I deserve to live, to love and be loved, and to be brought back into the light that I have been trying so hard to find. I think my Daddy would be proud of his two daughters, and I think he would be proud of me even more.

Thank you, my friend, for the cookies. Do you want to come inside and play with me and my dragons? 🐉 🏰 I have wine! 🍷🍷🍷. And, you know, a sister-wife doesn’t sound too bad right now 😉 Just kidding!