Today, I drove home from work with a white-hot tension building between my shoulders. I was darting between cars and driving quite abruptly. I was irritated with every other person on the road. When I got to my place, I walked directly to my room. Within minutes, I was on my knees next to my bed sobbing into the comforter, saying to myself between breaths: “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do this anymore.”
I’m not sure what “this” is or why I can’t do it. I know I’ve been feeling extra stressed lately – with social obligations, work, and the never-ending deadlines of school, sometimes I feel like I knowingly bit off a bite two times the size of my own mouth, and now I’m trying to force it down.
My new work schedule gives me Fridays off, which is great. These Fridays off were intended to create a relaxed, wide-open space for me to concentrate more easily on my school work and get it done with less stress; instead, they’ve been frenetic and rushed and packed full of things to do, errands to run, people to see, all while trying to fit my homework in. Working later in the day Monday through Thursday cuts off some hours that I was used to having in the evenings to settle down and get things done – now, I constantly feel like I’m rushing home from work, just to turn around and rush off to do something else.
My room is a mess, with clothes and papers and books and random pieces of paper strewn everywhere, yet I feel too busy to take the 30 minutes I’d really need to get it in order. I neglect the only space that is *truly* mine because I’m rarely here. The fact that I live at home with my dad and step mom makes it difficult to feel comfortable and relaxed hanging here with my boyfriend – not to mention, I don’t have his regular creature comforts of a huge TV and a gaming console – so I’m just hardly ever here. I have no routine – things change every day. It makes me feel semi-homeless sometimes; I haven’t been able to cultivate my one space into a space where I feel relaxed and comfortable, and I’m not any kind of resident at my boyfriend’s place so I can’t exactly feel at home there, either. Of course I’m not actually homeless, but I often feel like I have no permanent space to just… be.
I always tell myself to slow the fuck down and take a breather, but then something comes up – the boyfriend invites me somewhere, I have a school obligation, a friend calls – and I have the hardest time just saying “no.” No, thanks, I’m really tired and I just need to take some time to myself please. No, thanks, I’m not interested in your pop-up bagel shop event. No, thanks, I want to stay at home and binge-watch crappy TV instead of going to that super cool concert.
No, no, no.
After I was done crying I just sat there for a minute or two, face still buried in the comforter, wondering what it was that I couldn’t do. I realized that in that very moment, I had zero desire to do ANYTHING. I didn’t want to move, I didn’t want to change out of my work clothes, I didn’t want to pack an overnight bag so I could spend yet another night away from home, I didn’t want to think about picking out clothes or grabbing my hair dryer or finding the right shoes or planning my drive to the conference I’m going to in the morning. I didn’t want to do a single goddamned thing.
I just sat there and wiped my face back and forth over the sheets, knowing that feeling this way – so stressed, so stretched thin, so obligated to others despite my own unhappiness – isn’t normal. It’s not normal to be so irritable that you can hardly think of a way to make yourself talk to someone you’re close to. It’s not normal to cry at the thought of having to do something as small as finding a pair of jeans to wear that match your flowery top. To stare into the mirror feeling like every bit of you is filled out in the worst ways. To keep wondering what the fucking point of it all is. All of it.
I don’t know what “this” is but I know it’s not working for me. I’ve said it time and time again, but I really think this is the point in my life where I just fucking stop trying to be everything to everyone. Nobody’s asking me to do it, and I obviously can’t handle it. I need to learn to take the time to make space for myself in my home, even if it’s only temporary. I need to learn to make the space for myself emotionally, to talk about how I’m feeling without shame. I need to make the space to slow down and just relax. I’ve been so focused on what’s going to happen next that I forget to take note of what’s happening now.
This recovery business ain’t easy. I go from feeling warm and fuzzy to wanting to rip my hair out. I know something has to be done. And I know now that this – whatever this is – just isn’t going to cut it anymore.