Saturday, December 11, 2010

the time I almost moved, then didn't

Well, I'm well-rested right now. I had a great night's sleep and the world feels like a solid place again. But that wasn't the case yesterday. I was exhausted.

All night, I'd lain in my bed, not sleeping, turning onto one side or the other, hoping that side would be the magic bullet that would help me turn my head off and go to sleep. It wouldn't, so I'd lie there trying to calm my breathing, then turn onto my other side. The anxiety was there the whole time - thoughts running through my brain. Fears. I'm going to move, and I'll lose all my money and be broke. How will I afford it? All my neighbours will watch my every move. I'll have no privacy in this small town. There are houses all around me. I won't be able to walk outside and just sit and look up at the stars. Or go outside wearing my bathrobe. Or or or...

And so on. Over and over, a cycle without end.

I'd been planning to move. I had an apartment lined up, accounts with the power and phone companies started, friends agreeing on a date to lend trucks and hands to move my furniture. It felt a bit sudden, but not, at the same time. This was an apartment I'd had my eye on for a year or so. The person living in it was having a house built, and these things take a while. The landlord got in touch a few weeks ago to tell me the tenant was moving out soon. I mulled it, I added and subtracted numbers on paper. I figured - I can do it. It'll be a bit tight, but I can do it. I've been wanting to move, so dammit, I will!

The emotions started coming right away. Guilt at leaving my family when we were all kind of getting used to living with each other, sadness at leaving my comfortable home - and my cats! Good lord, I was goig to miss my cats. The apartment wouldn't allow pets and anyway it wouldn't be fair to take a country, outdoor kitty and move her into town. When I wouldn't be home all day. Also, there was excitement - my own place! my own space! a bathtub! and nervousness.

And as it was when I was in university, the anxiety manifested at night. I'd lie down to go to sleep and couldn't. And of course, lying there, thinking: I can't sleep and ohmigod I'm going to be so tired tomorrow, I'll be tired at work, I'll lose my job - it feeds itself. It's hard to make it stop. Make the thoughts lie down, be peaceful.

I took some melatonin. It worked some nights. But I'd feel groggy the next day. And other nights it didn't work, and then I'd lie there terrified. I have no defense against this. Even the pills didn't work. I have to just lie here and take it.

Night before last was the worst. My world felt shrunken down, scary. I felt like I was losing it - tired and out of it. What if I lose my job because I'm too tired? What if I lose myself, again? There is nothing the doctors can really do besides prescribe medication. Not being able to sleep is not something they can operate on. It's entirely internal.

Finally the moment came when I admitted it to myself. This is too much. I'm so not willing to put myself through this. I value myself and my sanity more than showing other people I'm so-called "independent". I value my job too much to sabotage my health.

So, when the morning came, I made some phone calls. I admitted my anxiousness, made myself vulnerable. To my family, with whom I usually set strict boundaries so I don't feel so much like a kid, I admitted I was scared. They said they loved me and they would support me no matter what I did. "Welcome home," they said, though I hadn't packed a single box yet.

I made food that was exactly what I wanted to eat - a toasted cheese and cucumber sandwich. Later, a frozen chicken pot pie, baked and warm, with beet pickles. I took a long walk along a dirt road with freshly fallen snow, hands in my pockets. (I remember reading somewhere, some time ago, that if you walk with your hands in your pockets, it is because you are in a thoughtful mood.) I played card games with my brother, who was also home sick from work. We watched The Office, some of season three. I talked to some girlfriends, who told me, "This is a GOOD thing. You're listening to yourself. Respecting yourself."

Last night, I slept well. I sunk into sleep like a rock into water. And just two days later - two days that feel like they held a whole week - I'm back at work. Taking it one day, one breath at a time. Working on trusting life, trusting that it holds all kinds of good things, and that they'll come along as I'm ready for them.

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