“Be yourself and people will like you”

From pexel.com

I still haven’t decided the fate of this blog, but I don’t want to quit just due to inertia. If I’m going to hang it up, I want there to be an actual decision rather than one day realizing, “oh, I haven’t blogged in awhile. Oh well.” If there’s going to be an end, I want it to be definite. And I want to make that decision, one way or another.

So I had lunch with an old, good friend today. We don’t get to see each other often as our schedules rarely mesh. It’s been so long since we’ve gotten together that she actually asked me if was pregnant. =D No, not pregnant, thank you.

It was nice to see her. We used to work for the same company so she was filling me in on all of the gossip and news. We’re both cat enthusiasts so we spent a long time talking about our respective clowders. A good time was had.

But it got me thinking today – for as much as I say I have 4 friends, I really do have more than that. Sometimes life keeps us apart, but they’re still there in the background, the friendship just as strong as it’s always been. This particular friend has always been there when I needed someone – and I mean always. Sometimes she sends me random cards or candy for a holiday, or sometimes just because she saw something she thought I’d enjoy.

It was nice to see her and catch up.

Saturday I managed to stave off a major panic attack. I’m quite proud of myself for this. I was driving on the highway and all of a sudden my engine light came on, along with another light. I felt the panic rising. What was wrong? And more importantly how much was this going to cost me? We have some savings, but not a ton. I managed to hold it together and call the nearest dealership and made an appointment today. Luckily all of the issues were pretty minor – a brake sensor, a valve, the button that I push to start the car. All told under $500. Unfortunately they didn’t have the one part I needed so it had to be ordered. I go back Friday to get the last fix.

BUT. I managed to stave off the panic attack. I kept my head and was able to think clearly. Thinking about the potential cost I managed to keep myself calm, and not slip into the depression that was lurking just around the corner. I’m so immensely proud of myself for holding it all together.

I’ve found that most people assume that something big has to happen to trigger an episode – a death, a major financial problem, a lost job, etc. But I’ve found, at least with me, that most of the time it’s something little – or a lot of something littles. I tend to manage to hold things together through the big stuff. But the little stuff that sneaks up on you? Those are the things that seem to cause the most problems. The things that you’d assume you’d be able to deal with, no problem. Stub my toe? I’m irritable for the next four days. One of the cats knocks something off of the counter and it breaks (and I mean something insignificant), I’m depressed for a week. Mike plays video games instead of doing the laundry? Uncontrollable rage (he knows I’m irritated, but doesn’t realize the rage that’s boiling inside). Seriously. My reactions to things are completely out of proportion, but most of the time these things just marinate in my brain and people don’t realize what’s actually going on, if they even have a clue in the first place. What the shit, brain?

When my grandfather died, I cried once. I was closer to him than almost anyone else. And I cried once. I remember when I came back to work after the bereavement allowance ended my boss actually said to me, “I didn’t expect to see you at all this week. Are you doing ok?” I just shrugged and told her that I was fine. And I was.

It’s bizarre.

But, I guess that’s how I am. Maybe something to explore in therapy when I eventually go back. I’m still dodging that deductible. I should probably make an appointment. Maybe next week. Yeah. Next week……

That’s… just my face

I feel like I need to get this tattooed across my forehead. Just because I’m not smiling like a lunatic doesn’t mean I’m angry/annoyed/sad/mad/etc. That’s literally just my face. I’m not the kind of person to walk around all day with a smile on my face. Sure, when dealing with customers I put on a mask, but that definitely is not my normal state of being. I don’t know if I have resting bitch face, exactly, but I have resting something face for sure.

Someone recently told me that my “retail face” is really rather amazing. If I’m dealing with you as a customer you’d think I was friendly, personable, and helpful. These are not qualities I portray on a normal basis. I sometimes wonder if my ability to put on a mask – not just a happy one, but really any one – stems from my mental illnesses and my upbringing. I was always told to smile, to be happy, to not look so sour, etc. So putting on these masks is second nature at this point.

I can be happy, joyful, empathetic, sympathetic. It’s really only at home that these emotions come out for year. When I’m in public everything is bottled up and I show people either what the want to see or what they expect to see. I very rarely am relaxed enough outside of my house to actually show true emotion. There are some friends I let my guard down around, but that’s only a select few. (Mike has said I even use the retail voice on the phone with family and some friends.) I guess in some manner of speaking I’ve just been programmed over the years to not show emotion.

I’ve been getting at the whole feeling emotion thing. But I still don’t know how to show it. No, it’s not that. I’m not comfortable enough to show it. I just grit my teeth and put on the mask.

I’m new to this whole emotion thing. And I have to be honest. I don’t really like it sometimes.