Thursday, April 28, 2005

Crazy for a Day

Today is one of those days when, if I lived in the city, I would have left the office and gone home sick. I say that because I could always take the MNR to Manhattan easily, but getting over the Tappan Zee into Rockland County is a nightmare. There's only one bus. It's doesn't run often. I'm pretty much trapped here.

For some reason I cannot fathom, possibly severe brain disease that my doctors have yet to detect, I got into a political discussion with G this morning on the way to work. He dropped me off at 7:30 to the tune of me barking "You just watch who you're handing your country over to." I have been uspet to the point of distraction all day. ALL DAY.

I can't just have nice political discussions with people. This stuff matters to me. I cannot tolerate certain viewpoints. I cannot just shrug my shoulders and say "What a moron. Hm, orange or grapefruit juice this morning?" And believe me, I wish I could. I would give anything to be vapid sometimes. If my biggest concern was my manicure, I'd probably be a much happier person. I'd probably still be married too.

I am so angry. I am so angry. I am really, really angry. I am so unbelievably angry here. My God I am SO FUCKING ANGRY.

I called my Dad, my favorite mental health professional, and vented a bit.

"What are you so angry about?" he asked me. "Is it just the argument with G?" Oh, how well he knows me.
"No," I said. "That's what's killing me - it's unfocused frustration. I'm a powder keg. G just set me off."
"That's not good for your health," Daddy said.
"I know it," I breathed, gripping the cubicle wall.

The thing is, I'm full of shit. I know this feeling. Every time I don't want to admit what's bothering me, I say that I don't know. But somewhere underneath, I do know, and I'm terrified of it. I've been suppressing anger and hurt for so long that for the longest time - like during all the years of my marriage - I actually buried Truths so deep that I developed psychosomatic symptoms, like dizziness and nausea. My husband saw through this on one or two occasions, and tried to bring it up, but I think once he realized that his behavior was at the root of a lot of my "episodes," he stopped digging. That's what we do when we dig, and find stuff we don't want. We bury it again and pretend we never saw it.

Thank God for therapy.

The thing is, I'm doing it again. I know I am. Today, after I got off the phone with my Dad, I went into the bathroom, had a teeny tiny little cry, looked in the mirror and said " Who do you think you're kidding."

I wiped my eyes, got some hot cocoa, returned my desk, and tried really hard to work. I couldn't concentrate. I made mistakes and had to re-do things. I could feel the anger boiling through my limbs like the blood in my veins, flowing viscously through my arms and legs like magma. My stomach was churning, my elbows ached, my fingers and toes were tingly, and I could not focus on my job.

It's 4:01pm right now, and this is the third time I've tried to write about how I feel today. I tried once early in the morning, but it denigrated into such nastiness that I felt ashamed. I tried again shortly before lunch, and found myself rambling off into multiple depressing topics.

At some point I took drastic action and went to lunch. And stayed there. I actually ate in the cafeteria, instead of bringing a box of food to my desk, something I never, ever do unless I have a dining companion. I got a tray of food, sat in an empty corner, whipped out the cell, and called my Dad again.

I don't remember the conversation. I inhaled my food and tried not to taste it. Our cafeteria is beautiful. I looked out the 3-story floor-to-ceiling windows at the pond, the trees, the geese, the azure blue sky, the puffy white cloud floating gently along... Chew. Swallow. Look.

Then I whipped out my cell phone again, and called this guy, who is not only a fabulous friend, but, conveniently, also a mental health professional. (I choose my friends wisely.) He wasn't there... so I pretended he was. I sat there at an empty table in a nearly emtpy office cafeteria and poured my heart out to an inanimate object. That's right, nearly empty. People saw me doing this. They thought I was really on the phone.

It made me feel a lot better.

I am certifiably insane.

The next time you see someone on the LIRR or MNR or in Starbucks animatedly conversing on their cell, ask yourself... how do you really know there is anybody else on the phone?

On the way back to my cubicle, I rode an elevator down three floors. A handsome young man in a sweater and baggy dockers, with a shaved head and a sweet face rode with me. I could feel his eyes on my face as I walked into the 'vater. I had been muttering to myself. How embarrassing.

"I don't talk to myself every day," I tried to say apologetically.
"Were you talking to yourself? I didn't hear you talking to yourself," he said cheerfully.

I smiled, in spite of myself. Amazing what a little kindness from a pretty boy can do.
"Good," I said.
"How's your day going?" he asked.
"Pretty shitty!" I turned full face on him, feeling at once desperate for someone to talk to, and utterly furious for having my emotional space invaded. "How's yours?"
"Really?" He said, genuinely sounding concerned. "You don't like it here?"
"I love my job." I said. "This is all personal."
"Oh..." He said. "Aren't you temping in... ah..." he pointed in the general direction of my department.

This company is just small enough that pretty much everyone in both buildings knew my face within a week of my arrival. Everyone - I mean everyone - says hi to me in the hallways. If I were a generally happy person, and able to handle random socialization, I would LOVE that. But in my current incarnation as a grouchy depressed misanthrope, I tend to stare at the floor when I walk through the halls, and walk very, very fast. I'm not surprised that this random cutie knew who I was, but I'm amazed he had the guts to talk to me.

"Yeah, temping in (my department)." I couldn't help but smile. I really do like this job.
"Well, you've got beautiful hair."

Now I almost lost it. I swear, that is a completely irrational (no pun intended) hair trigger with me. I am already in an explosive mood, and you say the most unimaginative thing possible? The thing people say to me when they have no idea what to say? The thing I hear even on bad hair days? The complement that has ceased to mean anything to me due to its overuse?

I grabbed my two-foot-long fuzzy mane. "REALLY?" I nearly shrieked. "WOW!" I laughed somewhat maniacally.
The guy stepped backward. "I'm sorry..."
I thought I might pass out. "No, really, it's ok, really." WHERE ARE MY CRAYONS AND MY PADDED CELL.

The vertically plunging tiny room halted. My stomach lurched. I prepared to sprint through the soon-to-be-opening doors.

"I hope you feel better," he said.
"Thanks, I'm sure I will." Over my rapidly disappearing shoulder, I threw him as warm a smile as I could manage. "I've lived through worse!"

I really hope that, someday, I'll be working here for real, and not just temping, and then, maybe at the company Christmas party, I will see this guy again, so I can personally mix him the drink of his choice, and find out what his name is, where he works, and if he has ever considered a career as a mental health professional.

After writing this, I feel better.

Thank god for writing.


Hot Toddy said...

And I feel better after reading you!

Jess said...

If writing that helped, that's great. Also, you'll see that cute guy some other time--maybe before a Christmas party--and you'll get to smile at him warmly and have a nice chat.

You're allowed to be grumpy, but (and I'm sure others have said this already) you really should take a serious look at the things that you don't like in your life. Our lives are too short to be putting up with crap that makes us sad. Being depressed can be more complex than simply saying, "I don't like this" and making a change. Sometimes, it goes much deeper. Still, it sounds like you know what things are bothering you. Perhaps you can't change some of them, but there are others that you might be able to. If you can, then make the changes.

Another part is accepting what you can't change. I know how cliched that sounds, but it's true. I'm a hypocrite for saying it, since I'm so bad about doing that very same thing. That doesn't change the fact that it's best to just accept (or ignore) that which we cannot change. Grinding our teeth over such things does no good--for you, me or anyone else.

Hang in there. Life has a lot of good stuff in it, too. *hug*

Tuna Girl said...

Oh, Sweetheart! I feel you. I just want to fly up there and give you a great big hug.

MzOuiser said...

Toddy: I would say now we're even, but I have a lot more catching up to do there. :) And nice pic!

Jess: Wow. Have you ever considered becoming a mental health professional?

Tuna: Thanks honey. I know YOU can relate!