Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lamictal Day 28: My First Really Bad Day, and Some Observations About Coffee

Those of you who have been avidly following my extended family drama may remember that my father is catastrophising about my grandmother's situation, but that my uncle doesn't think it's that bad.  So I thought that maybe talking to my uncle would be good self-care.  It might do me good to get the opinion of someone who isn't neurotic.

The problem is, we're not really in touch, and I didn't have his phone number.  To get it I had to drop an email to my mother.  Mom wrote back that it would be a bad idea to talk to my uncle, because it would "enflame the situation when it really needed to settle down", that she only told us kids what was happening with Grandma so we would know what was going on, and that she "should have done a better job managing her own stress levels."  If I wanted to talk about the grandma situation, I could give her a call.

In other words, I'm an errant twelve-year-old who needs to be told how to behave.  I'm not mature enough to navigate an adult relationship with my uncle.  My relationships with other family members need to be mediated by my mother, and by the way, my stress is causing her to feel stressed out.  Maybe I'm not mature enough to be party to family difficulties.  Also, my feelings are dangerous and need to be contained, like hantavirus.

When I wrote a week ago about the need to deal with your shit, regardless of your "bad genes" or your "biochemical makeup", I was not anticipating that I would need to put it into practice so soon.

Before I entered therapy, I would have allowed my mother's view of the situation to become my own.  I would have felt guilty for even thinking about calling my uncle; that would have been an abrogation of my responsibility to keep my feelings to myself, because feelings just make everything worse.  This is what learned helplessness is: any action I want to take for the purpose of emotional self-care will turn out to be wrong somehow.  I am powerless to take care of myself emotionally.  Feelings are inherently toxic and need to be buried.

In therapy, I learned how to differentiate my parents fears and needs and expectations from my own.  In this case, it is not me but my mother who needs the situation to "die down".  It is not me but my mother who is overwhelmed by the stress of what's happening and doesn't know what to do about it.  It is not me but my mother who feels the need to manage everyone's feelings about the matter.

Nonetheless, my mother's email felt like a slap.  As difficult as this past week has been, as frustrated, angry, anxious, and sad as I've felt, I didn't cry until that interaction with my mother.  It left me feeling down and depressed for the rest of the day.

As for the rest of the day involved no small amount of stress.  A blood test for which I thought I had lost the paperwork.  My lamictal prescription, which ran out yesterday, was at first thought to be backordered.  Throughout it I felt irritable, at the end of my tether.  I reminded myself that it's OK to feel hurt by my what my mother did, and for that hurt to linger.

Lamictal and Coffee

The highlight of the day was a coffee date with a close friend.  I unloaded my recent family drama, she unloaded hers.  I had decaf, because of what caffeine does to me attention span, and I noticed as I was drinking it that my mouth felt dry.  That's can't be right, I thought, coffee is wet.  I took another sip.  Sure enough, my tongue and throat actually felt dried out by the liquid.  It was unpleasant enough that I decided to forego a second cup.  Alas.

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