26 August 2009

oh details details details...or is that drama...?

I've been thinking about this lots in the last few weeks. I'd brought it up and discussed it with both my Jerry and my counselor, cuz I can be frank with both and because both give me good food for thought. And here are some conclusions I've drawn...

In the last few months, I've become way~more drama~oriented than I'd like. I saw the warning signs a few times, and sometimes there were flares and flashes of warnings of *danger.danger.will.robin.son* proportions. I wasn't sure if some of the discussions I'd been having were more of the gossip variety or if they were truly information~sharing {the latter being acceptable and the former being despicable}. I also was aware that sometimes when I'm under stress, I grow very detail~oriented. Sometimes that is a very good thing, but when it manifests in less desirable ways, it can overwhelm me and be very unhealthy.

A good example of that is when I recently was asked a very mundane harmless question, which I answered truthfully. But internally, there was an entire dialogue that quickly spiraled into such a racket that I actually began to hyperventilate. I was thinking, why did they ask that, what did they mean, did they ask because of this, or that, or or or and oh! what could they have meant, really, truly? and should i have explained this or that or ... and there just was no pretty place to go once it got to that point in my own head.

Like fosters like. Usually if you calmly discuss something, then others will respond with calmness too. That's why arguing can usually lead to screaming matches, hurt feelings, flared emotions, and be extremely destructive to relationships. Drama breeds drama. I've noticed that sometimes, well usually, there isn't an overtly malicious intention when talk gets passed on. I think that most times, folks feel they are just sharing information. But what can happen, and so often does, is that things get misconstrued, misrepresented, blown out of proportion, and so on. Stuff gets stirred up, and more fuel to the fire, and then there doesn't seem to be a way to calm the waters. Indeed it can be a catch.22; if you try to explain yourself to a remote party, then that stuff gets batted around and can often worsen what was already on its way to being a sad sorry situation. Yet if you don't speak up, folks can interpret that silence as assent and then it gets spread that you confirmed what was erroneous in the first place.

I haven't really had to deal with this sort of stuff over the past few years. I did not become a recluse per se. But I did make a conscious decision seven years back when I relocated here to Mississippi that I wouldn't allow any energy~suckers to drain my life. I was newly admitted to a PhD program, new location, new job, etc etc. So I established only good positive relationships, with good positive people and refused to let myself be drawn into encounters that smacked of negative whiners. Then, two years later, it wasn't a preference of mine any longer.

It was necessity. My health depended on doing what was good for me. So I did isolate to some extent. Mostly cuz I needed to focus on me, doing what was right for me, and being healthier. I lived in a very quiet, peaceful place and I surrounded myself with restive comforts {teas, books, quilts, and music}. I took things on my terms, and so folks knew that if they did call my home, they'd get my answering service cuz the ringer on my phone was permanently in the "off" position. And really, what possible situation could anyone have that they would absolutely need to get in touch with me right this very second? Really? I have no children and have no dependents. Worse case scenario, if something happened to one of my parents, and they were dying in the hospital; what can I possibly do from eight hours away at that precise moment? Nothing. And no one gave me any shit about me taking care of me, cuz they were good peeps that loved me and whom I loved too. We cared and respected each other and fostered each others' health and growth in the best possible way...supporting each other.

So I hadn't dealt with lots of people, because I had the option of living that way. Over the years, I did grow stronger and healthier and was able to gradually start to establish more casual friendships and such. I did spend about two years with intense anxiety whenever I would leave my home, my safeplace. I had to work really hard to get thru the agoraphobia. Ya know how everyone jokes about how walmart's crowds can get on their last nerve? Well, I'd actually had a panic attack that sent me into a fetal crouch behind a bath~towel display at Christmas time a few years back. I wasn't aware of that until the manager squatted down in front of me, cuz apparently my "i'm ok i'm ok i'm ok" mantra coupled with my rocking was drawing quite the crowd which then made me even more anxious. Yeah, I'm that much fun.

Well, I'm more capable, most of the time, more often and I have better days, for longer periods of time, now. Sometimes, I relapse pretty hard. I do alot of self~monitoring, so most of the times, I can see the triggers and recognize them as such. And then I can do what I can to cope.

But sometimes, something blind~sides me. Or I didn't catch the warning signs. And I end up crashing hard. Or spiralling outta control so hard, so fast, that it is so not pretty. It's not pretty for me. It's not pretty for those around me. It's not pretty for those who love me, to watch me struggle and get thru, moving thru those dark days to get a better foothold and move on to a better place.

So, when I begin to overload...to question my perception, to think "well, it could be this...or that...or maybe this over here..."; sometimes I can get that under control and pull myself thru that sticky mess to a more confident sure area. Other times, that muck mires me down and time becomes taffy and the more I struggle, the thicker the morass becomes. The noise ratchets up and the dissension becomes babbling and then I need to be in a quiet place, with as few outside interference, til I get myself back.

I love my Jerry. I know he loves me. There are so many absolute positives, and so many mostly positives in our relationship, that it makes the not~so~positives more bearable. Life constantly presents difficulties, and even if I eliminate what I can, there is still some. That's life. Ya gotta take the crunchy with the smooth. And let's face it, sometimes the smooth gets bland and that crunchiness is not necessarily a bad thing. It's all in perspective.

One of the things tho that I do struggle with some is that Jerry has alot of people attached. I'm not saying that they depend on him. I'm saying that he knows lots of people, and is close to lots, and as such, my whole world has exploded expodentially with entire networks of folks that I now know too. This is mostly a very good thing. But it means that I sometimes feel that I no longer have the option of limiting my interaction entirely based on my own power. I think that for the most part, I'm ok with all that.

But here of late, I'm more stressed, even positive change is stressful. And when I'm stressed, I leave the hard~won moderate space and revert to extremes. Which means that I become detail~oriented to the ~nTH degree. It means that any dormant sense of paranoia that was dwelling comes raging to the forefront and begins to clamor and send all sorts on unnecessary warnings and cautions and I end up short~circuiting from all the extra stimuli.

I've meandered all over the friggen globe here, in saying all this. But my point was that I've been losing my healthy balanced perspectives and the things that would have barely blipped on my radar has become OMG*RED~ALERT*CRISIS~MODE*SHUT~DOWN*UPwiththeSTEEL~DOORS* and I've reacted to some things with increasing overreactions. I'm not proud of that.

Hopefully, I'm regaining some more balanced perspective. And hopefully my flare for drama will have run its course. And maybe next time, I can handle it better.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. It'll be okay Baby! I'll do whatever I can to reduce the drama in your life. All you have to do is ask or tell me! Love ya.


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