My fatigue and stress levels are catching up with me. And it doesn’t help that I have been on prednisone for the past week, to bring down inflammation that was kicking the crap out of me for a while.
Yesterday, I thought I was having a pretty good day. The weather wasn’t as great as I’d hoped, so I wasn’t able to get out and about like I’d hoped I would. And I didn’t get a bunch of stuff done that I had planned. I had something of an outline for my day, and I really didn’t get as much of it done as I’d hoped.
So, big deal, right? Well, actually it was. I had a TFM — Total Friggin’ Meltdown — last night, that started around 7:00 and lasted till midnight. Not good.
I have been so tired, so stressed, so agitated and nervous about my work situation and my impaired work-life balance and trying to find my footing with my new job and new schedule, trying to figure out how to pay for the commute and lunch and the rest of my life… Routine is about the only thing that keeps me sane. It may sound boring, but routine lets me operate at a very high capacity, and it lets me get through my days without having to think and re-think everything I do.
I have a tremendous amount of energy, which is great. It lets me accomplish huge amounts of work, without frying my system. But when I can’t direct that energy appropriately, when I get jammed up and stopped up, when I can’t “get my head” and get free rein, then I start to implode.
That’s what happened last night. I was supposed to do a bunch of things with a family member who has been feeling poorly, lately. We were supposed to go out and run errands and get some stuff done. We could have, too, except that my family member wanted me to take their sweet old time and just enjoy each moment, instead of getting things out of the way, and then relaxing. They wanted to amble and ramble and not rush… to just savor each moment and enjoy the springtime, chat with people, look around, just enjoy the time we had together.
I wanted to, too. I started out wanting to, with a really positive attitude. Thing is — it occurred to me at the time, but I dismissed the thought, and now I realize how right I was — I got completely overloaded with the sensory input and there was literally too much information coming in for me to process. The spring weather, changeable as it was… the sights, the sounds, the movement in town… the sunlight that was brighter than I’d expected (I left my sunglasses in the car)… the tastes of the food we ate… the words of the people we talked with… the total sensory input all proved to be too much for me.
I tried to shake it off and chill. I went for a little walk by myself to calm myself down. But I was really tired and wasn’t thinking well, and the walk wasn’t as relaxing as I was hoping it would be. When I got back to my family member, they wanted to go home right away because they were starting to feel bad again… then they wanted to stop off and do some more quick errands… then they wanted to get a DVD… then they wanted to take another detour… all the while, I was thinking they needed to go home to rest, because they were feeling sick, and I didn’t want them to feel any worse than they already did.
I was tired, myself, and I was trying to keep it together, but all of a sudden, it all bubbled up and blew up.
I just snapped. Yelled. Really yelled. Raged. Flipped out. Threw things. Accidentally hit them with what I threw, too, when I was trying to miss. I took off in the car too fast and I wasn’t driving very intelligently. Then I pulled over and said I would just walk home – they could have the car, they could have everything. I didn’t care. I was just beside myself with overwhelm and confusion and frustration and sensory overload. The whole time, there was this part of me watching from a distance, wondering what the hell I was getting so worked up over, and why was I being so extreme? Didn’t I know this family member wasn’t feeling well, to begin with? And here I was, flipping out on them… over what?
The whole danged episode lasted through most of the evening. And it left me feeling like crap. Without getting mired in the details, it pointed out pretty clearly that I need to watch my energy, I need to keep up on my sleep, and I need to make extra efforts to take care of myself, especially when I’m taking care of others. I need to wear my sunglasses when I’m out and about in the sunlight. I need to take frequent breaks when I’m walking around in town. I need to keep to something of a routine and make sure I do at least some of the things I feel I have to get done — or come up with an alternative plan. I need to step away, and take a break to calm down, too, when I start to get out of control. I need to do better at this, for sure.
Lessons learned. I only wish I’d gotten a clue earlier.