You know you’re in for a bad night when even your most effective means for shutting down your brain doesn’t work.
I have this mental picture I use when I’m having trouble getting my mind off something unpleasant: I visualize a giant stop sign right in front of me and say STOP out loud. It usually works by distracting me and forcing my thoughts to go in another direction. However, last night was one of the worst I’ve had in a long time—I was wide awake till after one AM—and when I tried to utilize my ace-in-the-hole, the letters were all scrambled and they slid to the bottom of the stop sign in a heap.
What the hell??!
This has never happened before. With few exceptions, this has been a reliable way to divert my thoughts from the endless loop they get caught in sometimes, and I couldn’t make it work to save my soul. I tried multiple times and just could NOT unscramble the letters. Which meant going around and around with the same theme and being unable to think of something less disturbing than “I’m running out of unemployment. We’re going to be homeless in another month. I’m running out of unemployment. I can’t find a job and there are no extensions any more. Where are we going to go?”
The bitch of it is, I’m not catastrophizing here. I’ll be out of benefits by the end of this month, and there is no way we can even afford an apartment on Will’s Social Security check. Yes, I have the writing job, but that’s not going to be steady enough to keep the wolf away from the door we won’t have much longer. I don’t know what we’re going to do. There is no Plan B. I’ve always had a Plan B, but now I’m fresh out of ideas and the panic is perilously close to the surface.
So last night I lay in bed, trying to pray, trying to avoid boarding the crazy train, trying to make myself STOP, and failing utterly. Well, I’m not exactly crazy—at least not yet—but the stress level goes up exponentially with each week I go without a regular job. It’s hard to look into my husband’s eyes and not have a resolution to this crisis which threatens us both. He doesn’t deserve this. Hell, even I don’t deserve it.
But of course, I blame myself for it. Who else is there to blame? Yes, I know I can’t turn the clock back and be young again. I can’t get rid of my mental illness, even though it’s reasonably well-managed now. I can’t go back into nursing, nor can I make something out of nothing. Almost every job I’ve looked at requires the ability to multi-task and manage competing priorities, and everything is fast-paced…..and those are things I cannot handle.
Somewhere, there must be a nice little job where I can sit in a quiet office and do data entry all day. I don’t care about the pay, I don’t even care if it’s boring; I just need something that’s low-stress and that I can leave at the door when I go home. Something that keeps a roof over our heads, even though it won’t be this roof. And something that suits a scrambled brain which doesn’t know when to STOP.