I had a nervous breakdown. Wanna hear about it?

You know every now and then, I think you might like to hear something from me nice and easy. But there’s just one thing, I never ever do nothing nice and easy. I always do it nice, but rough. So I’m gonna take the beginning of this blog and do it… easy. Then we’re gonna do the finish rough. This is the way I do… a nervous breakdown.

The epiphany

Remember in “Back to the Future” when Marty starts disappearing from the photo? Well that’s me – that’s what was happening by choosing not to live engagedly or brightly or boldly or whatever the fuck. I was fading into the background of my own picture.

So almost three weeks ago I got in my car and drove to New York. During that highly emotional drive, on the verge of tears or in the middle of tears (I can’t remember and what’s the difference at this point) I had this moment where I said to myself “they almost got me, they almost killed my spirit. but they didn’t ha-ha *raised fist in triumph*” and literally stopped crying or stopped feeling sorry for myself, or whatever the fuck.

I haven’t told anyone about that moment because I didn’t know what to do with it or why it was important to communicate. Recently I remember telling my friend that I went to the grocery store and the check out guy was flirting with the pretty girl in front of me. Full on conversation and you can visibly see him light up because he is talking to this pretty girl. When it was my turn to check out he flat lined.

Granted, I don’t need to be flirted with by a 25 year old check out bro for any sense of validation or flattery. What it was was a moment where I thought “oh, I’m THAT age now. I am THAT person.” I am that woman who fades into the background. I am invisible. I am Janine Garrafolo in”truth about Cats and Dogs.” That’s what killed me, that I was feeling invisible.

When I am “on,” I’m on. Those of you who know me know that magic, that spark, whatever the fuck it is that my mom has and my dad had that just makes us radiate. Jake doesn’t have it. He’s just a nice guy. (hahaha – he’s gonna kill me) Anyways, we are sources of light and we shower people in that light.

When I have my light turned out, man is it dark. All my life I’ve struggled with finding someone who could turn their light on for me. Almost like what we would call a charging station.

I feel like everyone drains me. And not in a greedy way, I think source-of-energy is something people try to find naturally. I find myself being that source for other people. I don’ t really have a stable source. My friend Bre is probably the closest thing to a source for me. She’s my closest friend on a soul level. The last time I spoke with her, she was depleted. She had given – no, I don’t want to say give, I want to say shared because she is a noble one. So, she had shared her energy with her group because they needed it because this is a really, really fucking hard time for a lot of people right now.

I feel like so many of us are depleted.

Which brings me to work. For months I felt them take and take and mother fucking take all my goddamn precious, invaluable (it means more than valuable) energy and just waste it. After being quite vocal about me having nothing left – IN JUNE – I was met with “well we can’t give you time off during the summer.”

My manager kept saying, and I mean multiple times over the course of the last few months “when this is over the company will pay for you to get a massage.” Each time she said that to my face I would look her dead in the eye and say “I don’t need a massage, I need time off to decompress and recharge.”

Even for the 4th of July – which fell on a Saturday – I had to ask and eventually demand that Friday off because they weren’t going to give it to us. Instead the owner had taken a poll with the techs and the 5 of them decided to take an extra day around the Christmas holiday and not have and extra day in July off. I had been working 6 days a week already during the “busy” season, so finally they agreed to give me that Friday off – unpaid.

My last regular day of work there was where I hit my limit. I mean, I completely broke. Completely broken and with un-repairable damage, that they could never or would never be able to mend, even if they had tried. So that was a Friday. I went in the next day for my regualar Saturday shift, where I worked in the office alone and knew I had nothing left to give. I sat in my chair that day unable to do work, unable to browse the internet. I was broken.

I went home that afternoon and spoke with my family and with out question, hesitation or judgement we all decided regardless of the consequences I needed to go “home” to see them.

So, I got fired.

The meltdown

One of the differences I’m experiencing this time compared to any other times is how bleak and unhopeful I am for the future. Something happened, my light went out, my person faded. There was no point, or meaning in anything.

What’s the point of creating art? If the world is falling apart my stupid art isn’t going to fix it.

That is a true statement. There are some good pieces of art in the world, but how many throw life altering change into the universe? Not many and certainly not my dinosaurs-in-outer-space weird ass shit.

Art, my art, doesn’t provide a light for me. It’s more of a step in kindness. Making art is humbling because I’m not very good at it, so when I try my best and step back and take a look at the finished piece it’s more of a “well, I did my best.”

Yet, the creation of art inspires hope. When I watch Hamilton (or listen to it really) I don’t think oh I wish I wrote that. I think man I wish I could write something as cool, or appreciated or as connected to as that. Good art inspires other art to be made. There is magic in that cycle. Not necessarily enough to give an artist their own meaning – see: all artists who have ever existed, ever.

In addition to the loss of meaning phase of a meltdown, one might be familiar with another aspect – the anger. My anger has been out reaching levels I haven’t seen in decades. One thing that gets me fuming is seeing people struggling and not fighting back. Which is funny because, and this is speaking from the lowest, darkest, scariest, rock bottomest place that today during a pretty severe, debilitating panic attack I accused myself of not fighting.

I need $180 in the next 6 days to cover the rest of my bills. I have recently become a “food delivery partner” and instead of going out tonight to chip away at the $180 I had a full blown panic attack and literally couldn’t even get out of bed (at 5pm) for almost 2 hours. During the attack, when the pressure in my chest and the weight I was carrying on my shoulders made me feel like my body was going to explode I realized I was fighting. I was fighting with every fucking piece of my soul.

Every day, every hour of each day I feel like I am blindly hanging off a rocky, mountainous cliff desperately grabbing for a ledge to continue my rocky ascent to get me the fuck out of the pit of despair.

Within my bouts of anger at literally everything and anything in the world, I wonder how people haven’t overturned the government. Like, for reals though. All I can imagine is because we are all so focused on our climbs and not falling off that all of our energies are going into our hanging off a ledge that we can’t see or don’t even bother to see that this was a man made pit and that we didn’t voluntarily jump in.

Expecting another human, right now to be a source of light or energy is just not something feasible. We are all hanging off our ledges.

Walking on broken glass

When the world was closing in and I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get through it, I kept fighting. Right now the world is not my fight. BLM and all these innocent people that are being shot and killed is not the fight that I can fight against right now. One can not give from an empty cup. This is an age old lesson.

Randomly in July I made a mistake in not sending funds to my checking account to clear my rent payment. I was out of town and set up my payment but forgot to set the transfer up. When I got back home and remembered and checked my account online I was charged $50 returned check fee $120 late fee and $10 per day, every day that my rent was late. I flipped my shit. Luckily, since I’ve never been late with a rent payment they reversed all the charges, except the $50 which was fair, it was totally my fault for letting it bounce. I remember getting so mad though because I had the money. I even had the money to cover the fee. But what if I hadn’t? What if someone had lost their job and was scrambling to get enough, being set back $200 to potentially $500 IN FEES is absolutely ridiculous. It’s the type of anger that I get from loss of control.

It feels we are not in control of a lot of things. Corporations and money rule everything and we are all absolutely slaves to that. How many people stand up and fight against that? How many people spend their lives chasing the dollar so that THEN they can start living? But by god do I want to win the lottery.

I spent day after day at work wishing I could be home instead of work, with free time so that I could paint, write, or even lay on my couch and watch movies. Now that I find myself with the time I can’t enjoy any of it because the bell jar is hoovering heavy and low.

I started college this week. Monday was the first day. It’s all online. The weight of that, on top of the stress I already have tangled up inside was enough to send me into oblivion today. My cheap little computer is chugging along and doing it’s best to stay in the game. Today while working on some assignments, instead of getting mad at my little laptop whose space bar only works every 4th time, I was so grateful that it’s working at all.

I have two weeks left to decide if I’m going to stay in school this semester, based only on whether or not I find work since the rest of my tuition is due end of month but if I drop out, I get a $700 refund. That’s a lot of money to me right now.

So, after my panic attack and me sort of collecting myself again and continuing on I felt like the end of a road trip movie. The kind where the hood flies up, the car gets set on fire, a deer gets caught in the back seat and John Candy drives on the wrong side of the freeway, merrily to a Ray Charles tune. In both movies referenced above, our heroes make it to their destination and they are, all 4, all the better for their tumultuous journey.

The solution

Fooled you. I don’t have a solution, I don’t really even have a resolution except to keep fighting, keep walking on broken glass. In this state, yes there are things I have control over and some things I don’t have control over. Deciphering and weeding through each one is exhausting right now.

Failed mental health is a real thing and it’s a real, scary thing. I do know that I will be fine. While texting with my other best friend, Annie, she said “I feel like good things always happen to you at the right time.” I agreed.

I can honestly say that I have never been in such a dark place as I am now and have been over the course of the last month. Life is a very intimidating place when you’ve lost meaning and connection. I can’t tell you how it’s all going to be fine, but I am pretty sure it will be. Every day is a new day and some days I can get out of bed and fight from there and others I can’t get out of bed, or can’t leave my apartment and I fight from here.

Either way, it’s okay.

Thanks for listening. Please send memes.

Also, Casey, I’m sorry I missed your birthday, I’ve been thinking about you every day since and have been meaning to reach out. You’re one of my all time favorite people and such a great supporter. I love you. Happy belated. #codlife.

5 thoughts on “I had a nervous breakdown. Wanna hear about it?

  1. It’s late, I’m bored, and lonely. So there you are, following you is just a click, just like unfollowing, and no worries. Who knows, maybe you’ll write something someday that will be the answer to some question I didn’t realize I had ever asked. Thank you!

  2. Wow, the thirty day challenge took a dreadful turn. Nothing to “like” about that. Still, there’s a magical energy you built up, I call it “the Hand of God” behind the person who supposedly is ruining your life (like the boss) but is actually guiding you to the next stage. Well, 11:44 pm, past my bedtime. Good night Duffy. Thank you!

  3. Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis.
    It will always be interesting to read content from other writers and practice
    something from other web sites.

Go ahead, say it...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s