I’m tired. If I stop doing, I’ll never get started again. Or, I will, but it will be like when you don’t get enough sleep and you have to get up for a stupidly early meeting or flight or something dumb, that sounded good when you planned it (theory) but now that the alarm is belching and the bed is extra cozy, and you have to summon up every last ounce of adult in you and force yourself to make the move (practice) from bed to life. That’s what it feels like.
So little sleep! Decisions are more difficult. Judgement gets hazy. Feet drag. But you keep schlepping through, trying to smile like some June Cleaver-y zombie. Just like women everywhere- you do.
Young adults live in a very weird time. The world is an anxious place. Internet. Instant everything. I had the luxury of growing up like an actual kid. No one under 17 had a CLUE what was going on in the their own state, much less the country or the world. Oh, we were occasionally summoned to the ONE television set in the house to watch a man land on the moon, or to hear about a new president. But that was pretty much it. The world was the street that you lived on. And it was manageable for our tiny, developing brains.
Today, most kids are not so lucky. My daughter is one of those. She lives with generalized anxiety disorder and O.C.D. She occasionally has panic attacks. She does not do super well in some stressful situations. But she is learning to manage that part of her life. We are negotiating this world together. Luckily for me, she is smart, funny, kind and 94% of the time we are each other’s most comfortable person on the planet to hang with.
She had her gall bladder out on Wednesday. People at the hospital loved her. She is rather pretty, charming, and funny. And low maintenance. And young and healthy. They don’t even keep you in the hospital overnight for that (which they SHOULD).
We came home later that day and she was ridiculously sleepy. She slept, but it was not good sleep. She ate too much, too soon (my fault!) and she got terrible heartburn. She called it “stairs” because she said it felt like little men were building a poorly constructed and rushed set of rough brick stairs up her throat. She also had terrible pain in her upper abdomen, which she called “flame thrower” because she said it felt like someone with a blow torch was standing behind her and trying to burn a hole right through her.
When she did sleep, she had terrible, upsetting nightmares. When you have an anxiety disorder like hers, these kinds of symptoms are compounded by about 63%. Resting becomes impossible, because your brain is on high alert for danger. It’s just a very shitty place to be. It’s exhausting, and it feels never ending and borderline hopeless. Just like getting out of a cozy bed, it takes every ounce of her will to muster up the strength and courage to fight that anxiety. I can help- but I can’t do it for her.
Sometimes I say and do the right thing, sometimes it takes me a few tries to get it right. Sometimes I say and do exactly the wrong thing. I have sent her into full on panic attacks and have literally caught her in my arms when she passed out. (That only happened once, but it was terrible.) I think I’ve mostly learned when to back off, just as she has learned when to tell me to back off.
We have discovered (this time I am grateful for the Internet) that hydrocodone has some pretty nasty side effects and that she was experiencing most of them. Muscle/body aches, dry mouth, terrible headaches- and this on top of everything else. So last night we quit it all together. And we damned it a lot. And then I got her some Advil and then we went to sleep. And we slept. I got the most consecutive hours of sleep that I have had in 5 days! (But I’m still tired!!)
Today, we have turned the corner. I went to the grocery store (yay! there is still a world outside!) When I got home, she told me that tonight she wants to sleep in her own room. And I think I can go back to work tomorrow. I will put on clothing that has actual buttons or a zipper! And then I think I can close my office door- and for five or ten minutes I can stop. I can close my eyes and breathe and know that she’s going to be fine.