I'm have an exceptionally bad time of it lately. Panic attack upon panic attack upon please-don't-make-me-get-out-of-bed attack upon restless-legs-so-I-can't-sleep attack upon work-is-sucking-my-soul-out-of-some-extremely-painful-orifice attack. Etc.
Just moments ago, feeling awwwwwwfully sorry for myself and internally lamenting about how I can't afford (time, money, energy, you name it) to find and start with a new therapist right now, I started to talk in my head to my old therapist, and wondered what, if anything, she might be able to say to me to help me now. Since I can't channel people who aren't me, that was a non-starter. But what I was saying to her was kind of interesting...if you find my tsuris interesting. Which I do. Hence this blog.
Here's what I was saying to her, boiled down: Everyone seems to have an opinion on what I 'should' be doing to make things better for myself. The less someone knows me, the more justified they seem to feel in telling me what I should do. (And before you start feeling sad or insulted, I am talking about people in the World Out There. I've been interacting with too many people in the World Out There lately, methinks. Mostly New-to-Me People in the World Out There. And I'm finding that these people don't just leave supportive or gently chiding comments on a relevant post, so that you can deal with them when you want to, and when you feel strong enough to. No. They tell you things. To your face. And sometimes those things are Really, Really, Intensely Stupid. I think I spend too much time dealing with smart bloggers, because I'm surprised at just HOW intensely stupid, if well-meaning, World-Out-There people can be.)
Anyway, about half of these shoulds (mostly involving the enormous variety of ways in which I'm not doing for N what needs to be done) send me into panic because I know that the people are right; these ARE things I should be doing. The other half of those shoulds (mostly involving the enormous variety of ways in which I need to handle my and Baroy's work situations or lack thereof, and the financial crises that result from that second part) send me into a panic because they make me angry, and anger makes me panicky, since I don't know how to handle it. And if it were possible to have a third half, it would involve the enormous variety of ways in which I feel I am failing Em, simply because she doesn't squeak loudly enough. Those come directly from me, though. No World Out There involved.
I suppose the word 'should' is just another way of expressing guilt. And that's really nothing new...not in my life or in yours, I'm sure. But somehow I realized, today, while talking to my imaginary therapist (and if that doesn't qualify me for institutionalization, I don't know what does), that while there are a variety of individual reasons why I'm not doing any one of the 658 'shoulds' on my mental list, there is one overarching reason: Because I don't wanna.
I don't wanna take a job at Starbucks so that I can get out of a bad job situation. I don't wanna go back to a cubicle job, either. I don't wanna divorce Baroy because he's not a good provider (and you'd be SHOCKED at how many people actually feel it appropriate to suggest the dissolution of my marriage over this issue). I don't wanna spend every waking hour taking N to another therapist or diagnostician. I don't wanna quit doing volunteer jobs that make me feel good in order to have more time for stuff that doesn't make me feel good. I don't wanna stop taking my daily walks so that I can do more freelance work (or take N to a therapist or clean my kitchen). I don't wanna go through the headaches and nauseas and what-have-yous that would mean getting back on antidepressants, especially since there hasn't been one that worked well yet. I don't even wanna get back into therapy. Just because. Because I don't wanna.
Which, really, you know, is fine. I don't have to do anything I don't want to do, and I'm sure that that's precisely what any (imaginary) therapist worth her salt would tell me. But she'd also tell me that I have to recognize the costs of those decisions--the costs being my continued depression, or unhappiness in my job, or concern over N, or disgust over the state of my house.
And, guess what? I don't wanna. And therein lies the problem.