“Agoraphobe” is not a word. I’m not really sure why but it’s not in the dictionary and I’ve never heard a mental health professional use it. Also did you know that it’s NOT pronounced a-gore-a-pho-bee-ah? It’s actually pronounced aggro-pho-bee-ah, go figure, but I’ve literally only heard my shrink and dictionary pronunciation guides say it that way. In movies and on TV they always say it THE WAY IT FUCKING MAKES SENSE TO.
Right now it’s 2:25pm. I don’t know what time it’ll be by the time you read this but right now it’s 2:25pm and I’ve been trying to work up the nerve to leave the house since about 11am. Initially the plan was to walk into town at noon to go to Alma’s Cafe and have fries and gravy for lunch. The walk would have taken me about 10 minutes. Maybe 12. Not 15. I have $22 in my bank account but I can’t use my bank card because Madison lost it so I’d have to put fries and gravy and a pop – about $6.50 with tip, I’m guessing (but I’m bad at guessing these things) – on Visa.
I’m trying to think of a good analogy for my thought process on days like today but I can’t really think of one. Maybe you can if I explain it well enough.
The idea always seems so simple.
1. Walk into town. (Issue: construction workers everywhere.)
2. Go to Alma’s where I’ve been 50 times. (Easy peasy.)
3. Order fries and gravy which I’ve had there probably half of those times. (Difficulty level depends on who’s there and who’s working.)
4. Eat. (Not an issue. Used to be an issue; I used to be scared that people were watching me eat and thinking that someone as fat as me shouldn’t be eating whatever it is I’m eating. Now there are no fucks to give. Hoes gotta eat too.[Bonus points if you get that reference.])
5. Pay. (Big issue. Who pays for fries and gravy with a credit card? It’s almost literally the cheapest thing on the menu. They’re going to think I can’t afford to eat. And the tip. What if I don’t put in enough? What if I put in too much? Less of a deal, obviously, but then what if they expect big tips all the time?)
6. Walk home. (Issue: construction workers everywhere.)
And see this right here is why Twitter is a much better medium for me sometimes because I get instant feedback. I get an instant cheering section. I get an instant influx of troubleshooting and ideas. Now that it’s 2:43pm I’ve already decided not to go but if I’d have tweeted about my issues all day instead of doing other things, I may have gone.
Now that it’s 2:44pm, I can’t go because it’ll take me 12 minutes to walk there, 5 minutes for the waitress to come to my table after I sit down, 12 minutes to get my food, 15 minutes (?) to eat, 6 minutes to pay. That’s 50 minutes which has me exiting Alma’s at 3:35pm. The kids get out of school at 3:20pm which means I’m going to be sharing the walk home with a bunch of obnoxious grade schoolers. I think Madison gets out of school at 3:35 and it would be awesome to be able to text her and tell her to walk home with me but she has a job after school walking her art teacher’s daughter from the elementary school to the high school and she often doesn’t get to leave until 4pm because the kid wants to play or be annoying or whatever.
Anyway, let’s get back to the beginning. I started my day at 4:30am. I forget what I did between 4:30am and 5am when I started work, besides check e-mail, but since today is Thursday I only had to work until 7am so as soon as my shift was done, I went back to bed. I woke up at 8:45-ish, looked at the clock, turned over and went back to sleep. At 9:20am I heard Madison in the hallway having a fit about something which was weird because Madison should have been at school but she was home sick yesterday so maybe she stayed home again today. No, she slept in. By like, an hour and a half. And she was freaking out on the phone to her father so he could call her in late since I was sleeping. What she was really freaking out over though was her french project had to be presented today and she slept through her allotted morning computer time so she couldn’t print out her story. Blake was still driving to work so he couldn’t edit her permissions so long story short, I woke up, edited her permissions so she could print out her story, which she did but she took so long STRAIGHTENING HER ALREADY STRAIGHT HAIR which is totally what you do when you’re almost 2 HOURS late for school, that she missed french class and will have to present another day. (This probably won’t affect her mark.)
So that was my morning. Madison was out of the house by 10am and walked to school in the rain.
The rain ended around 11am and that’s when I got this fries & gravy idea stuck in my head. I wish I knew where these ideas came from because they are really fucking stressful and I’ve already had a really really terrible mental health week.
So I have to psych myself up for leaving the house by myself (and other times with other people, but not as often and not to the same extent) so my gameplan was to wash my hair and give myself an hour to work up the courage to first get dressed and pack my bag and then walk past all those construction workers. I wasn’t completely committed to this plan though, which is why I did not take any clonazepam/klonopin. I probably should have because that’s what it’s there for. I don’t know why I didn’t. I think I was afraid of wasting it by taking some and then not going, especially when I feel like the stuff is becoming less and less effective.
I went into the bathroom and peed and in doing so I spotted the empty box of hair dye that Madison left open on the counter. After peeing, I went to pick up the box to recycle it and that’s when I realized it wasn’t empty. Splat dye comes with bleach AND dye but Madison hated the bleaching process when we did it the first two times to lighten her hair enough to take the turquoise dye so much that she refuses to ever bleach her hair again. Since then we’ve bought 4 boxes of Splat dye where the bleach wasn’t used. So I started looking at my roots in the mirror, made worse by the fact that I hadn’t washed my hair in a while, and decided that bleaching my hair would be a wonderful way to pass the time since I had to wash my hair either way and by not bleaching it today, I was only prolonging my awful combination of about 3/4 of an inch of ash blonde roots, then light pink that faded down the length of my hair to pure white (which actually looks really cool when the effect first starts but looks like hell after about a month) by at least 3 days.
I slapped on the bleach, set a timer and internetted while also going through the steps of leaving the house over and over in my head. I knew that once I was dressed and I was standing on the sidewalk I wouldn’t turn back, but it’s getting on the sidewalk that’s the main problem. Once I’m to the park a block from my house, my anxiety goes from 100% to a manageable 60% and that’s when I’d usually pop 2 Ativan under my tongue to bring it down further.
When my hair was ready to rinse, it was about 11:45am and I was starting to panic because my self-imposed deadline was only 15 minutes away and because my hair was wet (and I have a hair dryer, I just don’t use it for hair because my hair’s damaged enough), I wouldn’t be able to leave. But if I’m being completely honest, that was probably an excuse. The truth is that I bleached my hair to begin with to set up this situation. If I’d have just washed my hair, my hair would have been mostly dry by noon and I wouldn’t have had an excuse not to leave. I sabotage myself like this all the time and it’s like I have two people inside me, one who wants to go and one who doesn’t want to go and the asshole one is constantly being an asshole to ruin the other guy’s good time. It’s not like a CONSCIOUSLY thought “hey if I bleach my hair at 11am I won’t be able to go by noon”, this shit just happens.
So I was upset that I wouldn’t be able to leave by noon which causes more stress because now you’re a FAILURE.
I sat here and cried a little bit and then started the “it’s not too late to go” line of thinking (oh sure, NOW I take the clonazepam because writing this post is stressing me the fuck out). So I extended by deadline to 1pm. If I left by 1pm I would be home by 2:05pm, roughly. Hell, I could leave as late as 2:15pm and be well home by the time the kids even got out of school.
But that saboteur in my brain started working on me pretty hard, which you only really realize in hindsight, and I decided that my simple idea needed to be expanded upon. I decided that maybe I’d see if Brian wanted to go get fries & gravy too.
Maybe you already see why this was probably the worst thought I could have had today…
Brian is a new friend who I don’t really know all that well but I thought that since I didn’t get that sick feeling in my stomach when I was alone with him for 5 minutes, maybe I could be alone with him for 20 minutes. And get fries & gravy, which, is not without precedent. Last week Brian – who is a cartoonist – had a table set up at Jack’s On Queen, the comic book shop in town, and was drawing comics there so Blake and I went in to see how he was doing. It was the end of the day so I proposed that we go across the street to Alma’s for fries & gravy. So we did and we had a lovely time.
Anyway, I took my simple plan, best illustrated with a straight piece of string, and turned it into a cat’s cradle.
The plan now was more like this:
1. Contact Brian and see if he’d want to go. (Anxiety 110% because I don’t think I’ve ever asked anyone but my own family to do anything with me ever. I don’t have friendS, plural, I have like, A friend (hi Alex! Okay Ronny & Deanna too) and I’ve never asked her to do anything with me without Blake. Also I’ve known her for 8 years so you can’t even compare her to Brian. I haven’t had a friend who lived in the same town as me since high school. Rejection wouldn’t have bothered me, then I just go back to my simple plan. But what happens if he can’t leave for an hour or whatever and that wrecks my whole window of opportunity? I can’t really be like “hey do you want to do this thing?” and then be like, “nope, sorry, can’t. Crazy.”)
2. If he wanted to go, walk to Brian’s house. (Issue: construction workers everywhere. Possible complication: what if he’s not ready?)
3. Talk about random stuff on the way to Alma’s. (But what? Is it rude to ask someone what meds they’re on? I mean that completely seriously.)
4. Go to Alma’s. (Easy.)
5. Order. (Harder in front of a stranger.)
6. Talk about random stuff while we wait for our food. (But what?)
7. Eat. (Now an issue because now I’m not only eating in front of a stranger but I have to also keep talking to them and what happens if he finishes first because I’m a slow eater? Or what happens if I finish first?)
8. Pay. (Still a big issue for all the same reasons, amplified by the fact that now there will be TWO people watching me use the debit machine/putting fries & gravy on Visa.)
9. Walk Brian home. (And what if we run out of things to talk about?)
10. Walk to my house. (Construction workers.)
I am SO raw. I am a very very raw person. What I mean by that is that my moods and emotions are always just below the surface and they are fierce in either direction. It is SO easy to make me cry. I’m convinced most of the time that even the people who claim to like me probably really hate me. Even my body is sensitive. I wear hoodies in the summer so there’s more insulation between me and the rest of the world because certain textures will make me want to crawl out of my skin. I avoid socks like the plague because I haaaaaaaaaaaate how they feel. (Although I have THE BEST pair of knit socks an LJ friend made me a few years ago that I love in the winter.)
Anyway, I’m losing focus here because Wes just came home…I just feel like I need to take so many classes to learn how to do simple things. No one laughs when you’ve been in an accident and need physical therapy to learn how to walk again but people sure think you’re weak and pathetic if you have to go to therapy to learn how to function in society.
I basically tortured myself all day and now I feel like an absolute failure. I suppose I could try again tomorrow. And at least this time I’d be starting with clean hair. I guess we’ll see what happens.