On today’s episode of Crazy Coaster, we find that yesterday’s giant hill up, the one that provided a panoramic view of human kindness, is followed by a giant drop that has everyone scared and vomiting. Quite literally on both. I don’t know if I caught something, ate something, or created something, but my body completely forgot how to digest food last night and today. I got out of bed this morning to do the 6 am exercise which ended up being an ab workout while hunched over the toilet. I had to call in sick to work because leaving would have been a very bad idea, and laid in bed most of the day while old demons came in to check on me. Here is a random selection of some of the things they had to say.
“You know you’re letting everyone down by not being at work, and you’re totally going to get fired, which means that you’ll be homeless and destitute and will die alone. Also, what were you thinking last night by not injecting some humor into that post; you totally exposed yourself and everyone saw you naked and they’re pointing and laughing. And another thing, you’re probably sick because you don’t take care of yourself and you act like a child. So essentially, you’re an unemployed, fat, naked baby. Just give up.”
The physical chaos has just subsided, and after a good talk with Coach Sara, the mental chaos is getting itself together. Those dark thoughts are like evil sheep that got out of their soul cage, and some thought and human connection has lassoed them back in a bit. In talking with Sara, I realized that those voices are on auto-loop. They’re all the bad things I’m constantly telling myself, that I’m often motivated by, and today’s lack of activity and distraction turned their volume up to a roar.
I got off the phone with her, did a little yoga and some meditation, and I feel better now. I’ve felt ungrounded this whole month like I’ve been floating instead of having my feet squarely on land. And I’m pretty sure it’s because I haven’t had my normal vices, my anchors in the day. Instead, I’ve been floating out to sea. Now I know that these tasks are becoming the new anchor; the things that I can hold on to when the waves make me nauseated, something that provides safety without a cost, comfort without owing bits of my soul. So with the writing of this post, I’m lassoing the evil sheep back into their pin and turning down the volume on that incredibly annoying tape loop. I also think it’s time for solid food, so this coaster is back on track.
3 things I’m grateful for:
Today I’m going to list four things instead of three because these seriously got me through a fairly rough day at sea:
1) These 5 happiness tasks
2) Coach Sara
3) Ginger tea
4) Indoor plumbing
I got a pretty good core workout throughout the day. After Hurricane Tummy finally passed, I was able to do about 20 minutes of light yoga. It actually felt pretty nice to move around.
15 minutes. It was hard not focusing on that internal monologue that had been getting so much attention today, and instead I tried to focus on the cricket outside my window. That cricket is the fifth thing I’m grateful for.
Random act of kindness
The connected feeling from yesterday has brought a little bit of sorrow with it that I’ve had a hard time shaking. It was a shared experience of struggle and loss. Today I really wanted a shared experience of joy or giddiness or even just laughter. But I couldn’t shake the sorrow—it lingered like broth on a beard (if you don’t know, brothy soup really loves to linger on beards. It’s a thing). And all I could think about was how self-involved I’ve been in my mourning of MawMaw. I haven’t thought enough about how it might be affecting others, especially my grandfather. He and I have a tough relationship, and I haven’t reached out to him much, and phone calls with him are difficult because he can’t hear that well. So today I wrote him a letter. It had nothing significant to say, but if he’s feeling lonely, I hope it provides some relief.
Reflect on something good that happened
Coach Sara had me take a test a few days ago that has to be professionally administered and evaluated. The “assessment” asked you about 80 questions and was meant to determine what category of thoughts you sit around in during the day, and which category is your go-to guy when stressed. Ostensibly, the purpose of this evening’s phone call with Sara was to hear the results of the test.
I am incredibly suspicious of three things: 1) people that look over my head when they’re talking to me; 2) Italian menus that don’t list every ingredient in a dish (because they are very often hiding the disgusting duo—mushrooms and olives); 3) anything that divides up human experience into categories. This “assessment” sat squarely in number 3 (and maybe a little in number 1 depending on where Sara was looking when she was on the phone). It rings of Scientology and new age easy answers.
I went into with as much an open mind as I could muster. I wouldn’t say I drank the kool-aid, but I definitely took a big sip. It helped break down all of these complicated thoughts into manageable chunks that I could sort out better. On a day when I really needed the help, a whole herd of evil sheep became manageable groups that I could lasso one by one. While the chat was to talk about these questions I answered three days ago, it ended up being a remarkable tool in sifting through the muck. Now I have a name for these thought-demons, something I can call them when they crop up again. And there’s power in a name–just ask Rumpelstiltskin.