It’s about two o’clock on an lazy Tuesday afternoon and I’m on a comedown of a terrific, albeit alcoholic week. Travelling to the Emerald Isles for my birthday followed by a mini-pub crawl with work colleagues culminating in cocktails with my mother. It’s been a blissful couple of days where work and emails were far from my mind as I indulged in relaxation and community, spending a great deal of time away from work, websites, and writing which is a huge deal for me.
I am a workaholic. That’s not a cushioned word I throw around lightly because it’s a major issue with me and something that everyone recognises around me. I live for the work I do, mainly because it’s a major part of my soul that I luckily get to do for a living and I strive to do better, pushing my work so it can marry my spirit. I’ve come from being self-employed for years, powering websites and trying to make short films. Truthfully, there’s a layer of fear that I haven’t reconciled: What if I miss the next opportunity? What happens then? What if everyone goes wrong whilst I’m away and this sweet gig I have melts in my hands? I struggle to let it go. But generally , I fucking love to work. Think of a slightly more subdued Leslie Knope.
For this time off, I’ve stripped bare my phone from apps that would buzz and jingle, causing my hands to twitch and my mind to whisper feverishly “Just check it Sarah, one second won’t hurt.” Which, as anyone who knows, turns into an orgy of notification checking and red number popping up. Soon my fingers are flitting around the screen either in ecstasy of feeling importance or worry that I’m so far away from this issue that needs sorting. My heart in my throat, pee in my pants, and just panic striving through my veins instead of blood. An addiction made easier by technology which, by the way, is another blog entry for another time.
Holy exposition Batman, that was a chunky and already emotional introduction. But important to set somewhat of a scene for you viewers mentally. Physically, it’s a more vibrant story as I am stretched out on the living room sofa, a rarity due to working during the week, and my housemates being literally cats transformed into humans who spend every minute when not grafting inside, eating, and watching films….I think they’re living the dream.
Due to annual leave, the flat is mine for the taking and as I leap out of bed, throwing on pyjamas, I am enjoying stretching upon the sofa and watching Netflix on a huge TV rather than a small tablet (first world problems, I duly suffer.) The sun is lazily peaking out from the clouds, inter-spliced with patches of rain (which is a heinously great name for a band, you can have that one on me,) and RuPaul’s Drag Race is on the telly because I am currently in this whirlwind of an obsession that cannot be shaken, as noted here. And by some cosmic weirdness, it’s a particularly powerful episode where in a certain popular Queen (Katya,) is opening up about her anxiety and it oddly matches my mood.
With anxiety and depression, it takes a lot of effort to build up defences. It’s like Good Thought Ninjas smacking terrible thoughts down with large written colourful signs of onomatopoeia spontaneously appearing in the air. However, due to the cavorting I have taken part in recently, these ninjas are sleepy kittens, curled up on the beanbags of my mind (the lesser known hit) and snoring loudly. Exhaustion pirouettes through me.
I try to get my bearings and a thought smacks me right in the face:
Holy shit, I forgot to something for work before I left.
Which means I have to check into my emails.
Double holy shit.
These emails I have left abandoned on the road like a rogue chair by a dustbin. Now I must awkwardly walk by them without rushing to comfort them in my motherly bosom screaming “Sarah’s here you lovely chickadees.” I have to step on and move on by merely peaking into this one email that has the information and scurry off back into my tired state of being. I cover my eyes, looming in the inbox and typing blindly into the search button. But my fingers slip, letting me tumble off the Edge of Somewhat Sanity and into the Pit of Despair.
OK, so, I’m not going to call anyone out here because 1) I ain’t that shady and 2) did you not just read about how much I love my job? I would like to keep it – kthanxbai. And, regardless, this is entirely my own fault – I’ve thrown myself into Meltdown City because Ninja’s are sleeping and I am a moron who checked her email when she was off. I’ve rubbed salt into the mental wounds of my brain.
No wait, not salt.
This email was seemingly innocuous, a question, and my brain decided that this ordinary question and the sequence that proceeded, it was the biggest sign of my failure as a human person. My brain has decided to do high-kicks across the stage, in front of a power-point presentation of regret and pain, screaming the lyrics to a sensical song that is Trivium style wailing of: “You suck.A lot. YOU SUCK!”
The panic attack is ricocheting through me like I’ve been winded. Those high-kicks my brain is doing in ten inch heels are hitting my stomach repeatedly and causing me to feel nausea. That five spice has levelled up to pure Carolina reaper mush that is seeping into the curls of my mind canals and causing my face to bleed into an embarrassing blush that I save either for sexy times or nudity in public. Holy shit, I’m sweating, breathing heavily, and my heart is pounding as my future of desolation and death is the final of my brains one woman cabaret show set to a backdrop of male cats in coitus with their throats ripped out as they try to sing the entire back-catalogue of Slipknot’s Vermillion. The Ninjas shuffle awkward, look at the mess, and decide to fall back asleep you. Fuck you Ninjas.
At this point, this drag idol I’ll probably speak about a lot on this blog is in the midst of a similar breakdown on the TV because, cosmic balance and obsessive traits, and at the height of teary confession, my emotions are in a similar haywire and I just burst into tears, ready to phone up my Dad like “is the imprint of my butt still warm and fresh on your sofa cause I’m coming back father?” I am broken.
The worst part is that the email is so innocent. It was not a point by point description of everything that I did wrong and why I was the worst person alive. But through these glasses, seven words turn into an Odyssey of awfulness. I’m melting out of my skin, dripping on the sides of a wall like an ice cream abandoned from forgetfulness but it’s pulsating with painful life.
After three hours of chaos, the Ninja’s wake up out of pity and annoyance screaming; “JUST EMAIL THEM BACK AND CHECK.”
And guess what? It was a mere enquiry and it was all groovy. No help needed, my job still secure, my brain doing it’s curtain call and leaving the stage. I start to go into that post anxiety withdrawal, a come down of fever where it feels less fiery and more floral. The Nashville filter is on. It’s not quite right but it’s better. It’s better. Adrenaline is rushing through my body and I’m somewhat pumped to get over this shit but also wanting to nap.
I turn off my email, throw my laptop across the room, go shower, and think about my brain choices.
And somewhere , in there, I can hear: “Encore. Encore. Encore.”
But that’s a story for another day.