I was fine when I woke-- not great, but nothing's been really bad the last few weeks. Sunday can be a bit iffy as I do some of my least-favorite chores. But things seemed normal.
I'm eating breakfast, and all of a sudden I realize that the (metaphorically speaking) barometric pressure in my head just plummeted. Bang.
That's what happened, and when-- sometime between getting dressed and eating breakfast. Not exactly a huge time window. I have no clue what triggered it. Theoretically, we were supposed to have rain or showers yesterday, but the sky was cloudless and blue, it got up around 90 which is hot, but not abnormal for the time of year, humidity was in the 'comfortable' range. There's nothing going on in my life I could finger as a trigger. Talk about mysteries...
There it was, and the sense of the bell jar atop me was palpable. I ran my cognitive scripts, I focused on the Steps, but it all felt utterly arid and futile. My partner knew something was wrong, and asked me at one point if I was okay, and I slid past it, on the theory of 'talking about it owns it and makes it powerful,' but by mid-afternoon there was no point in denying it, so we talked.
My partner, I should note for the one-point-four strangers who ever read this blog, is a professional in the addiction treatment field. The #xa version of the Steps comes naturally, so together we nailed this: "This is like a late-recovery phenomenon that a lot of people experience in the Steps. The 'pothole' thing, when stuff has been going well."
And it was a kind of detached "lightbulb" recognition. Yep. That sense of "Things have been going so well, I'm entitled to uninterrupted continuation of that..." and then the shocking resentment and frustration with the realization that the downs are still going to occur, and I'll still have to deal with them.
And on that same detached level, it was clear then that the script needed was the "I only have to deal with this for THIS twenty-four hours, that's it." And the reminder that I can do that, and that it's worked before. So I ran it. Didn't seem to help. I went back to the desk, and kept working, the only vaguely constructive choice.
A little while later, we went to pick up carry-out for dinner. That was odd, too, because under the bell jar with anxiety-brain in full cry, the choice was one of: "Either I let my partner go pick up the take-away alone, which will result in a fatal auto accident and me never seeing them again, OR I go along, and thus lose the exact amount of time I need to cross this desk work off the List and it still hangs over me and keeps me anxious and guilty for not getting it done."
Totally irrational choice, but that's the thinking process, and I knew it was irrational even while I was feeling it. Very strange. But I thought about it, and recognized that of the two fears, the one about the fatal auto accident was more irrational and less likely to actually happen, whereas the losing-time one was more reality-based. So I made a conscious decision to NOT feed that one, and said I'd go along to pick up dinner.
We had a good laugh, in the car, when I exposed that thinking process. And drove along to the restaurant, with me still trying not to encourage the fears that I'm on the edge of a long walk with the black dog. Got our carryout, and started back.
Halfway back the weight lifted, the bell jar shattered, the black dog ran off. I could feel it. Almost like a switch closing, it was that abrupt, that perceptible. Just... gone.
I don't know. I just do not know. It was one of the weirder experiences of my recent life, but I'm super-grateful. I chalk it up to the Steps practice, but hell, it could be random neurons firing in the endocrine system playing hormonal games, or some strange atmospheric condition or spirits from beyond or any other thing. For now, though, I'll go with the Steps and gratitude