Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pushing at the edge of my comfort zone ~ Post # 140

The grocery store. CVS. Target. I can go into these 3 places without too much of a problem, most days.  I have to plan the time of day I want to go.  I want to go when I think the fewest number of people will be there.  I look at the CVS ad online and if they have things on sale that I need I make a list and I dash in and out. Target is one of my favorite stores and I get my prescriptions there.  Sometimes I just zip right over to the pharmacy and zip out but sometimes, if the store is not too busy I can look around.  If I want to buy something from the Target store I do that shopping first and I then go to the pharmacy and I can pay for all my purchases there when I pay for my prescriptions.  The pharmacy tech is really nice, I don't know her name yet she is a "safe person." Her kindness is genuine and you can feel it. That keeps me from having to stand in line at the front registers.  Standing in line is difficult for me, people in front of me and people behind me. I feel trapped. Get that I'm having a heart attack feeling.  The grocery store is the easiest if I go when it is not too busy although sometimes I put off a trip to the store for a week or more when I am out of something and not having a good week. Before I became sick I would often go to the store every day.  I haven't been to WalMart in I can't even remember when.  And I haven't been to church or in a library in even longer. They used to be my safest "safe places."   I know this sounds like absolutely nothing but this week I talked to my old boss Cindi and my friend Zetta, both library branch heads. In MY life that is a big enormous deal.  The few times I have talked to people on the phone other than my family or therapist I just get so tension filled I can barely talk.  In person, like at the TX Mental Health Office, I really have a hard time talking, as in I can barely get words out or make sense, between my hearing impairment and anxiety I have a hard time understanding what they say to me, and remembering what I have been told? Hardly. Never unless I remember to ask them to write it down.  It is just crazy considering I use to talk to people constantly and enjoyed it!  A woman I used to work with called to tell me about her brand new baby boy and I couldn't handle talking to her but for a few minutes.  Seeing people in person, just doesn't happen except my therapist and family.  I could easily be a hermit. Anyway, for the past 16 months I have placed holds on books I want online, my daughter would pick them up and I renewed my library items online but I messed up and had some things overdue, requiring a phone call.  If I had asked my daughter to do it for me she would have but she has a bushel full of problems too and did not need anything extra to handle.  Sometimes the little things are just the last straw for us and I have been worried about her anyway.  First I called East Branch Library to renew my items.  I expect the circulation person to answer the phone.  However, Cindi happened to answer.  Not long ago Cindi left me a voicemail saying she thinks of me often and wishes I would come see her.  I really want to.  I have been thinking about going to see her the past couple of weeks since she left that message.  She was probably the best boss I have ever worked for in my 40 years of working.  Anyway, she answers my call to renew my items and we talked for a bit...I had some books being held there for me so I told her my daughter would come pick them up the next day and then, it was so nice (and stressful, nerve racking, scary-for-no-reason yet nice) to just talk to Cindi, I decided I would go get the books myself.  I asked if any big events would be going on there the next day, programs, classes, book club, library meetings.  No, nothing would be going on.  OK fine I told her I think I can handle it, I will try to come.  I told her after I heard the voicemail she left for me I really wanted to see her and had told my therapist my goal was to be able to go in and see Cindi by Christmas. Cindi laughed and said well come in tomorrow!  The Carol she knows was comfortable talking to any body, comfortable doing programs in front of 300 people, giving workshops, going to schools to do book talks.   I wish I were still that Carol but right now the depression, anxiety and agoraphobia have too much power over me.  Even though I really enjoyed talking to Cindi for like a minute and a half by the time I was ready to end the call tears were rolling down my face just from the stress. Later in the day, I checked online and Cindi hadn't renewed my items yet and I didn't feel up to another conversation with anyone so I called another library where I don't know most of the staff.  This time Zetta answered....the odds of two branch heads being the one to answer the phones is slim.  I love Zetta to pieces, she asks me to come in a see her sometime, I tell her I am going to some day soon. She is praying for me. Hung up. Had a little cry. The next day I just couldn't go in to get my books at East Branch though.  My daughter went for me. This week I also had to take a form into the mental health place...I have had it at least a month and just haven't been able to make myself go but I am down to 7 pills and need them to see me and call in my prescriptions so I went.  That multiplied my stress level by about a thousand. That place is just scary, nerve racking, makes me claustrophobic. You have to go through this maze of cubicles with no windows to get where you need to go.  It feels just like a rat in a maze. I just don't like it.  I was so shook up, scared, shaking inside and out, anxiety filled that I didn't recognize the woman who came to the window to help me.  After she led me through the maze to her office and she asked a few questions she said didn't you use to work at the library? Weren't we neighbors? and I told her yes, but I still didn't recognize her until she said she was William's mom.  It was such a relief to know who she was, to feel like I had a friend there but I felt bad that I didn't recognize this woman. I had always enjoyed talking to when she came in the library or I ran into her while walking my dog at the apartment complex where we both lived.  I used to talk to her several times a week.  She has a brother who is agoraphobic so I know she understands that I was just mentally somewhere else trying to keep it together enough to not run out of the building and trying to answer her questions while feeling like I am having a heart attack.  For people who don't have these kinds of problems I know it is impossible to understand but it was just so stressful to be in that office for 10 minutes I just went to the car and bawled.  I think I am a long way from the broken person that entered the mental hospital last year though.  This week I had to go to the grocery store, I didn't have a choice, and I was way stressed out anyway, but I did it.  I wasn't able to talk to the checker even though she was chatty so I just nodded alot. This week I also took my son to the hospital for an x-ray.  A hospital is definitely not one of my most comfortable places, and people are everywhere.  I am really uncomfortable with people all around me, but with my son with me I can go and do whatever I have to.  Then after the hospital I took my son to his Dr's office to drop off the disk the x-ray tech gave him. My son was going to be in there for just a minute making an appointment, but it was about 104 outside and my car's a/c is broken so I went in the office with him.  Only one person is in the waiting room ..... my ex-husband.  Are we having fun yet? Between talking to Cindi and Zetta, going to the mental health office, the hospital and Dr's office, and then going to the grocery store I knew I deserved flowers so I got some at the grocery store. This week I was WAY overloaded on seeing people, going places and talking on the phone. Other than babysitting my granddaughter I think I won't leave my house for a month or two.  Maybe until after Christmas.
Yes, these are the same flowers I posted yesterday but
they bring me so much pleasure I wanted to post them again.


~It's Just Me~ said...

I wanted to tell you, I think you are very, very brave. That you are still fighting to have control of your fears, not giving in and letting them rule over you all the time is proof of that. {{{Hugs}}}

Carol said...

Thank you for that sweet comment. We all just do what we have to do to the extent we can. And that is enough. I feel like i probably whine too much but venting is the purpose of this blog. That someone I do not know would take the time to leave a supportive comment means just an awful lot to me. Thank you and God bless kind people like you. :)