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Poked the Bear

by | Mar 19, 2021 | Blog Post

Well, I had a spectacular breakdown this week, it started with my new job, I thought I could handle it.. I thought it would be fairly easy and uncomplicated. It was …turns out I am not so easy and uncomplicated.

I have been working hard on my mental health, staying sober, exercising, meditating. But at the moment I feel like a crazy person. Let’s start with the panic attack I had at my new, now old job. After about three days of training, I mean really remedial training. I sat down to complete the corporate training online. It was pretty standard, lots of ethics preaching, be like us, Canadian Tire for a career and live a happy life. Middle-aged women, whose soul had slowly disappeared as their asses had slowly expanded. Lifers…lifers, That term seems extreme but the staff room felt like a prison cell, dark, dated ripped furniture, no joy, random people sitting eating their lunch with no conversation. No life, no joy, no ….nothing. I thought I can get through this, just eat outside, once the garden center opens I won’t have to train with Pete, the kind, older gentleman who was hired with me and could just not grasp the merchandise handheld computer. I was already helping him use the damn thing, It took me about two seconds to get it. I would be able to get outside, work with the plants and it would be ok.

My PTSD had other plans, you see PTSD is sneaky… it’s like that mean friend you have in high school, everything is great until she undermines you by stealing your boyfriend right from under your nose. And suddenly everybody hates you.
I think it’s under control but then I have these very dramatic explosions. Paranoid thoughts that I can’t control and that I actually believe …at the time. Racing thought, and physical pain in my body. That travels…one minute my elbow hurts, then it’s my hip, then my shoulder, and …and to top it off …a beautiful migraine, which will only be soothed with deep cold analgesic gel on my face…that shit is not meant for your face, But the stinging and smell is enough of a distraction along with a couple extra-strength Advil’s to make you forget about anything for an hour.

So I’m sitting down at the computer in the equally drab “conference” room at one of the two computers, following along with one of the other new hires. And it happens…I get a third of the way through, and I start to get this feeling of …no, nope…no…I couldn’t sit there for like one more second. The screen goes blurry, my heart starts racing in my chest. My ears start buzzing. The room is closing in. All I can think of is how to make my escape. Do I just bolt? Do I say something to someone? Which stairs will get me outta here the fastest without anyone noticing? I get my shit together for 2 secs. Got up from the computer, put my handheld computer on the conference table, and walked into the GM’s office. I told her it wasn’t for me. I gave some bullshit story and walked. I felt ok, I felt relieved, I thought whew…that’s over. I walked to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner and basically don’t remember that part. I know I came home with super random items because I was like a zombie.

Now I did not realize this at the time, at the time I thought it was just another spectacular fail, a walkout in true Louisa rebel fashion, It took me a week….a week to realize what had happened. I was thinking about it and guilting myself about it because I felt that I have been on EI long enough and it was time to join the land of the living. My mind had other ideas. You see I’ve been a bit of a hermit since I left Brentwood. I haven’t seen anyone except one other person, my daughters and Peter Pan. I’ve been walking, but by myself mostly, and the only other people I speak face to face with are the grocery store clerks and that’s it. In six months. That in itself isn’t so far-fetched with Covid restrictions going on. But it’s not great. And I have no desire either. I have been perfectly happy to sit in my house for days and do my own thing. I know I need to tell my Brentwood story but I’m not ready to process that yet. There are a lot of emotions involved and I’m not sure I can go there.
After crying and sulking for a week and getting some medical help, I feel a bit better. But not really. I’m afraid, I’m afraid that I won’t ever get better. I’m frustrated that I’ve been working really hard on inner peace and finding the self-awareness and strength to look inside myself. I feel stuck. And broken, unrepairable. I’m afraid that the people who love me will stop because I can be such a monster and say such horrible things when I’m having a crisis. I can’t think straight, my head spins and my mind races with unreasonable, paranoid thoughts and I believe them.
I’m so afraid.

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Louisa Vukovic, MA RSE.