Had a little mountain of a panic attack yesterday. Tried the phone call I’ve been sitting on for months. Got through to the first person, but I was disconnected on the transfer. Long story short I ended up shedding some tears and feeling autistic as I just couldn’t tell my brother what’s really bugging me lately. Every time I opened my mouth to do so, he started up talking again. The kind of talking I can only ever say ‘uh-huh’ to.
There were two good observations he made among the rest of his manic talk. One was that when we first moved to Rotterdam, my physical condition was very poor. I’d just come off close to a year in my chair from the RA and complications. I was SUPPOSED to take two years – 2 whole years – to do nothing but heal. Get my strength back, get the RA under control. That’s it. That was my entire agenda. Point two went hand in hand with point one; I tend to pile work on myself and overload. It’s my fault. I get through something and feel great, so I decide I’m ready to try THIS now. Keep doing that and suddenly I’m back at TOO MUCH STIMULATION and I’m ranting that I have no time to do what I want to do anymore. I suddenly realized that a week in which I was (1) cutting back on caffeine, (2) cutting down on smoking, (3) starting language classes, and (4) keeping up with everything else like exercise and cleaning, maybe making that first phone call to the counseling center just wasn’t a good idea.
Did my best to relax. Games and telly. My bro made Chilli Verde, a mouth-watering Mexican dish consisting of cubed pork and lots of green chillies and other green veg that gets simmered until you can’t tell one from the other. Oh, man! Perfection in taste and heat. So glad he spent time in Southern California and learned to cook from real Mommas at the Flea Market. Rotterdam has a lot to offer, but it’s shy on REAL Mexican food. Got some wanna-be Mexican places, but they just don’t quite get it. Everything’s just a little bit off from what it should be. Not quite the right heat, not quite the right flavors. My brother gets it right. All day long cooking for Chilli Verde or his famous re-fried beans. Always glad to know meals are so healthy around here. Otherwise, I’d feel guilty for having an extra burrito because it’s just so damned GOOD!
So it’s props time to me now. I did good yesterday, despite not completing the call to the counseling center. I got through a transaction and small conversation in DUTCH. Yippee! Even made the cashier smile as I struggled a bit but thank you, Goddess, the woman was nice and didn’t rush me. I’m trying to keep every little victory in Dutch close to my heart. It’s hard to keep trying, especially since most Dutch are multi-lingual and will swap languages as soon as they figure out which one you speak. I still have to concentrate to spell my name correctly using the Dutch alphabet! The ‘A’, ‘E’, and ‘I’ screw me up; ‘A’ is pronounced ‘Ah’, ‘E’ is pronounced as ‘A’, and ‘I’ is pronounced as ‘E’. But I’m gettin’ there. The second pat on my back this morning is for sheer perseverance, something I’m not well known for. I tried a fourth time to get my bio pic off to the ‘zine. Used my yahoo email rather than my personal one. It finally worked. What really made me smile was the message I got back from my contact: “You are so sweet to keep trying!”. That’s what she said: sweet, like I was a little kid or something. That felt weird. Good, but weird. I don’t usually connect me and ‘sweet’. Hard-assed, tough, intellectual…loads of other adjectives come to mind to describe me. Not ‘sweet’. But what do ya know! Someone out there thinks I am.
Have a message in today from a cousin of mine; one of the few cousins I care about. He’s coming out after being diagnosed adult ADD/ADHD with anxiety disorder and depression in 2011. I guess that makes one more family member I can mention when I’m asked if mental health issues run in the family. Uh…yeah. I figured THAT one out a while ago. I’m glad he’s getting help and feels secure enough to talk about his problems now. Most of the family are raving loonies running around like they’re one of the pack. I’d like to get a heart to heart message out to him but I don’t know that I’m ready to talk about it on my side yet. I do want to tell him how much I support him, so I guess I can at least write that to him. It’s hard to talk about mental health in my family. Even the cousin who took his family hostage at gunpoint when he was 15 wasn’t mentally ill. He just quietly disappeared from family functions and talk for eight years while he was receiving treatment. I don’t know if he was institutionalized. I think he was. Never talked about, never discussed, and no one EVER brought it up WITH him after he re-joined family gatherings. Just one more thing swept under that family carpet.
Rather fortuitous to receive that email from my cousin on the heels of a failed phone call to the counseling center, if you ask me. Like the Universe reached out to let me know to keep trying. I will. My first language class is today at 10 a.m. I’m hoping I’ll feel more confident on the phone after breaking through my reluctance to try to speak Dutch. A couple of classes where I’m corrected when I say something wrong and can get some practice in will do my self-confidence wonders.
Feel like I’ve re-set back to an earlier default. Overnight a lot of crap seems to have fallen off my shoulders. I’ve got less anxiety, less of a feeling of I gotta do it ALL right now. Back to the basics. A (Ah), B (Bay), C (say)…