A few weeks ago, I was walking to the bus stop to go to work. I was preoccupied with my own thoughts, and just as I was crossing the street I realized that I was crying. This was especially frustrating because the reason I was crying was because of a conversation that I was having in my head. This imaginary conversation was one that:
- Never took place.
- Is highly unlikely to EVER take place.
- And even if it DID take place, I’m 99% sure that it wouldn’t take the direction that it took in my mind while I was walking to the bus stop.
I wondered why I was even having this imaginary conversation, and then I remembered … Oh, right. I forgot my iPod at work yesterday. This meant that for two short commutes (one home, and one back) I was left with the sounds of other people around me and the sounds of my own inner voice. Now, this is not to say that the sounds of other people are any great shakes, either. On the way home from work the night before, I took the bus home with a bunch of teenage boys who used the n-word approximately 87 times during a 15-minute bus ride. Now, if that isn’t an argument for keeping my headphones in and tuning out the world, I don’t know what is.
But the larger problem is that I can’t shut my brain off and really ever just RELAX. I’ve taken to having some kind of spoken-word entertainment available while I go to sleep at night. The official reason is that it helps me go to sleep. The unofficial reason is that when I’m left alone with my own thoughts, sometimes those thoughts turn dark and frustrating, and I end up reliving conversations I’ve had in the past, or imagining conversations I COULD have had in the past. And I end up getting really upset by STUFF THAT I CAN’T FRIGGING CHANGE. It’s kind of like having nightmares before I even go to sleep, and it’s really really frustrating. So I’ve taken to listening to something every night while I go to sleep. Spoken words are better, because while my mind focuses on other people’s words I don’t get preoccupied with sadder thoughts. And the more I think back on this, the more I realize that I’ve been doing this for a very long time.
Back when I was in high school, I used to set up one of my comedy albums on the record player, and set it up to play one side all the way through and then shut off. For a long time, that was side 2 of George Carlin’s Class Clown album (starting with “I Used to Be Irish Catholic”), but I also used to listen to Steven Wright and Emo Phillips. Then for years I would record The Howard Stern Show on my radio/cassette machine in the mornings and listen to those tapes while I was going to sleep at night (Richard Belzer and Gilbert Gottfried? CLASSIC.) When I moved out of my mother’s apartment and moved in with my then-boyfriend, I discovered the sleep timer button on his TV, and used to go to sleep with the TV on every night. For a while I used to listen to satellite radio and use the sleep timer to get that to shut off after I fell asleep. And now I listen to podcasts while I go to sleep every night. I usually stick to comedies that will occupy my mind and cheer me up at the same time, like Stop Podcasting Yourself or The Long Shot Podcast, but I’ll pretty much pick anything that would make me laugh if I was conscious because it will make me smile when I’m going to sleep.
This is all future fodder for a therapist visit, I’m sure.
Anyway, the seriousness of my mood, whether I’m conscious, unconscious, or in between, can definitlely be impacted by the time of the month. Okay, to be fair, depending on the time of the month, what I’ve eaten lately, and … I dunno … the direction of the wind … I can cry over a frigging Hallmark commercial.
And then there are times that I get upset about something, I’ll start crying, and I just can’t stop. One of those times was this morning, it was just before I was going to my mother’s place for my weekly visit, and … yeah. Timing is everything.
Because Lord knows that everything was going to be worse if my mother knew that I’d been crying, because having the conversation about what was wrong was going to be even worse than crying in the first place. So I walked up and down her street for a little while before going in to get some fresh air, to give myself time to calm down, and to walk through the rain for a few minutes so that ALL of me would look a little crappy, not just my eyes.
Then I went to her apartment and … nothing happened. Either she didn’t notice because her eyesight is getting worse or she was too preoccupied with her own thoughts, or maybe she was too diplomatic to say anything.
Wait … what am I saying? No, I definitely mean that she didn’t notice.
So then I left, and my boyfriend took me back home. This has been a crappy weekend overall, but it’s mostly because what’s going on with my body is making things worse in my brain. But if I can’t be at 100% of where I should be, at least I’ve learned the following things:
- Beginning and ending the day with chocolate cake can make things a little better.
- Ibuprophen can make things a little better.
- Cramp Bark can make things a little better.
- Having french toast, bacon, and a bellini for brunch can make things a little better.
- Getting stuff accomplished (work stuff, uploading pictures, reading a book, etc.) can make things a little better.
- Coming home to my boyfriend and my cat can make things a little better.