What is it that stops you in your tracks? For the past several weeks – several weeks – I have been trying to think of how to describe what I have been experiencing since I brought my dad back to Florida. It’s not so much frustration as it is pressure, but not the kind of pressure that breeds anxiety. I’m not anxious. I know what needs to be done to move ahead, but that’s just the problem. I know. I know, because I’ve done it before, and I know not one piece of what I have to accomplish is going to be easy or appreciated. It’s that knowledge that has my stymied.
If you can, imagine yourself inside a ball that is filled with that gooey stuff inside a stress ball. I feel as though I’m inside that ball. I’m a lump that gets manipulated by a huge hand. Each finger is a different stressor and I’m desperately trying to press myself back into relative shelter in the palm.
It’s just not working. The fingers pressing me into contortions all over the inside of that ball.
Every breath I take, from the moment I wake until the moment my head hits the pillow (notice I don’t say “sleep”), I feel the atmosphere compressing that ball. Think about it: the force of everything compressing equally all over that ball. I’m in the middle, and I can’t move. I can’t breathe. I have to heave a sigh just to take in air, otherwise, my breathing is so shallow, I have to think myself into taking a breath.
My mind feels suspended. There really isn’t another word for it. Blank doesn’t quite describe it, neither does empty. I feel too much inside my head, see too much. The sense of overwhelm is like another layer of skin and it paralyzes me.
Don’t get me wrong, to look at me, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong. I’d strike you as too quiet, aloof even. All business with a pleasant face. My humor is dark, biting, even self-deprecating. I’d make you laugh, but only so I can get you to go on your way. I’m the queen of placation. The problem is that it takes every ounce of energy for me to emit that facade of interaction. I would receive no energy from you. I would only be throwing my energy at you to give you whatever you need to get you away from me so I could force myself to check off the dad-tasks as quickly as possible so I can accomplish at least one thing for myself.
It doesn’t always happen, the doing something for myself part. That’s why I need my notebook. I need my notebook to remind me what I need to do as much as to show myself what I have done. Kind of a proof.
I have too much to do. Dad is a 24-7-365 job. Even though he’s in his own apartment, he’s living on the other side of my woods. He and the dogs will pop over at various times throughout the day to visit. Dad just wants to tell me about his day and show me an ungodly number of pictures he’s taken of virtually nothing, and I can’t stand it. There’s no phone call before he comes. There’s no sense of respect that my work cannot be interrupted and restarted, because a train of thought is fleeting, and writing is all about stringing together a train of thought. I’m paying for his life right now. His life and mine, and I can’t pay out what I don’t earn, and I can’t earn if I can’t think.
It’s a boundary issue, I know, but I also know that it’s going to take months to get him to relearn boundaries. The last time I moved him down with me, it took about three years. I know what I’m doing this time, so I’m praying it’ll only be a matter of months.
Please god, let it be a matter of months, because my nerves won’t stretch out any longer.