January 8, 2020
I tried to go to the movies just now. And my mom ran into someone she knew in the lobby, no surprise there in a small town, I suppose. I was in the bathroom at the time, when she called to give me that heads-up, knowing it may make me uncomfortable — and I immediately began crying, shaking, cowering, sending my eye into spasms and spurring nausea. I know that was all me, all in my head, all “made up,” some may even say; it had nothing to do with her, but that in no way means it hurts any less. I’m now crying in the car. I left. I couldn’t stay. I ruined our night, yet again — another failed outing on my account. This shouldn’t have been a traumatic event, especially not four months after my accident, but it left me feeling uneasy and, for some reason, unsafe.
In my psychiatrist appointment today, we spoke about many things, one of which was the tension between my still feeling different, incapable or damaged and interacting or engaging in normalcy, or at least attempting as much. Ups and downs are more than okay, expected, healthy even, he reminded me. “You’re not that fragile. If you break a little, that’s okay.” We spoke of the importance of pushing myself, of the strides I’ve made, of directionality, of doing, just not OVER overdoing it, as he put it. An attempt at going to the movies in my hometown surely doesn’t qualify as overdoing it, and for most, it’d be a total nothing, but for me, it would have been a first. I tried for a simple midweek outing with my mom, but nothing about that setup felt right — and if I have learned anything, it is to trust and follow my intuition.
While I made a tiny, yet valiant effort (and was feeling surprisingly okay, well-rested, smoothie-filled and bandaged up), tonight is simply not the night for Little Women at the Mill Valley movie theater. I am not saying that I shouldn’t have gone, but I am just not ready, though also recognize that need not mean I cut myself from other outings, future attempts, interpersonal interactions, normalcy or the real world. Disappointment, frustration and shame linger deep within, a headache from stress has set it, but my tears have stopped and I’ve apologized repeatedly to my mother, who has generously suggested an evening of games and soup-making at home. Back to our house on the mountain we go…