The retreat is wrapping up, and we are heading off mostly to our holidays and I am heading back to Y-town this morning after breakfast. I have a new friend perhaps, and she is coming with me and staying for a few days, which is nice.
I am aware that I am going to have a processing hangover. I think I always do. By Saturday afternoon, when school is out for the weekend, much more has happened in the week than I can actually process, and there’s generally enough to keep me busy until Monday morning. More has happened and I have less processing time than usual for the last 3 days and then I will have a guest, which will lead to the same thing, and it’s going to take more than a day and a half for me to catch up.
So I’m kind of preparing myself for that. My new friend will leave and then I will be just kind of knocked flat for several days, maybe even a full week. It will be like having a kind of emotional flu. It used to frustrate me. Something would be over—school or the week or a holiday or whatever—and I would want to get onto the next thing right away. I would want to jump into a holiday, or I would get back from a vacation somewhere and want immediately to pick normal life back up again. And then I would just feel exhausted and kind of sick and I wouldn’t like it. I would be puzzled too: Why is this happening?
Well, because there’s a backlog. As soon as things slow down, I can catch up on the backlog. I start to dissociate less and, first of all, I feel the exhaustion of having been unable to keep up all week or all term or however long it has been since life was a bit slower.
And then there are the 100 thing that I couldn’t process because they all came at once. Usually, they aren’t very nice. I mean, it’s shit. The memories that new experiences connect to are frequently just wretched. To give an example, I had to sit in a couple of long, boring meetings over the last two days. They weren’t interminable. Just a few hours. But I don’t do well with long meetings or with being bored, and I started to realize sitting there, what the meetings connected to. They connect to being chained to things or to being tied up. They connect to an intense sense of captivity. However, I realized this while I was sitting in a meeting. The emotional experience of captivity for me is mostly boredom and rage. I want to break parts of my own body to get out of the chains or out of the ropes. The need to move is that intense. I realized this, but it’s not worked through. I couldn’t. Sitting in a meeting is just not a convenient time to delve into that experience. Now, it’s sitting there in my head, waiting to be processed. I will get to deal with that, and about 100 other things that are all that kind of thing: horrifying, overwhelming.
And that’s just how life is. Every new experience is packed full of experiences that might connect to the past in ways I can’t deal with as they are happening. Because of that, every time there is downtime, I am hit with all of them. Downtime for me is just unlike downtime for someone with less trauma. It’s not pleasant. It’s always terrible. But it allows me to get caught up again so that when I experience something else new, I can do it in real time. At least for a bit.