I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
January 19, 2018 - 11:22 a.m.
Today started with a call from my therapist; she's sick and had to cancel our session. That means everyone has to be extra nice to me for the next week just to be sure I don't have a breakdown. Extra nice means giving me chocolate. I know that most people know that but just in case someone didn't get the memo.
Today's session would have been interesting; the main event yesterday was doing something at the heart of my anxiety. I'm going to be honest and lay it all out. There should be no shame about this; any more than there is about my Crohn's disease. More importantly it's a good story and the blogger in me wants to tell it.
Back in October or November I got a letter from the IRS. I did not have the nerve to open it. I brought it into therapy. As it was difficult for me to read for both emotional and vision impairment reasons she read it to me. As I feared I owed money. This was from 2007. Now's the time to tell you that I've gotten this letter every year since then and never had the nerve to open it. That's what anxiety does. Rationally I know it will only make things worse, but my limbic system overruled my cerebral cortex every time.
The letter was not easy to understand, I didn't need a therapist but an accountant. Sometimes I'm lucky, Jane, who took me in, is an accountant. She was the perfect person to help me. I told my therapist I'd show the letter to Jane. It took a few days, but I did. She said she thought it could be taken care of with a phone call. We then didn't. We needed a day we were both home in IRS business hours and I needed to overcome my anxiety and initiate it. As I wrote yesterday, initiating is the toughest part for me.
For the last four weeks or so my therapist asks me if I have taken care of it. I kept saying, "no." Last week she asked me if I had seen The Yakuza with Robert Mitchum? The Yakuza is the Japanese mob. When you violate their code, they cut off one of your fingers. That happens in real life, not just the movie. She said that's what she'd do to me if I didn't take care of it by today.
On Tuesday I got the nerve to bring it up with Jane. She said she wouldn't be able to handle it till Thursday. I set a reminder on my calendar. I wasn't going to give myself an excuse for not doing it.
I was sweating bullets but after she came back from taking Bernie to physical therapy I initiated; I said it's time to call. One problem was that she wanted to see a copy of my return. I lost all my records when I lost my things in storage. I think I could be forgiven for feeling anxious. She called to see about getting the return. There were all sorts of problems with that. There was a form that costs $50 to fill out but then it only went back seven years. She could get no my return but a transcript, don't ask me the difference, but the way I interpreted it that would go back to only 2008 but there was a chance it would do.
She tried to get it done online. That didn't work. She kept needing information from me that I wasn't sure of. Each time I got more anxious. This was the nightmare scenario I was afraid of. A huge part of the problem is being anxious about facing anxiety. Outwardly I looked fine, inwardly I was a mess.
She called a second number to get the forms she couldn't get on the computer. Sometimes it helps talking to a real people person. I had to talk to him to verify that it was me and that I was authorizing Jane to represent me.
Finally, he did what I was hoping would be done. He'd just look up the case on his computer. He found it. I couldn't understand how I could owe money. I had one source of income, teaching, and the school withheld each check. He found the problem. I had gotten a refund that year. After they sent the check they discovered that I hadn't reported the interest on my bank account. I knew that at the time, but I didn't have the bank record and I knew it was minimal, a few dollars. That is all it was, he wouldn't say the amount, but when I didn't pay it and didn't respond to the letter there were penalties.
I was a total wreck this entire time. My heart was pounding. Every time I heard Jane say something negative it got worse. Then came the good news. He said they would never come after me for the money and that after 2019 I'd stop getting the letters. Till then I can ignore them. Whew.
That took so much out of me. Even with the meds and the Jedi mind tricks I've learned in therapy this is still crippling. I must make a huge effort to get it done. Good thing I have a great friend like Jane or I don't know what I would have done.
When it was over I went back to my room to recover. I decided I needed to reward myself. I went to see if there were anything new on one of my streaming services that would excite me. The reward came on Amazon Prime. They finally got season 10 of Doctor Who! I watched the first two episodes. They were disappointing, the writing was not good. But it's the Doctor, there's the Tardis, there's a new companion. That's enough to keep me happy for now. If the season doesn't improve I'll start curmudging.
It's me so I also needed a culinary reward. I need something with lots of taste that didn't require lots of effort. I made pan grilled chicken breast and French fries. I tried something different. Usually make the chicken spicy, with Cajun seasoning. This time I didn't, I kept it simpler with MSG, garlic, and the butcher's rub that Jane got me for Festivus. That meant I could get my spice from the fries; that's where I used the Cajun seasoning. It was perfect. I had an ice cream sundae for dessert.
I told Jane about the therapist threatening to cut off my fingers. She thought I should bring in something that looks like a bloody finger. I did too, and I know where to get it, 239 Play, the vintage toy and novelty store on City Island that I love. Now that I have another week my mission is to stop by and get one before my next therapy session. I'm not evil, Jane is and corrupted me.
I'm proud of what I did yesterday. I am fully aware that it would have been a small thing for most people, you could have done it without breaking a sweat. That doesn't make it easier for me. It makes it harder. I must fight off not just the anxiety but feeling inadequate. Writing this is part of the processing. It's the closest I'm getting to therapy today. I'm feeing anxiety now; that always happens when I remember anxiety. There's also anxiety about how people will react to this. That I'm better at dealing with. Now to reward myself with breakfast, bacon and eggs. Tonight, I'm going to The House of Love to see Richie & Rosie and Steph Coleman & James Shipp. Steph & James are friends, this is just their second show together, I was at the first. I don't know Richie & Rosie, but I'll trust Amy's taste. I was rewarded for trusting Sandy's last week.
I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.
High Anxiety - January 19, 2018
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