Brain Crash: Rebooting

My brain crashed sometime last week. It was just all, “No. Nope. No. We’re done here. Over and out,” and that’s the last I’ve heard from it in a while. I honestly don’t know what to tell you about that or at all how this post is going to materialize because… BRAIN CRASH. So I’m not promising anything here like sense-making or coherency, but, let’s be honest, I rarely offer those things, anyway, so whatever. We’ll just do what we usually do here; buckle up and see how it goes.

So. My brain crashed sometime last week. It’s one of the symptoms of mental illness I get to enjoy from time to time. Wheeeeee! Anxiety grabs hold of the neurons, I guess, and, WHAM!, I move from a highly functional person to a non-functional person who fakes highly functional until I can find purchase again to pull myself back to the rational world where I’m not utterly distracted and intermittently breathless with tingly fingers and a heart that gallops for destinations unknown. I usually get away with it. The faking functional, I mean. Then I come up for air, mention to friends or family that I’ve been busy drowning, hear wonderful, sweet things from them like, Why didn’t you SAY something? and We would have HELPED you, and then feel panicky and anxious all over again because I’m doing depression wrong and letting them down. It’s just, while drowning, I don’t have enough air to breathe, much less tell anyone it’s happening. The telling would require oxygen — and also brain that works — and God knows during Brain Crash I have access to neither.

In conclusion, Greg has spent the last week asking me impossible questions like, “How was your day?” and “Where’s the tape?” and “Do we need anything from the grocery store?” And I have spent the last week looking at him with confusion.

The End.

Sincerely,

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P.S. My words are returning. But they’re slow. Bear with me. I’ll be back here again soon when they’ve finished rebooting.

P.P.S. We checked one of our third graders in for surgery this morning (it went fine) and the nurse asked if he was in any pain. I think she meant, you know, right at that particular moment, but Cai took it to mean Anytime Lately, so he said yes. With emphasis. And wide eyes. “YES,” he said. “I HAVE been in pain. Bad, BAD pain because my MOTHER popped my ear zit and it BLED ALL OVER and HURT but did she stop? Nooooooo,” he said, and then he mimicked my voice, all high pitched and cackly, “‘Just a little more, Cai,’ and, ‘It won’t hurt if you let me finish,’ but my mother LIED to me because it DID KEEP HURTING, so YES, I have been in VERY MUCH PAIN.” The nurse looked at me with raised eyebrows, so I shrugged, like, I don’t know what to tell you, lady. That’s all true. I’m a militant ear zit popper. 

P.P.P.S. The nurse also momentarily confused Cai’s chart with his twin brother’s — they ask for last name and birth date to ID patients — before she caught herself and said, “Wait. This isn’t you. Are you a twin?” At which point, Cai said, “Yes, I am a twin. But we are not identical. That means we are from two different eggs in my mom’s uterus and two different sperms from my dad’s penis. That is how you get fraternal twins.”

P.P.P.P.S. And then the anesthetist came in and made a cutesy joke asking whether they were operating on his knee instead of his ear, and my 9 year old looked at her and said, “I do not like being talked to like a little kid. I like logic and the facts and scientific explanations,” which was not particularly polite to someone about to drug him, but was excellent self-advocacy, so I let it slide.

P.P.P.P.P.S. In other words, I may have lost my words temporarily due to Brain Crash, but my son has not lost his, for which I’m both giggly and grateful.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
13 comments
  1. Have to pop zits. Although now we’ve been married 12 years, my husband, who used to let me pop his zits and squeeze his blackheads as a “love gift”, is no longer so enthralled by the idea and runs away when I come towards him with *that* glint in my eye. Spoilsport.

    Love that Cai. I came home last night to find my 8 year old had finally dislodged his front tooth that had been horizontal for about a week, with a lovely story about how it came out…”So I was eating a bread roll at lunchtime and I felt a click and I looked down and there was a tooth in my bread roll and loads of blood but luckily I like the taste of blood so I took the tooth out and ate the bread roll anyway”

    Waste not want not.

    Have a restful weekend, much love for you in your doldrum. xx

  2. I think my heart crashed… Is that a thing? that sense or feeling like all the veins and tendons and threads where severed and your heart just vacated, leaving this huge hole in your chest. And this ache, with you wondering how we can all be so close and yet feel so impossibly far, and separate, and alone. How you can hold constant vigilance for individuality and yet crave some sameness, some commonality, some connection and parallelness of paths and an “I get it, me too” From someone who has actually been where your shoes are lodged and sinking?

    Cookies help. And coffee. Thanks for the mamaraderie. You always do seem to swoop in with your beautiful Beth-ness and ground us all together again.

  3. The other year, on FB, there was one of those info-films designed to give parents nightmare, all about how people who are drowning don’t actually have the energy to shout and wave their arms – guess that’s what happens when we are very distressed/depressed 0 we don’t have the energy/sense to ask for help.
    Do you think the craziness over the kitchen contributed (still think you should do it though)?

    1. I think the kitchen is saving me, actually. Driving Greg insane, yes, but that’s OK because it’s his turn.

  4. Oh Beth. Big big hugs. I’m sorry. I get it. This past Monday I had an appointment that is probably #1 Biggest Trigger for my lovely four-letter demon. My Mom (and our home health aide) were here to watch my kids, and I had warned her that we needed to plan for me being in a PTSD fog and essentially nonfunctional upon my return home, if not literally hiding in the closet. But I had forgotten to warn either of them that I might be completely nonverbal, which I was. And toddlers can sense blood in the water. Even the most oblivious picked up that I couldn’t force words out of my mouth to save my life, and gestures and Mama Stink-Eye don’t go very far. Especially for the one who NEEDS that One Specific Story to fall asleep for nap.

    But the world does not stop for Mama’s brain, and appointments and therapies and diapers and feedings continue at the speed of life…I got my words back in time for the toddler’s neurologist the next day, and faked functional with my detailed notes prepared in advance ’cause the dude is RAPID FIRE…but the nurse saw right through my facade of Calm and Functional and Of Course I’m Not Freaking Out To Be In Another Doctor’s Office. And then more phone calls and more tests and more schedulings and WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T FIND my carefully prepared-in-advance New Patient Packet that I sent to you weeks ago?! OK, fine, I’ll re-do it. Both of them. Complete with frustrating Family History questions that have no answers because WE HAVE NO IDEA, and Utterly Stupid questions like “Are you the child’s natural parents?” Really? NATURAL? [One packet got “Nope, we’re 100% artificial!” and the other got “We are abiotic artificial intelligences” and I thought of you and the DMV as I wrote them.]

    And tomorrow, because I am efficient (read: insane), I am taking three toddlers (read: feral and possibly rabid bonobos) to the dentist to sit in the chairs (read: flop around like possessed herring) for X-rays, exams and cleanings (read: the massacre of the innocent hygienists). Pray for our souls…

    But you should know, whichever night earlier this week it was (I have no idea) that both the baby and I ended dinner without pants, and the cat was licking out the butter tub on the dining room table, and the other cat was tracking through the pee puddle, and there were Emergency Kitchen Sink Baths and Emergency Laundry-ings, and my husband and I were shouting off-color things across the house to each other (like Lion King parodies and Richard Pryor skits) while brushing toddler teeth……..YOU were totally in my head, narrating events in a hilarious blog post style. I wish you’d been there to write about it.

    P.S. Glad Cai’s okay. He cracks me up. My firstborn is gonna be a lot like him, I think.

    P.P.S. More big hugs.

    P.P.P.S. Sorry for the Longer Than The Post mega-comment. I’ll go to bed now, I promise. No really–the Growth-Spurting, All-Night-Guzzling Baby With Four Chins awaits me. Off with the PJ top.

    1. Sarah, you’re rad. Forms with “natural parents” on it are not rad. And I’m writing this without pants — I feel like you’ll understand.

      x’s and o’s, momrade.

  5. Thank you for sharing your real self again. I sure do hate the emotional roller coaster ride depression brings. I so understand everything you said. I’m glad you can still laugh with/at your kids though. 🙂

  6. Welcome back. Clearly if you wrote this you are either back or on your way back. Which also means we noticed you were quiet and missed you and said a little prayer for you even though you felt like you didn’t have enough air to breathe to even say anything. It’s nice to have you back.

    And when you get more air, tell us what’s up with Betty too…

    1. Betty is my solace and comfort and is still languishing in the garage. On the bright side, one of my faking-functionaly tasks was CALLING the contractors ON THE PHONE and agreeing to their bid. So we’re theoretically on track. More soon.

      P.S. Thank you for your prayers. xo

      1. I’m all too familiar with the depression monster so I totally get it. One of the best things I’ve learned from your blog is that it’s okay to quit. And then unquit. The key is knowing when to do which one….

  7. Clearly you are an awesome parent…except maybe for the ear zit popping.

    1. The alternative is having children walk around with gigantic ear zits. I’m practically saving the world here.

  8. I love Cai’s self advocacy. I wish I had learned that as a kid. Good job mama

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