I’m doing better at listening to my body and reading my own cues that I need to take a step back. This is actually kind of huge so I feel like I need to pat myself on the back a tiny bit for it. A couple of weekends ago I had to pull an epic triple shift. It was a work the makeup job, come home to change clothes, work the overnight on-call at the day job, come home to shower and change, then back to the makeup job. It wasn’t bad by any stretch and I got through it, but it definitely threw me off. I remember lying in bed for a few minutes before I took my shower and feeling like my brain was starting to spin in out of control circles. I couldn’t shut off the thoughts and it was terrifying. Anyone who has ever had a manic episode will tell you that feeling of things revving up is one of desperation and hopelessness. It sucks.
I ended up really lucky; when I came home later that day and collapsed I was able to sleep well and I didn’t fall into a manic episode (no small miracle considering a lack of sleep is one of my mania triggers.) I did, however, end up off my game. My schedule and productivity were really out of whack. Then I took a minor fall at Costco and banged up my knee. Then my mother ended up back in the hospital. I found myself clinging and grasping to hold onto threads of routine only to fail over and over. By the time Saturday rolled around I was fried. Crispy-crunchy fried. Done.
I had that day off. I had a glorious Saturday off so I did the only thing that made sense: I put myself in time out. Grown up time out isn’t the kid version. I wasn’t standing in a corner or in a room with no toys. Instead I gave myself permission to not check my email and not respond to any text or call that I didn’t want to. I decided I didn’t have to do chores because they would keep. Instead, I went out for breakfast and then took myself out. I did a little shopping, but mostly I parked my car and wandered around a shopping center that I don’t often go to but find beautiful. I struck up a conversation with a barista about music and learning to make lattes. I had an amazing cookie. I bought a hipster magazine that I spent more than I should have on. It was indulgent and a little lazy and it was the best possible thing I could have done. I feel good. I should put myself in time out more often. We all should.