Saturday, July 18, 2015

TAL Challenge: Get Over It

I generally don't find it helpful when people tell me to "get over it."  I couldn't think of a topic, and once the real This American Life had a show called this.  I have no idea what I'm going to talk about.

Act One: The Crippling Anxiety

After Mac was born, I went a little crazy.  What would happen is that I'd close my eyes for a single second, and then without any control at all, I'd imagine the worst possible things happening.

I go to a museum, and Mac slips from my hands and falls off of a several-stories high balcony, splattering on the atrium floor below while I watch, screaming and clutching the railing.

I take the garbage out, and while I'm on my way to the garage, an even crazier person slips into the house and slits the children's throats.  Of course, I am accused of the heinous crime - after all, I am found with blood-soaked clothes and no alibi - and then I spend my entire life in prison as a child-killer.

Driving is excruciating every single time I get behind the wheel.  Around every bend is a fiery crash.  Death.  Catastrophe.  Over and over.

Eventually, I realized I couldn't make this stop.  I tried going down to the basement and sobbing in the dark.  Dan shouted down at me from the kitchen. "You need help!" he said.

I mean, obviously.

So I called a nice therapist who explained to me what the hell was happening - turns out this is a highly common variant of post-partum depression - and things started to get so much better after that.

Act Two: The Boyfriends

As I'm thinking back on things, I'm recalling that I'm almost always the dumped, not the dumper.

No one likes rejection.

I don't think I handled any of the dumps particularly well.  I think I might have been high maintenance.  I think I might not have just gotten over it.

Act Three: The Elections

In high school, I kept losing student government elections.  I'd lose them by extremely small margins.  Instead of giving up, I'd keep running and keep losing. I was like an addict for rejection, fueled by the one time in ninth grade when I actually won. My faculty advisor smiled sadly after each defeat and reminded me that Abraham Lincoln himself lost eight elections.

Finally, I lost my final election when I ran for the Vice Presidency of the whole Student Council in the spring of my junior year.   It was a real fat bummer, but I think I might have been relieved that it was over.

I got over it.  Who needs to plan dumb dances anyway?  Who needs to work on changing the gum policy?  Who even really cares?

And then, come fall of senior year, I got a call from the President of the Student Council, who was my best friend.  The winner of the VP election moved away over the summer.  I got to be veep after all.

I did enjoy it.  The running of assemblies, especially.

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