Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I'm Not Crazy

One of the downsides of being ever so brave and forthright and discussing psychiatric symptoms and medications and proclaiming yourself crazy on a regular basis is that people start to take you seriously. Which is generally a good thing. But then they start treating you like you're crazy. Which is not as good. And then you start worrying about whether they're treating you like you're crazy because you are, or because you're being misunderstood, and that's definitely bad. Because it makes you act all paranoid and stuff. Which is crazy. And so you start to doubt even your most sincere and sane thoughts and actions, because they spiral into a maelstrom of doubt and fear and confusion. After a while, insanity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I've been noticing it a lot lately. I become angry and despondent over election results and their potential consequences and start talking about ways to become more involved and ways to make changes, and I'm questioned about the efficacy of my medication. Tamar becomes angry and despondent over election results and their political consequences and starts talking about leaving the country (sob), and people nod in agreement. And I start to wonder if maybe I am behaving a bit 'over-the-top' about things, even while I'm nodding in perfect agreement with Tamar's plans, and not doubting her sanity for a minute. Ultimately, though, I know I'm OK...or, rather, reasonably upset.

But it's even worse when I myself am unsure where 'reasonable response' ends and 'just a hopeless headcase' comes in. Take yesterday, for instance. Now, keep in mind that the pet death thing wasn't something we got to break to the kids, or ourselves. Em found the mangled head of one of the bunnies laying on the grass, and thought it was a squirrel our cat had killed before realizing that no, that wasn't a bushy black squirrel tail but, instead, Zaboo's ear. Baroy found Pumpkin's completely isolated upper jaw and nose under our liquid amber tree; only a tuft of fur was left, or else we'd have had to use dental records to identify him. We found a couple of feet in different corners of the yard, and enough fur to make a coat. This was truly one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen.

Add to that my sensitive 7-year-old daughter screaming "No, no, no, no!" over and over again, and my not-quite-as-aware almost-4-year-old son talking about how he was going to turn into Superman and fly to the 'farm' where Pumpkin and Zaboo were and bring them home again, and you have quite the pleasant little scene. Oh, and to top it all off? My fault that they were killed. We have an outdoor hutch for them, but every now and then I get lazy and forget to put them into it at night and lock the door to keep them safe. I have excuses--in this case, I was still sick, at other times it's been because they'd hidden in the extensive warren they'd dug under our yard and wouldn't come out--but ultimately, it's on me. Well, me and Baroy. Except he was not really the bunny fan, and I was the one who said I would take care of them. So it's on me.

So I really do think that I was permitted to slink upstairs last night--after consoling Em for the millionth time, taking both kids to a store to get a scrapbook to hold our pictures of Pumpkin and Zaboo, and begging off on a pre-planned dinner with friends we haven't seen in ages--and lay on the floor in my bedroom, zoning out on the computer. But then, Baroy came upstairs.

"Um, honey?" Baroy said.

"Yeah?" I said, in monotone.

"You do know that it really isn't our fault that the rabbits died, right?"

"Well, I know I didn't eat them myself, but yes, it's my fault."

He started talking to me in a tone very much like that he normally reserves for young children. "It was a coyote. It's not your fault. You did well by those rabbits. Better than most people would."

"I left them out overnight, and they got eaten. I don't see how that's not my fault."

He sighed and went back downstairs.

A little while later, after the kids had come upstairs and played around me for a while and then been put to bed, he came back again.


"Yes?" I answered, equally monotoned, but definitely more annoyed with the interruption.

He hesitated. "Can I ask why you've been up here with your computer all weekend?"

"Because I was sick!" I snapped. "And I've kept it up here the rest of the time because it's the only place I can possibly go to be a little bit away from everyone and not have the kids crawling all over me the entire time and you asking me questions and everybody getting in my face!"

Baroy put up both hands. "OK. Just asking." And he went back downstairs.

I was furious. What, I'm not allowed to need some time to myself? Somehow, being sad about the bunnies is a cause of concern? For crying out loud, it's not like I've never hidden in the...bedrooom......before.......

I've never done this before. In all the time we've been married, I've never hidden out in the bedroom with my computer for an entire weekend, not even for an entire evening. And I've certainly never done so with red, watery eyes and an attitude of sheer exhaustion and utter apathy. And if I'm honest, yeah, the bunnies' death bummed me out. It hurts me to think about it. But that happened Sunday morning. And the computer went upstairs with me Friday afternoon, and hasn't come down yet. Of course, there was the flu, but that doesn't explain Saturday, exactly.

Now that I think about it, my daughter has been brushing the hair away from my eyes an awful lot, and asking me if I'm 'feeling better.' My son has been crying for mommy a lot, and having to come upstairs to find me, because mommy just can't muster up the strength to go down to him. And like I said, my husband has been talking to me with 'that voice.' The one that makes me want to scream at him: I'm not crazy! There are things going on here. (Indeed, I could even say, I have things.) There are reasons for this. I'm not crazy. I'm just feeling sad. And allienated. And apathetic. And tired. And alone. And did I mention sad?

I'm not crazy. Am I?

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