I had a difficult time frame to deal with on Monday. I had an appointment at eleven AM in East Portland, and then an appointment at four PM on the west side, south of OHSU.
This left a four hour gap. I had to keep myself occupied and not freaking out for four hours. I had to eat lunch, which I brought with me, and I also was going to call my brother. And... walk, I guess. A good friend got me a kindle for my birthday, and I figured I could read that- had the next Terry Pratchett on there, so why not?
(Aside from loving the Discworld series, I have found Terry Pratchett to be one of the few things I can just pick up and read right now. Reading has become frustrating and difficult, and Terry Pratchett isn't. Sort of a coping mechanism. So I started at the beginning of the Discworld series, and am going through all of it... I believe there are over 30 books. And I'm on 13, or close to that.)
So I finish my first appointment, and go walking, looking for a place to sit down and barricade myself. I found myself getting closer to the house of a writing mentor and hero of mine, and remembered being a part of his writing group. That reminded me that there was a Zupan's up the street. I walked up there, and the place was deserted. Fantastic. I bought a kombucha, and went to one of the outdoor tables tucked up against the outside wall. I laid out my lunch and read while I ate.
It took me quite a long time to realize that not only was the outdoor seating barely used, it was only used for a few minutes while people stopped to smoke and fiddle with their smart phones.
This was going to be the place that I talked to my brother. But I decided that walking and talking was a good thing, too. Just had to find quieter neighborhoods.
So I'm wandering, and I'm mostly focused on the phone. Which is a good thing, as there are fucking leafblowers everywhere, and people that I could get anxious around. I just kept talking and walking.
So I am going down this street, talking pretty loud to my brother, completely oblivious, when out of the corner of my eye, I spot someone I know. Now, I could not be completely sure, but I believe it was an assistant manager I worked under at new seasons. I couldn't make out features, but the hair was right, and I immediately went into panic mode.
Here is one of my greatest pools of paranoia- that people I know will see me, and get confused, or even angry or hurt, because they see or hear me in without the required aspects of illness. I mean, anxiety, right? Why am I outside? Depression? Why am I talking so animated?
The paranoia is worse for anyone from my old job. If I could go back I would. But that environment is just too stressful, and I'd break down. And I've been left with this feeling like I've betrayed them. So, for her to see me, looking like I'm fine, just makes it worse.
I rallied like mad with my brother. I don't think he knew- covering up my stuttering and drop into a low mutter for a bit. And that moment is still with me. How she might be telling everyone now "Yeah, I saw him. He's fine. What the fuck?"
And I'll jump ahead of folks by saying yes, I know that paranoia isn't real. Yes, so much of this is illogical and ridiculous.
And yet, here I am.
(And if you noticed that now I'm paranoid of what you think. Oh, mental illness, you cheeky bastard!)