Scarlett O’Hara Doesn’t Live Here

I had (am having?) a panic attack for only the second or third time in my life. Unfortunately, they’re all coming fairly close together. I don’t know what that means, really, but I think maybe it’s just everything I’m feeling happening all at once. Usually with depression, I have periods of shut down but this feels different. Today feels different. I’m barely able to function as I feel the crushing weight of every emotion I’m experiencing as if they’re happening all at once. And it’s terrifying. I can barely speak. Noises are overwhelming. My heart is racing. My lungs feel heavy.

I spent most of the day alone at work yet came home and just robotically tried to get through the evening until the kids were in bed so that I could literally lock myself in the closet; a physical closing off from the world. I can’t talk to anyone, physically or even through text or online. It’s as if I can’t burden anyone else with my fear and sadness so it’s best to just not communicate, not even attempt it because I know I’m going to end up saying or doing the wrong thing. I’ve already done that once today to someone I care about, and I just can’t bear the thought of disappointing anyone further right now. 

Especially because what I’m feeling the most is self-pity. I loathe that feeling. I’d much rather feel self-hatred or sadness or emptiness or ANYTHING except feeling sorry for myself. It’s as if I woke up this morning and realized I’m turning 40 this week and the crushing realization of how far off the rails I am for a middle-aged adult just made itself known. I’ve been obliviously surviving the past few months with a kind of hopefulness that I’m strong enough to be alone and gaining my freedom will be liberating and wonderful and solve everything. Any today I really thought about how hard the next year will be.

I also realized that I’m having the biggest birthday of my life, and I’ve failed to plan anything for it at all. I do this to myself almost every year. I tell myself it’s no big deal, it’s just another birthday, I don’t want the attention it brings because I really just think no one should have to spend their time celebrating such an obviously shitty person. So I don’t make plans, but then I get sad that no one else seems to notice, as if confirming exactly what I thought: that my life is not one worth celebrating. And this year I won’t even have my family, my parents and my sister and nephews, because they’ve all made other plans for the weekend. So I’m stuck at the beach with the man I’m divorcing and our emotionally exhausting kids, packing and cleaning to come home, where I’ll be too tired to do anything else anyway. Welcome to my 40’s, I guess.

Compounded with the stress of living with a person that scrutinizes my every move, weeks of sleeping on a couch more than a bed, being physically ill every time I eat, having my heart broken, wondering if I’ll ever again love someone that loves me back just as deeply, and worrying about my kids and how they are going to be after the dust settles, and I’m pretty much just done. I’m done with everything right now. I don’t want to be around myself. I don’t want to be around other people. I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts. I don’t want to burden anyone else with my problems. I don’t want to die, luckily. I just don’t want to live, either. I want to submerge myself in water and just…rest. Not think. Not do anything. Just be. And I can’t do that, so instead I’m sitting in silence in the dark alone, chewing on my shirt and trying to take enough breaths to get through the next minute, before it starts all over again.

2 thoughts on “Scarlett O’Hara Doesn’t Live Here

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