Last night, I dreamed that we had no money, and that somehow, I got a hold of an Amazon order filled with hundreds of random items of useless junk, and I confronted my husband and children about it, on the bottom step of a flight of stairs in a home that appeared dingy with age and neglect and which I did not recognize. And like to a little child, and with rising panic in my voice, I explained that there was no longer any money, because I no longer had my job, and that we would be canceling the order.
Last night, I dreamed that there was no money, and still I woke rested and calm. You see, the night before, I didn’t sleep at all—as I haven’t for the past 4 weeks—as it was slowly dawning on me that not having money was probably a sweeter deal than losing my sanity and reason. And so, last night there was no money, but I got my 7 hours in.
Living on the edge of a manic episode is no joke, people. You recognize and value the alarm signals your body is sending, the intrusive and rapid thoughts tumbling about your brain like numbers in a bingo mixer, and the elusiveness of rest. You eat and don’t taste your food, you laugh and your mouth feels frozen about the edges, you smile and it’s a rictus of pain for anyone to notice if they cared to.
The trouble with therapists nearing burnout is you can’t really tell unless you are one, and you can’t really tell unless it’s too late. It was almost too late yesterday when my boss raged in my office, demanding I reconsider, but I calmly stood my ground.
One week more, 7 days, and then there will once again be less money—not none, like in the dream, but significantly less—while I slowly lick my wounds and start over…until I reestablish myself.
And that, my friends, is how you grab hold of the string of leftover sanity attached to that quietly deflating balloon of reason, and tug until you have it firmly back in your grasp, before it floats away into the distance—that’s how you get better.
Sometimes you have to start over to get better.