Ugh. I became all hayfevery late yesterday afternoon and so took an avil. It made me almost immediately fall asleep, and then I felt like a zombie for the rest of the evening. It is really difficult to accurately describe what avil does to me. My whole body feels heavy and incapable, and so does my mind. Slowed movements, slowed reactions, slowed cognition. Flat affect; yeah I feel utterly flat. Communication is really difficult because it’s not simply making words come out your mouth (which is hard enough), you also have to imbue your voice and face and body with meaning which takes so much energy. When someone speaks to me all I really can do is just turn and stare at them and a really long, drawn out sigh sounds in my mind, only I don’t have the energy to do it out loud.
It’s been several months since I’ve had to take avil. If I’d realised I would still be feeling the full effects now, 18 hours later at my desk at work, I would have thought thrice about it.
It’s funny, I was also really grumpy when I started writing this.. but since just writing just this much the grumpiness is gone. I was annoyed with drivers on the way here, annoyed that someone was in my usual parking space, annoyed to find out I’d have to work through Christmas, annoyed that my colleagues have all been blissfully chirping “good morning!” right into my slack, miserable face.
It could be the coffee, 75% of it consumed in 5 minutes. I dragged myself into the lunch room to make it, annoyed that the sugar is in individual packets (so wasteful), annoyed by the unstacked dishwasher, annoyed by a worker I don’t know crowding my space at the bench.
Speaking of chirpy goodmornings…
One or two days a week I work in a big office building where the organisation that employs me takes up one floor, much of it open plan office space, the rest counselling rooms. Several services within the organisation operate from here, so I don’t know everyone. We smile and say hello to each other because we all work here, but generally people only know and chat to others within their own service.
While I was in the kitchen, grumpily making my coffee, one of the counsellors from my service came in to put away her lunch. This counsellor baffles me. We have meetings together and sometimes work together and she is nice to talk to… friendly and professional. That’s fine.
When I pass people in the office I make eye contact, smile and say hello, and if it’s someone I know well we may have a quick chat. This is a social norm. It runs seamlessly all the time always.
When I pass this counsellor I try to do the same, only she never, ever looks me in the eye. I never get to make eye contact, so immediately my greeting process stalls. I feel confused and uncomfortable. If she doesn’t make eye contact it is like she is closed for business. I get the impression she is strictly avoiding hellos and quick chats and that I shouldn’t intrude.
So I find that after my glance, which bounces right off her unreceptive, turned-away face, I have the urge to look away also. To walk right past her, both of us pretending the other doesn’t exist. I try not to give in to this urge, because that just seems ridiculous. I say hello, feeling unwelcome, then she looks at me and replies, and it’s a bit awkward but it passes.
I wonder what goes on for her, though. She is a naturally quiet, shy seeming person, only speaking up in meetings (even small, 3-4 people meetings) when directly called upon. Is it shyness? Introversion? Insecurity? On those rare occassions she is obliged to speak up in a professional capacity she is insightful and effective, seeming confident in her opinions, which makes me think it’s not insecurity.
So I wonder if it is shyness. If it is, and she wanders the halls with downcast face and closed mouth because she feels socially ineffective, and people are not engaging her because all they can see are her self protective walls, then unless I risk feeling uncomfortable by saying hello she will plummet into a vicious cycle of loneliness, rejection and self hate and die alone in the gutter.
Thank goodness for me, saving the world one good morning at a time.