That Big Red Button

by Mrs. Smith on January 19, 2018

I have a great big giant invisible red button.
Yes, it’s red AND invisible. This is pretend.

I don’t like that it’s there.
It’s not as sensitive a button as it used to be. Several things have to stack up in just the right order to set it off, but it’s not pretty if that happens.

When it gets hit, it sends out a broadcast (in my mind) kinda like that one we got in Hawaii last Saturday.

Yep. That’s basically what it does. Perfect analogy.

Just like that emergency alert, it’s a smidge bit distracting when it goes off.

Just like that emergency alert, there are a lot of things going on as a result.
There are smarter & wiser parts of me kicking back, saying, “Chill, man, it’s probably a false alarm,” — but most parts are frantically running for cover, saying their prayers and hoping to goodness that it won’t hit.

When that alarm goes off in my head, I know exactly how much patience I have left. Sometimes the end of the world is a little ways off, and sometimes I’ve got a little more notice.

When that siren in my head starts wailing, though, it really is in everyone’s best interest for me to get the heck away from everyone else and hum Kumbaya for a little while so I can get Headquarters to send out a “false alarm” notification.

If we get the all-clear through, everything goes back to normal.

But often (read: usually) I can’t just tap out like that.

Or (also very common) I flat out don’t want to.

How does that make sense? It doesn’t. But you must understand, I spent months and months “tapping out” almost every day over the littlest, weirdest things — like doors slamming. Or getting frozen chicken out to stir fry for dinner. No joke.

Even years later, I HATE TAPPING OUT. Suggesting that I should maybe go tap out is almost a button of its own, which isn’t helpful.
I believe the technical term for this setup a double-bind. (Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.) Apparently they can make you crazy. Huh. Go figure.

Uh-oh. Siren’s going off. Maybe I can ignore it.
____________ really is NOT the end of the world.

Maybe I can just “Mom up” and pretend that siren doesn’t exist.
Maybe I can psychoanalyse myself, take some deep breaths, and Kumbaya right here on the battle field.
…With an inbound ballistic missile coming. Yeah. Mm-hm. Great idea.

Either way
—listening to that internal alarm system & wisely leaving,
or attempting a manual override & foolishly, “bravely” staying —
whatever pushed that button had better stop immediately, or… 

Or what?

Well. If the button gets hit again, a metaphorical nuke goes off in my brain. It’s more of an implosion than an explosion, but it renders me completely useless for hours. Or maybe days.  It stinks. It so, so, SO stinks.

THANKFULLY,
“completely useless” doesn’t actually mean completely useless. Not usually. Things still get done. Kids are tutored, parented, fed, cleaned up, played with, even enjoyed to some extent, if you can believe it. I can still function.
Doesn’t sound useless, does it?

Inside, though, I’m more or less dead.

Is that putting it too strongly? Am I being overly dramatic?
“Dead inside” sounds awfully… um… not happy.

That’s how it feels, though.

All the light is gone out of the world. All the joy, all the fun, all the “gee, isn’t life great?!” — Not there. Blown to smithereens. Fractured into a million billion little pieces along with a great deal of my cognitive functions. I walk around, going through the motions, but inside, I’m reeling. I’m a robot on autopilot, an emotional wreck stranded on the shores of some coral reef in the middle of the ocean hoping the tide doesn’t come in before I can repair the boat.

Stupid button!

Sometimes the sun comes back out on its own.
Sometimes I have to go find it.

This week was one of those times where there’s just no finding it on my own. That darn red button got hammered so hard the thing was freaking stuck “on” for days. Ugh.

So, guess what my therapist told me today.

Pretty much everybody has a big red button.

True story. Some buttons are so sensitive you could drop an eyelash on them and they’d go off, some buttons are harder to push. But everybody has ’em.

I think it’s probably true.

And then the therapist said to blog about it.

So, I did.

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