Waking up in The Horrors

I know what you’re thinking. “Tree killer.”

Do you ever wake up the morning after a night of debautchery in the horrors? I do. Any time I get truly tipsy, I end up lying in bed, panicking about all the stupid things I said and did the night before. Did I really say that? Does that guy think I’m a total idiot now? Did I insult her? Oh my God! Was my dress tucked in to my pantyhose the whole time we were at that bar?

I spend a lot of time the next day calling my friends and apologizing for things I may have said or done.

Mornings after the night before aren’t the only time I feel this angst. In fact, one of the things I dislike about being me, is my obsession with past wrongs. Stupid things I’ve said or done that I just can’t. Let. Go.

Ugh. It takes a lot of energy to be me.

I drive myself bonkers thinking of the time when I was 10 and I pulled bark off a tree to look at the tunnels some bugs had chewed into the wood; when my neighbor’s brother told me I killed the tree I was devastated. I haven’t been back to Stirling in a long time but I’m pretty sure that tree is just fine. The point is, it’s something bad and I did it, so it lives up there in my head for all eternity…I’m a tree murderer.

Then there are the breakups and shakeups of my (ever so limited) love life through the years. Why didn’t so and so call me back? It was something I did; I’m such an idiot. And what about that other one, why didn’t I break up with him sooner? I knew he was all wrong for me —I was so weak; I couldn’t even break up with someone.

Why does my brain go back to tree bark and ex-boyfriends whenever I get a few minutes to think? I suspect it’s when I’m already a little down, although I’ve never really paid attention to the timing. My pattern is to think negative thoughts and remembering I’m a tree murderer is a great way to remind myself how awful I am.

It’s not all bark and boyfriends — I also obsess over conversations with my mother when I know I hurt her feelings, fights I had with my husband that didn’t turn out well, the time I flirted madly with a married man (I was 21 and stupid, although I’d say he was even stupider!) — essentially anything I can feel guilty about.

On better, calmer days I can think, “Gee, my mom and I get along pretty well most of the time.” I’ll remember that I’m married to a total dreamboat, and I have tons of trees in my yard that seem to be thriving… In reality, everything seems to be just fine. But in my head, it’s a different story and my brain spins and turns around and around like a caffeinated hamster in a wheel that just can’t stop running even though he’d like to drop from exhaustion.

I mentioned all of this to my doctor once and she told me it’s part of my Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Feeling guilty, having that “one who got away”, wishing you could change things that happened a hundred years ago. Am I alone in this? What do you do when you can’t turn off your brain?

Oh, and why can I obsess over conversations that happened over a decade ago but I can’t remember where I put my purse?

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