Most uncomfortable thing that happens to me, on a regular basis; especially since all my chornics started up. Yes, since means it happened before the chronics. It didn’t happen as often, but it would happen, and it sucked just as much. Now, the overloads are triggered a lot easier, come on harder, and are even more uncomfortable.
Before the chronics, it was mostly a mental overload exacerbated by physical irritants. Usually, the meltdown as a result of the overload would occur after stubbing my toe. Yes, I would stub my toe, it wouldn’t even hurt much, and I’d collapse on the ground in a full on temper tantrum of crying and babbling and chucking things. I’ve always been rather, uh, passionate about things. When I was extremely stressed or depressed, my system would completely overload, so the toe stub just was one more thing wrong and I couldn’t take it. Sometimes, however, the overload would not trigger a temper tantrum. Sometimes, I would get overloaded and suddenly it would feel as though millions of ants were crawling around under my clothes and I was allergic to their feet so they were making me itchy. This wasn’t a “oh, I accidentally sat on an allergen” type of itchy, it was a deeper burning itch (which I now know is nervous system itching instead of skin/immune system). Not fun. Often, these crawling overloads were followed by the toe stub temper tantrums.
Do these still happen after the chronics? YES THEY DO!!! Oh yes, yes, unfortunately, they still happen quite often. Dan always gets very confused when I stub my toe and collapse, because he doesn’t know if it’s an overload or if I actually hurt myself (which has actually happened several times thanks to carelessness). Luckily, once he realizes it’s an overload, he just helps me to the couch, fixes things he knows irritate me, and then gets me a drink and waits until it’s burned itself out. The clothing one also still happens a lot, which is inconvenient (to say the least) because it most frequently happens when I’m out doing errands and such.
When my system is overloaded, and stays that way, I can’t stand ANYTHING being out of place. I get extremely compulsive about how things have to be and I get extremely snappy when they aren’t right. This usually peaks when trying to get to sleep because I have nothing to distract myself anymore. And it happened again last night.
My allergies are going bonkers (see previous post). Dan put my allergy eye drops in for me right before I decided to try to sleep (so right after the post). When my allergies are as flared up as they were last night (and actually still are) the eye drops really hurt. So that didn’t help, and they continued to sting for quite some time. I had a tee shirt on, a very soft one that I sleep in frequently, even though it was hot… because the dumb roofing company is still here and we have skylights above our bed. Usually, if it’s crazy warm or I’m overloading, I try to avoid pajamas. So I was wearing a tee, my eyes were burning like crazy, and the street noise was driving me bonkers. After saying goodnight to Dan, I tried to get to sleep. I sleep on my side, and was having an extremely difficult time getting my tee to be comfortable, and every time I adjusted the tee, the sheets would get messed up. I was completely exhausted, and yes, my eyes were still stinging. The bed felt like it had crumbs in it (which happens just due to dust and walking around on carpet), I had hairs tickling my nose on the pillow and sheets, the blanket (needed to keep the breeze from “flash freezing” me, even when it’s hot out) wouldn’t stay in place and kept messing up the sheet… then I tried to fix the blanket and I got my finger stuck in the sheet and accidentally yanked it off of Dan too. Obviously, this woke him up. I’m very obviously angry and agitated beyond belief when I’m telling him why he was suddenly uncovered. He says “it’s okay” and I lose it.
I start bawling, and I’m crying so hard I can’t even speak. I finally squeak out the word “overload.” Sometimes, at night when we’re both exhausted, he doesn’t always have the best reactions to my meltdowns. I can’t blame him, he usually reacts better than I think I would. But last night, he sat up and very calmly, softly, and lovingly asked what he could do. I couldn’t answer, so he actually started suggesting things. He voluntarily ended up wiping my entire half of the bed clean of all crumbs and hairs, then he smoothed out the mattress liner and bottom sheet. He shut the window and blinds, leaving just the skylights open, and then helped me get the top sheet and blanket organized properly. If I hadn’t been so overloaded, I would have been able to fully appreciate the depth of care he was providing me. I definitely do now, and I realize how perfectly lucky I am to have him in my life.
Why did I overload last night? My allergies are haywire, which always sets my nerves ablaze… this is part of why I was so excited that I’d be doing allergy shots!
I’m telling you this embarrassing aspect of my illnesses (I’m ashamed that at 25 I still have temper tantrums) to remind people that chronic illnesses are around forever and there are always going to be days that sufferers lose control. I don’t have a magic cure for the loss of control, and I obviously don’t have the best coping mechanisms, but it’s okay. Yes, I’m embarrassed, and yes, I’m working on it, but it’s okay. We all have bad days, some are just far worse than others.
(I couldn’t get the embed thing with Getty Images to work properly, I’ll have to work on it more, it was framing everything in a giant white box and I couldn’t center them)