I can tell getting off birth control is fucking with me emotionally. I never realized how large of a role my hormones play in my emotional and mental health until I got on birth control at 18; it was a massive difference. It's not as bad as it was then, thankfully, but still a mess. In the last three weeks, I can cry at the drop of a hat. There's this song that comes on the radio every once in awhile (as if I need more reasons to hate the radio) about dying young, and every time I hear it, I think of Will and turn into a messy puddle. I second guess myself, constantly, and find that I'm struggling to talk about my feelings even more than usual, which means I don't. At all. I'm spending way, way too much time in my head lately, and not in a good way.
I find I spiral out often, letting conversations that made me upset or hurt or angry come back up, having the same debates in my head, even though I know I need to let it go. I find myself asking philosophical questions that put me nowhere but in a hole with a shovel, looking for answers I can't find. I held a focus group last week, that along with a culmination of other factors, left me in such an upset and angry state that I couldn't talk about it for two days. I find I still have some of that anger balled up. I realize some of it is very justified -- the anger isn't just me, it's a response to a lot of bullshit from my old job, frustration with the situation we're working with and my own concerns about the people involved -- but any time my anger becomes this powerful, I have to walk away. I have to step away and shut down and realize that my response is not productive, and at the end of the day, it's not hurting anyone but me. I find myself doing this a lot lately. Mentally checking out of conversations, putting up a wall around myself, censoring a lot of what I want to say. It must be a form of hell to be around. I hate how short-sighted and insular I can become. It's not a fun experience for anyone.
I'm taking a lot of this as a sign that I need to walk away from some of the LGBT work I've been doing in the past two years in NOLA. I do this. I wander away, let go and disappear underground for awhile, then when I feel called back, I return. Lately it's become overwhelming to realize I'm dating and playing and working in the same circles. Everyone's got an opinion on what queer activism and society and social responses should look like, because we're all personally invested. I get it. I find myself getting wedged often between my beliefs and convictions, the convictions of my closest friends, powerful institutions and organizations, and the often biting opinions of people I work with -- all at the expense of either a) myself and my mental health or b) the very people we're all working to help, who are often the most disenfranchised in the community. Eh. It's exhausting. I get tired of having to constantly justify who I work for, what I believe, what I'm doing to make things better, how I'm walking a thin line between opposing viewpoints... and realizing that, when I come home and go out with friends and just want to turn off, I can't. Because those issues are still very present for them, and it comes up often. I find I can't leave my frustrations and anger at work, because my work is my life. I find that I'm having to constantly justify my personal queer identity to strangers as a way of making my work legitimate to people who take one look at me and assume I'm not queer. It's a lot of fighting, at the end of the day, and it comes home with me. I need a break from it.
I'll come back. Queer advocacy and sexual health is my heart and soul, always will be, and I'm like a moth to the flame.
I don't know if it's right to blame my frustration and my sadness all on the birth control. Some of it is probably burn out from my last job. My new job is going fantastic, by the way, and I really believe it was the leap of faith I needed. It's unreal to step off a sinking ship, and turn around, only to find out it was sinking a lot faster than I realized. I didn't understand how much stress I felt from that job until I changed jobs and found that -- wow -- it's such a drastic difference. I actually enjoy going to work, the people I work with, and what I'm doing. I've been busier than ever, working 40 hour weeks and finishing this research contract and going to school and trying to fit a social life in there, too. It's not bad, but I'm guessing the stress of thirteen hour days -- I had four in a row last week, not counting going out on Tuesday and thursday night until 1am -- isn't really aiding anything. Eh. Self-care never was my specialty. It's no wonder I have high blood pressure.
I can blame it on the weather or on my birth control. I can blame it on stress or missing friends. I can blame it on a lack of sleep or living alone or the back pain that makes everything a little more difficult lately. I can say it's the pendulum effect of being so up and on from the last few months or maybe I have inherited bipolarity, though that one I'm doubtful of. But the truth is, I don't really know what it is. I just know I feel haunted, in a way I can't seem to wake up from, and I'm ready for it to end. I'd compare it to going through life under a veil, but that's just a little too close to the bell jar metaphor for me to really feel comfortable about saying that. It's probably the truth. But I'm scared to admit it. I keep telling myself that this will pass, that maybe after a month things will flatten out. I kind of hope so, because this kind of emotional intensity is absolutely exhausting. I imagine sensory integration sensitivity feels like this. My emotions are a little too raw, a little too exposed and easily overstimulated, always on. All the time.
I'll get back to writing about sex soon, I hope. I want to. I've got stories in my head that I need to let out, but unfortunately, they keep getting pushed to the back of the burner lately. I don't want this blog to feel like work, when so much of everything else in my life does. So I'll come back to it. I always do.