Navigating System Failure

Tonight, I almost had a meltdown. Joe asked me if I was okay, and my default response was “Yeah. I’m good.” Because that’s always my default response. Then everything just started spilling out.

“I have been so great for the past month and a half or so. Inside my head has been clear! I’ve felt like I can do things and appreciate things and actually live life and be productive! I danced and sang and laughed and I felt like I knew what it was like to maybe have a normal life! And I don’t know what happened, but the last two days or so, I feel like it’s all just starting to slip away. And I know it’s probably not completely gone, but I start to panic that it might be, which means it definitely will be, because I’ve essentially poisoned my carefree, happy-go-lucky time with fucking anxiety! Now my brain just keeps saying ‘You could have done this instead of enjoying yourself so much! You could have been doing this or that or this or that productive thing while you had allllllll the energy, but noooooooooo you had to be having fun. Like an irresponsible little shit.'”

He smirked at me and I could see the twinkle of gears start to work behind his eyes and he said “Yeah, it’s like coming down from the good drugs. The whole world is falling apart and all you want is to get back to good, but you can’t because you’re out of drugs and there’s no way to get more.”

That was exactly what it was like. I hadn’t even thought of that. I was too caught up in the sensation to realize that was precisely how I felt.

Which of course triggered even more out-loud self examination. “How did I get to the high point anyways? What triggered the high points? What triggered the anxiety?” Then a short circuit, and I could feel the meltdown coming on.

“I don’t mean to make things sound super mechanical, but sometimes you need to keep a system running. It just has to run for whatever reason, through a certain amount of time. You can’t replace parts or do anything to take the system down for that particular amount of time, you just have to keep it running until it completely fails. Sometimes this is because the client needs the system to work at all costs for X amount of time, sometimes you run the system until it fails intentionally, because that’s how you figure out what works and what needs to be replaced…whether it’s a part, major components, or the entire system.

You’ve been running towards system failure and doing everything you can to just keep the system running. You’ve overloaded the system, and it has run high and hot, and maybe this is where it shuts down and you troubleshoot what is working and what isn’t.”

He’s right. He’s almost always right. Don’t tell him I said that, but it’s true. I’ve been running high and hot, metaphorically and literally. (Not high on drugs, just high on my crazy.) I have so many things I have obligated myself to do, most of which I don’t want to do, that I’ve worked myself right into a system failure to figure out what is causing the malfunction and what needs to be replaced.

In my best dreams, I want the entire thing replaced. I want to toss everything non-essential and completely re-boot.

But real life doesn’t work that way. I have people depending on me to do the things I’m supposed to do. Which leads me to my next point of anxiety: Direction.

I am a creature of intellectual agility, momentum, and mutability. I am, by nature, a quick study. I’m not bragging, I’m just self-aware. I know in almost 34 years, I’ve made the best of every situation that has either befallen me or that I’ve fallen ass-backwards into. I’ve landed on my feet, mostly unscathed, 100% of the time. I know I can handle whatever comes my way.

“You’re not afraid you don’t know the way. You’re afraid that when you’re looked to lead the way, you won’t know how to show everyone else.” My too-smart-for-words-gotdammit-why-are-you-so-right-I’m-so-glad-you-know-me-better-than-I-know-myself husband, Joe.

And he’s right. I know I can land on my feet and hit the ground running.

I don’t know that I can help everyone I care about always land on their feet with me.

To me, this feels like failure. 

What good is a system, if the system can’t manage all of the components?? What good is the system if it can’t support the parts and components and assist them in doing what they need to do to create and perpetuate the well functioning system?!

Sometimes parts fail.

Sometimes systems fail.

Every now and then, the main control for the system fails, and most or all of the major components need to be replaced.

“Honey, it’s time to figure out what’s working and what’s not. Run the system to failure. Restart it. See what’s working and what’s not. Replace the parts and/or major components that are no longer functioning.”

Note to self: Never under-estimate the creative advice of mechanical minded husbands.



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