(I started writing this on Facebook and decided to put it here instead…)
How I know the stress is getting really fucking bad: an old muscle tic in my neck is back. Grinding something near my vocal cords that makes the lump in my neck bounce up and down, it makes a grinding noise and feels horrible. But I do it when I’m this tense.
I am constantly aware of just how much trauma and tension my body carries. I hold it, I carry it, I feel it. I don’t have the capacity to ignore it completely. I can shut off my acknowledgement of it, in the same way that I can shut off my acknowledgement of blisters upon blisters when I’ve had to walk 10 miles in a day with old socks and poorly-fitting shoes, in the same way that I can turn off my acknowledgement of my hunger when I haven’t had enough to eat for a week and I know I won’t have enough to eat for months.
But it never leaves me, and my awareness of it is never lacking. There are occasional moments where the beauty of some intoxicating substance or other allows me to forget it for a moment, but that awareness returns too quickly. And I don’t want that temporary break, I want to address the actual issues. I could take aspirin if I had an icepick lodged in my skull, but that’s not an ideal way of dealing with the situation.