I’m still going through papers collected over the years of PTSD-ignorance. I found a notebook that spanned a few years from 2000 through 2001 into 2002. There are no years written, but based on the contents, I can figure out what the years were. One page was a rough sketch of a floor plan for an apartment I was considering buying. I decided to pull the trigger and make an offer but a cash offer got it instead. That was the year 2000. Another page had a note to give a friend the address of my psychiatrist, who was my doctor for ADHD. I had what I believe was a nervous breakdown and needed an escort to help me get to the doctor’s office on the Upper East Side from Brooklyn. This was after 9/11, in 2002, and I was completely oblivious that 9/11 had affected me. I thought I was exhausted from being a good friend to others while working too hard.
Now when I read my notes and to-do lists in this book, I see that my work was manageable. I made lists with boxes to check as tasks completed. There are sketches of ideas, financial calculations, and phone numbers to collect on an unpaid bill. I was in business. I was busy, but I managed.
I even wrote a joke. In 2001 – ironically after 9/11 – I started doing stand-up comedy. Maybe it was my way of living in denial of a mental problem I had trouble acknowledging. The joke goes like this (with some current edits for jokability):
“I feel sorry for people who have Chinese names. I have a friend whose name is Pu…” (pronounced “poo”) “…At least she spells it a good way. If someone asks, she can say, ‘P – U’.”
Thinking back makes me miss getting on stage with the possibility of getting heckled or booed. Back then I didn’t like the thought of heckling and booing, but now it seems like that’s all part of the fun. Says something about my confidence and how it has grown.
It’s sad when people with problems can’t laugh about them. But that’s a topic for another post.