SPark, the Purple Dragon (bladespark) wrote,
SPark, the Purple Dragon

Being functional

I have a lot of thoughts here, and I'm not sure how coherently I can get them out. I may have to revisit this topic a few times. But as I'm sitting here, solidly buzzed at four in the afternoon on a random weekday, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about function, dysfunction, and the ways in which I cope with things.

I'll start by making it clear that overall being the thing I call "functional" is a very good thing. Functional keeps the bills paid. Functional keeps the house livable. Functional keeps the goober child fed. Functional is good.


Imagine a world in which you had a mind control collar on. A light, unobtrusive one. Comfortable to wear. Barely visible. And it's benign, too! Mostly all the mind control forces you to do is "adult" at a bare minimum level. The threshold is generous, even. You can leave dishes in the sink for weeks so long as they don't smell too much. You almost never have to dust anything. You can put off making that dental appointment for months and months... And yet once you notice the rough spot that's probably a cavity, the collar switches on and forces you to make the appointment. You notice the sink stinks, and now you have to clean it, like it or not. You can wallow in your misery and refuse to leave the house...for a while, and then the collar makes you go out, because you need to be an adult and get shit done. You are not permitted to let your life fall apart.

How would you feel about the collar? You'd be glad of it sometimes, probably. But do you think you'd resent it at least a little, sometimes?

There is something buried somewhere in my brain that draws a threshold on life disaster, and will not let me slip below it. I just can't. I don't even know what to label it. I'd call it pride, but it has nothing to do with how I look to other people. It's certainly not a shame thing. I can invite people over when the sink is full of dishes, I don't care. So long as they don't smell, at least. Then that whatever it is, regardless of company, goes "No. This is too much, you can't let your life be this big if a disaster, you're washing dishes right fucking now." And then I do. Angrily. Resentfully. And then I go right back to being depressed. Right back to being drunk. Right back to being a shambling emotional mess.

You know why I peeled my finger last week? (Did I mention that here? Took a chunk right off while I was peeling potatoes.) Partly because I'm clumsy to begin with, but partly because I was drunk.

I'm a functional alcoholic, and it's the same damn "functional" there.

I'm a functional depressive.

I channel the depression into drink until the mind control collar flips on, the whatever it is wakes up and goes "nope, that's too much." So I don't stay drunk. I sober up and get shit done, and I even stay sober for long chunks at a time. But then stress happens and my fucking mother turns up again and I can't deal and I can't cope and I crawl right back in the bottle, and I feel really fucking awful about it and it's definitely good that the boundary is there, it's good that I sober up and make the kid dinner and function because I have to function, I have to keep it going, I have to stop short of the line, I have to, and I can't let go and I can't wallow and I can't feel too much, and I can't...

I don't even know what I can't, to be honest. What is it that the functioning is holding me back from?

Not anything I </i>really</i> want to do. Do I really want to stop feeding my child? Of course not! Do I want to stop showering and brushing my teeth and making dental appointments? No, that'd be nuts! Do I want to stop ever leaving the house? Well...sometimes, a little. But I just feel like some people who are feeling the intense, awful, depressive, stressful, gnaw-your-own-leg-off horrific things I'm feeling get to somehow actually feel, express, channel them more by wallowing around in a kind of dysfunction that I'm not permitted to have, and there's a weird kind of jealousy.

I don't actually want my life to fall apart completely. I don't want to stop replying to customer e-mails and stop working and stop taking care of the kid and stop being a good partner to my husband and stop all that. Not really.

And yet the fact that it feels like I don't even get a choice, that there's just this thing somewhere buried in my mind that makes me "be good" sometimes makes me want to beat my head against the wall until it gets battered out.

Not actually.

Not really.

And yet...

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