Yesterday, I was reminded of my personal boundaries in a potentially lethal way.
Lately, I have been having to answer phones, and do other office work for my husband's business that has grown too large for him to manage on his own. There is a series of urgent calls with frantic customers on the other line needing their needs put first. They all are important, and they all have relavent needs, but unfortunately, there is only so much work my husband can get to ay any given time.
Secretary work, by far, is NOT my thing. I don't like phones, and I don't like chatting with strangers. But, this is a life necessity. I can handle it, once I get used to the routine, and develop a new one. Plus, there will not always be this volume of calls, and other duties on a constant stream. I am aware of that, so I am being rational about it.
However, my brain is taxed. I thrive on routine to keep my brain running smoothly. This is stops me from overexerting and having to over think every move due to poor executive functioning skills, or really not skills, but ability, maybe? Skills implies that I need to learn more, but I have learned what helps me, and that is having s solid routine, as well as not overdoing things by trying to multitask. Yesterday, I had several appointments, and errands to run, as well as phones to tend to, and calls to return.
I felt a bit rushed, but fine. I felt like I was a bit uncomfortable, but could manage. Then, I backed into a car leaving an appointment. I didn't see him there, but it was just a superficial bump. All is good. I head to my next stops, and head home. I start not to be able to remember the phone calls I made this morning. Who did I say what to? Nevermind, I will remember later. I head out to take the dog to his obedience class. Crossing an intersection I bump another car. This was almost a big accident. I should have not done this. This is my brain malfunctioning.
I forgot the rule of how my brain works.
If I push myself beyond my limits, my brain will start regulating itself to conserve energy. If I am out of "spoons" as most say, my brain will start shutting down. I have no choice , but to stop, because it will not function at full speed. It's completely involuntary. It will start shutting out sensory information first. Hearing, and vision mostly. I might, if overwhelmed very, very badly for a very long time, stop physically feeling anything, but that is very rare. It is like a computer trying to run several different programs at once without enough RAM. I will eventually freeze up, unable to do even simple tasks. I think thoughts, but am unable to connect them meaningfully with my body. I am processing too slow, and not enough. My brain starts selecting programs to shut down to allow maximum efficiency, while avoiding a crash.
Today, I have not done as much, because I am trying to allow myself the space to replenish. Obviously, I cannot forfeit all duties, but I have chosen to only stick to the important ones. In the future, I need to work on being able to identify this overwhelmed feeling before I get to shutdown point. I'm not sure how to, yet, but I must figure it out.
I find this song to be quite descriptive of how I feel during these times.