I spent the week before Christmas with my wife in New York City. I followed what I now see as an emerging pattern: the first couple of days are great and then a decline in physical and especially mental stamina.
So, on Friday I stood in front of the Union Square subway station and threw a fit. I had slid my MTA fare card and, instead of the normal turnstile gates that most city subway stations have, this one had the bars where you push your way around, like a revolving door, to get into the station.
Except mine went halfway around and stopped. As I later found out, I was doing it wrong. My wife was on the other side trying to coach me and I kept making the same mistake and getting madder and madder until I swore a blue streak and stomped a few times on the sidewalk.
I count my blessing that there no MTA cops around – only people I would never see again.
I made it through the swinging bars, finally, and went into a near fugue state. Back at the hotel, I broke down. I was so upset with myself – I had been doing so well up until that moment and then I broke.
For about 15 seconds I had no control over my behavior. As anyone with BPD can tell you – 15 seconds of rage can do a lot of damage.
It’s another lesson for me in, well, I don’t know what – trying to recognize and head off my triggers? That didn’t work. When I slid my card, sure I was tired and sore but having an episode was the farthest thing from my mind.
I did want to go back to the hotel earlier because I knew my energy was running out. We did one or two things after I said I wanted to go back to the hotel but although I was getting tired and sorer in the back and legs, I had gone the extra mile before and got away with it – but not this time.
I had to tell my wife that I needed to follow what I felt – if I say I need to go back to the hotel, I’m not trying to ruin her fun – I really need to go back to the hotel. Next time, since we both had our own hotel keys, I just need to go back on my own and let my wife do what she wants to do.
I can’t help but say I envy her energy. My tank runs out far faster than hers and it puts a crimp in our times together. I know she understands what happens to me, but this is something that more communication on my part will help the situations that arise.
Speaking of tanks. . .
And yesterday when we got home, I went downstairs to put the empty luggage in the basement and found water all over the floor – the hot water tank’s emergency pressure valve had sprung a leak. Thankfully the leak had begun today and not the day we left which could have resulted in a disaster. So off to Home Depot I ran for a new valve. Using instructions, I got off the Internet, I replaced the valve, filled the tank back up and lit the pilot light.
What didn’t happen is a meltdown. Sure, I was nervous and upset but in times of crisis, I have this unbelievable ability to remain, for the most part, calm and focused. Why bungling the entry into a subway causes me to fly into a rage but a leaking hot water tank doesn’t, is a mystery I haven’t solved yet.
All I know is I have an understanding wife and hot water today on Christmas Eve.
And that ain’t bad.