February 7, 2012

Cup of Patience

I'm trying to effectively nail down my mental illness. Today, I'm using this analogy.

In the morning, assuming I had a reasonable night's sleep, I wake up with a cup of patience. The mug is full, brimming, and that is the buffer with which I enter my day. That cup of patience is what shields me from everything that would send me soaring to the clouds or plummeting to the depths. A cup of patience is all that keeps me level, grounded.

I drop coffee grounds all over the floor. A tablespoon of patience slips over the edge of my mug, spoiling my day very slightly. It's not a big deal though, I clean it up.

My daughter dawdles on the walk to school. She takes a gulp out of my mug. Thankfully, at five, that leaves half the cup, but she can drink my cup dry very quickly.

Sitting at work, I nurse my half mug against corrupted files, mistakes made, people changing the plans. Often, before the work day is done, my cup is empty.

If I'm very lucky, I managed to take a trickle of patience home in my mug. On good days, I get a few minutes to myself after work and can refill my cup a little. Never full—it's only full in the morning, but enough to get me through the evening. More often, supper burns, I miss my yoga practice, my daughter doesn't like what I've made for supper, and that last trickle is swallowed up.

Then I snap at everyone and everything. I have no buffer. the next thing that goes wrong is the worst of all things. If enough things go wrong after the cup is empty, even when they are all tiny, I want to end everything. I want to push a button that obliterates the world, starting with me.

Today, my cup isn't empty, but it isn't half-full either. I don't know how much I'll have left at the end of the day. I hope it lasts.

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