Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Inner Critics

“We tell ourselves so many lies and half-truths ... We listen and are duly impressed by these inner voices that turn into unseen judges that nag at us. We give each of these judges a seat of honor in our minds, all the while hating their guts and their never-ending supply of judgements ... We give the judges permission to accompany us on each journey of life, never daring to realize that we can park them, at least momentarily.”
-- Eloise Ristad

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Order in the Court!

I received notice for jury duty this week. Sunday evening I went on line and saw that my panel (#43) did not have to show up. The procedure is to call in or go online, which I think is easier, and see if your panel has to show up. Monday evening I checked in - nope. Tuesday evening, same thing. I'm beginning to think I've lucked out when I clicked the button Wednesday night. Panels 41-49 to appear at 8:15 a.m. Thursday. Instant panic! I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, something akin to opening a bill and seeing that it's about 3x more than what you were expecting. When W. went to bed at 10:00, I told him I'd need the car. By midnight, I was certain there was no way I was going to be able to pull this off.

The last time I had jury duty my office was just one block away from the courthouse. We would go and check in then they would release us, providing we could get back to the courthouse within ten minutes if our panel was called. They were actually kind enough to call us if that was the case. It sure beats sitting in those hard chairs, wasting time, knowing your work would be piling up. Then if you should happen to be impaneled, it could be another week or two, if you're lucky.

Was the anxiety due to the fact that the courthouse is so close to my office? Or is it because of having to make a public appearance? I really don't know. I have been able to go shopping on occasion but it's nothing I makes plans for. If the car is here and I happen to be "up" for it, I go. If I make plans, too often it's just not in the cards and I can't force myself to leave the house.

By 1:00 a.m., I knew I was making myself sick, literally. At 1:30, I logged on to the website and e-mailed the court's jury services and begged off, telling them I was ill. Technically, a lie but I had worked myself into such a state, I knew I'd wind up being up all night.
The whole time this was going on, I was going in and out of different websites and blogs, managing to find an escape here and there. But it was so temporary and I'd always have to come back to the fact that I have to get up and go to the courthouse in the morning, followed by that old familiar feeling. All this from a person who dutifully, for years, was able to get dressed and go off to work everyday - well, most everyday, when I wasn't working myself up to a state of anxiety! But now, it's become debilitating.

It's now 2:30 a.m. and I'm relating this so it's freshly in my mind. My body is still feeling "edgy," but not as intense as I was just an hour ago. My breathing is calming down and I've been able to get in a few deep breaths. I have no idea why I'm having so much difficulty other than another outcome of stress-related disorders.