TW: PTSD/depression/anxiety and treatment
(I don’t like the word treatment. I just put it up there and it feels wrong, clinical somehow.)
So, everyone says routine is important for people with PTSD and so on, the things I’m meant to have but don’t always fit. Not sleeping properly? Go to bed at the same time each day. Apathetic? Do things at the same time every day. Not hungry? Eat at the same times every day (and all the other things that come with that depending on the food thing, which I am so not getting into today).
So, everyone who says this then gets totally invested in destroying that. Go to bed at the same time each day? But get up early to come to an appointment, because having to pay for their time automatically renders it more important than anything else. Do more physical activity? I’m just going to keep you an hour past your scheduled appointment time so you can’t go to the class you signed up for.
Then, if you cancel an appointment, because like, it’s a high pain day and you can’t get there, or you have two appointments at once and need to pick one to actually attend, you get punished. If you don’t know enough in advance that you’re going to have a high pain day, you have to pay for the appointment anyway. Then there’s the ‘you didn’t attend so now we won’t see you’, even if you let them know in advance.
But if they need to cancel? Two hours notice, if at all. That thing I just said, keeping past a scheduled time so you can’t go to class? That just happened to me the other week. I said I couldn’t stay, but I wasn’t allowed to reschedule, and I was promised that we didn’t need all the time and I would still be able to get there. Yeah, no. Another time I got there, and they told me off for not using email because they had to reschedule and they didn’t want to waste my time, except I had, you know, already left by the time they decided to let anyone know.
Some people might say that dealing with unexpected things is important. That’s not the point, though. The routine is the important thing – it’s meant to be a stable thing when everything else isn’t, and it’s meant to develop “good” habits. The routine also means that we know and can prepare for things that would be much more difficult at random times or short notice. Sometimes the routine is all that we have to cling to as ‘normal’ and taking that away is destabilising, a thing which can have lasting effect.
So why did this come up today?
Well, apparently my speech therapy class was canceled. I received a Facebook message (carefully generic), four hours before it was meant to begin. I received a further message, from someone else, about having either an alternate teacher or rescheduling. I refuse to be alone in a room with their alternate, because she feels it’s okay to corner me in private and question me about my hair, culminating in “we should get drunk so I can play with your hair!” (and I cannot make anyone there see that that is not okay). I picked one of the available times to reschedule to, but apparently, as usual, I wasn’t fast enough, and now I don’t have a class this week at all, because I gave up and told them not to worry about rescheduling since it’s obviously too hard (and also, they offered me another day, which I couldn’t take because I have to keep that time for in case I get a callback, so now they’ve decided on their own to put me on a cancellation list for only one day of the four days he works between now and my next class).
I mean, at least it’s not like last time, where I got there and my teacher wasn’t there and I had to pay anyway just to be able to leave, because like, well, there was a ten minute “no I do not want to go in a room alone with you” / “but it’s not fair it’ll be fun” argument that ended with a promise to reschedule which has yet to materialise.
But I orient my entire week around being able to attend and perform. The energy it takes to go in and make sound at all leaves me wiped for at least the two days after, then I have to rest before, and I can’t have solid food the day of, so I can breathe enough to get through it. This week it’s worse, because I had an audition last night (which, because of reasons, I did not do well in) and I’m still recovering from a massive one-off routine interruption from last week (i.e. I didn’t do well in the audition because I was hiding that I sprained my ankle) which culminated in subdrop.
Knowing that I’m in subdrop is literally the only thing that is holding me back from saying ‘you know what? I quit’ right now. I hate going, mostly because the alternate is the receptionist and that means I have to deal with her every week (usually I ignore her, because every attempt at avoiding her ends up failing because all her students seem to have disappeared for some reason), and also because I am literally making no progress. I basically go because my teacher relies on me for emotional support and I like him enough to provide it, but I don’t get anything back from that. If I stop going, then I have to go to the hospital speech therapist, who only takes appointments on Wednesday morning (even though a family friend sees her on Monday afternoons), which means I don’t get to sleep that day, because DSPS.
And so my routine for the week is literally upended, on four hours’ notice. I went back to bed after the first round of messages, but since I woke up again I haven’t been able to stop crying. Because it’s a thing, that trip is also when I do my shopping, so I also have no fresh food and no meds, and while in theory I could go out anyway just to do that, that would then mean that if they do find a time for me, I wouldn’t be able to go, because I went out today, and I can barely walk now. (See: sprained ankle. Also, dislocated shoulder. I need to rest. A lot. So cancelling class is like, good, except if I do it I have to give notice and apparently they don’t.)
I don’t think people get the impact they have. Take out the bottom brick and the whole thing falls down. That’s what screwing with routine does.
Thing is, I am sick of having to fight to keep that bottom brick in place.