E has started calling every day from the hospital, usually multiple attempts at once. I have anxiety about unexpected phone calls even under the best of circumstances so I have a long standing habit of keeping my phone on Do Not Disturb. (Plus my sleep tends to rotate around the clock because I have a sleep disorder.)
When I pick up my phone and see I have missed calls (and voicemails from the collect calling operator) my adrenaline spikes through the roof and I can’t calm my anxiety down for a long time. The prospect of having to return those calls also makes me incredibly anxious because the calls never go well. They are always 20 minutes of my sister and I trying to listen, empathize and show E we love them while E switches between paranoia and complaints about the place to being verbally abusive to us, calling us names, asking loaded questions designed to give E an opportunity to berate us and just being generally horrible to interact with. All of which leaves us feeling frustrated and abused and often in tears.
I know it’s the disorder, I know it isn’t truly who E is. But I desperately need a break from this. I can’t take going through this every damn day, being constantly on the verge of a breakdown, feeling this roiling anxiety in my stomach, feeling like whatever tiny hopes I might have found get constantly destroyed… But at the same time I do not want E to feel abandoned. And I know that as difficult as this stress and anxiety are for me it has got to be worse for E, because they are still stuck in paranoia/fight-or-flight and have been for almost two weeks (that we can tell; it may even have been longer).
I don’t know what to do. I feel like no matter what I do there is no right decision and whether I call or don’t call E will take it in the worst possible light. E seems determined to view us as the enemy and yet they keep calling. And then when I gird my loins to call back they seem confused as to why I’m calling. I really don’t know what to do.