I forget my warning signals because I so rarely run out of energy and ability to cope -- really, before last November it hadn't happened for years. It seems to be happening more often (about every 3-4 months) now that my life is more emotionally/spiritually intense, so it's something I want to start watching for. I need to remember these signs: it takes massive effort to speak, I feel unable to put my thoughts into words, I don't know the answer to how I'm feeling, I let my room stay messy, I feel tired all the time, I don't want to take risks, and I feel numb to things that usually excite me. When it gets to the point where small decisions give me panic attacks it has gone too far -- I want to catch it before then. Also when I have a few hours of feeling better I tend to dismiss my previous feelings as no-longer-relevant, especially when the feeling-better is ecstatic and full of love -- but if I instantly spend every bit of energy I'm given, the emptiness stays. It's like as long as I have at least 20%, I can multiply it and make it feel full, but if it drops below that it's really REALLY hard to even add, and multiplying is out of the question. I feel "broken" again and the idea of needing 'just receiving' time four times a year seems so big, especially if I try to head it off -- I worry that I'll ask for it and I won't have actually needed it, and then I will need it and people will be like "but I just did that!" And if I'm not totally out, I don't feel okay asking for someone to put aside their needs/wants for me for a little while. I feel like it has to be an emergency (like, I'm emotionally shutting down, falling inside myself) for that to be okay. I feel like healthy, balanced relationships mean that both people get lots of support, but I'm so in the habit of doing all the supporting for both people that it feels like support for me is so much bigger than support for the other person. I feel like my increased fragility means that I need to learn to ask for more. I can be okay just doing it myself but it will HURT if the other person is not willing/able to be there for me, and adding hurt when I'm already so low is such a risk. I guess it comes down to this -- am I willing to risk that hurt for the chance of deeper connection? I think so, I hope so.
It is partly fear of punishment for not giving, but I think it's also a pride thing. I've always been the strong one, the caretaker, and I think I put some of my identity in that role. I want to be okay and feel secure in relationships where I'm NOT "the one who gives more." I want to have more balance. I've been wanting that -- I suppose I didn't really think about the fact that I'd have to get more fragile in order for others to have a chance to support me, heh. Well, it's worth it. This fresh wild life is the one I've yearned for.