Over a month ago...

Over a month ago I was barely sleeping.

Over a month ago I felt uncomfortable walking in my own neighborhood. Not to walk the pups. Not to go to the mailbox.

Over a month ago I didn't want to be left alone anywhere. I didn't even want to stand in the pool by myself if no one was in the backyard. I didn't want to be in the house if my dad or husband were right out back. I didn't go anywhere by myself.

Over a month ago it was near impossible for me to eat.

Over a month ago I brought my water bottle with me everywhere...to bed, to grocery stores, to restaurants.

Over a month ago I had to stop watching This is the End because the sound and content were too much for me to cope with.

My days over a month ago can collectively be considered as the worst...ever.

I'm not the same person I was before all of this started. I'm weak physically. Every day I have to make myself eat. Every day it seems my mind and body are struggling in some new way. Just as I grow accustomed to something...it changes. My hormones are way out of wack. I cry over pretty much anything. Even stuff that is only a little sad. I don't know what the fuck is going on. I don't know if I ever will.

And I'm supposed to accept not knowing.

My counselor, someone I started seeing shortly after all of this started, says I'm not supposed to ask why. She says that people who "spontaneously develop" these types of anxiety have a way harder time accepting what is going on and spend more time trying to figure out why instead of focusing on learning to deal. And well, that pretty much describes me.

I spent years moving from place to place, country to country without knowing a single person or speaking the language. I road tripped across much of the United States at various times in my life and flown more times then I could keep track of. New jobs. Skydiving. Scuba diving. Backpack camping. I rode my bike down one whole side of the country. I climbed Mt. Fuji. I earned an A in both Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry after a hesitancy to change careers because of the science requirements. I'm married. How does someone do all of these things, all things that potentially produce fear and apprehension, and then suddenly not feel comfortable being alone in their own home?

That's why this is so incredibly hard.

So I'm trying so very hard to not ask why anymore. I'm trying to not compare who I am now to who I was before. I'm trying to be positive. I start ever day with some form of meditation or gratitude awareness. I'm trying to acknowledge what is good now and that is why I have to note where I was weeks ago. It's super necessary that I recognize where I was so that I can see where I am and how much I've improved.

I assign myself daily tasks to keep busy in addition to my school work. I spend my time learning all about panic disorders and agoraphobia and how our mind can trick us into a constant cycle of anxious thoughts. I spend a lot of time in what is known as the "anticipation" stage waiting for the next round.

Carrying my water bottle everywhere...like into grocery stores and not on a hike? That's a thing people with anxiety do. Restricting otherwise normal behaviors out of fear that another panic attack will occur? That's also part of the cycle.

I can only imagine what some of you are thinking. I suppose I could be embarrassed by all of this...vulnerable to how I might be perceived, but I'm not. Anxiety sucks and some of you will never know what it is like because it's just not one of the things you will ever have to deal with. I say you are beyond lucky. Some of you might think this is all a big crock of shit and that I should just get over it. Well for one, if you actually think that way, I doubt you've even read this far. And two, I absolutely wish it was something I could just get over. Trust that I've told myself that very same thing over and over again these last few months. Unfortunately, that's not how it works...or so I'm learning.

The irony? I never really empathized completely with people who spoke of anxiety in regards to their inability to do things...to function normally. I just didn't understand. How hilarious that I'm now on the other side. And now, I feel that same opinion from others at times...a basic disregard for what I'm going through. I can tell when someone doesn't get it. And it is truly okay that they don't; because I didn't either.

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