Releasing the Dam

The other day I sat down and created a mind map of my physical/mental state over the last half year. The more I read about anxiety and depression, the more I understand that while the medications I took over the summer ignited this deep, (and at times) life-suspending anxiety...there's more to it than that.

There's a whole lot more to it.

I can look back at that day I got stung and regret my going to the doctor when the skin on my face inflated so much that it basically enveloped my eye. I can look back and wish I had made some other decision than to go down to the river that day. I can even look back and reprimand myself for not listening to my instincts when I began to think that our seeking out the isolated area of the river was a bad idea. The "regrets" and "take backs" that persist for my actions around that time are plenty; but focusing on all or even any of them does absolutely nothing to help me move forward. Or so I've learned.

I hate to admit it, but I still get worked up believing something is wrong with me. There is a cloudiness that exists in my head...a detachment. It doesn't completely prohibit me from functioning like it did; but on bad days it does cause me to question why. "Why does my head feel like this? And typically when I wonder why, my question is inevitably followed up by my wondering, "Will I always feel this way?"

Those questions are almost guaranteed to provoke a panic attack. It doesn't mean I always let the stream of thought get the best of me; but the discomfort those few words trigger in regards to my future are unparalleled.

It scares me.

The fears that there is something wrong with me didn't just magically appear. My body has spent so much time dealing. For months it responded negatively to the medications I was given. Adrenal crisis caused by the steroid withdrawal, mono aggravated by my weakened immune system, vitamin B12 deficiency because I wasn't really eating, Ativan withdrawal because I regularly took it to fend off the building anxiety, and then panic disorder caused by all of the above and my body feeling like it was breaking down.

The days were like dominoes...one issue caused another, caused another, and if I look at the whole time-frame like a cohesive unit...it was unlike anything I have ever before experienced. As if the packaging of all of my physical, mental, and emotional certainties were tore open and the bits were scattered here and there for me to find and figure out how to fit them back into place.



Because the shit of all this is...I thought I was infallible.

Do you know how hard it is to convince yourself that you are not actually dying when everything you've ever physically known to be true about yourself suddenly doesn't work according to script? Do you know how hard it is to make yourself understand it is possible to get better, that our bodies are so incredibly strong and adept at dealing with the shitty situations we regularly put them through, when your own thoughts are telling you otherwise? 

I never worried about myself in this context before. Not like this. Maybe it's the fact that I'm turning 40 this year, but never before did I believe my body would fail me. 

With the exception of drinking through most of my adulthood and spending a good portion of my twenties doing other stuff, I've taken pretty good care of myself. These last months have probably been the longest I can ever remember my not participating in some sort of exercise regime. I have pretty healthy eating habits. I get plenty of sleep. I make time to enjoy this life I'm living, rarely getting caught up in the "stress" of it all, and making sure I get out there and "see" what all there is. 

But this experience that I'm sure you're all tired of hearing about by now, really fucked my shit up. Even with everything I have done to be good to myself...to be good for myself, didn't matter. That thought really messed with me and my understanding of how all of "this" works...how life works. 

I am infallible. We all are. And that is a damn scary concept. 

The bee sting obviously caused quite a bit of chaos for me. But do you want to know what is also scary? The panic attacks I had prior to all of this. What's that about? So much shit to work through...





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