The fog started to lift. Just a smidge. The first sign I could believe in was my appetite coming back. It is this voracious hunger like I haven’t fed myself in days. The strength it takes to survive these times leaves me depleted. My natural desire to take down an entire meal is undeniable. The internal repairing during the hours of sleep must burn thousands of calories, or it would if it wasn’t all in my brain, dangit. It feels similar to the toll the flu takes on your body, it is exhausting and savage.
So, I eat. I am able to start to process, more clarity. It can be so slow that you almost don’t believe it. Like watching a flower bloom or a child grow it can feel painstakingly slow. I suppose it is better than just being better in a flash, that might overwhelm my already overworked senses. Patience, however, is not my strong suit. I have to remind myself to not try and rush it because then I just exacerbate the panic all over again. I sit, I rest, I ignore the phone and TV. I read. I love on my pup, I am certain she was sent to me to be my therapy.
Around 9:30 I am exhausted all over again, the anxiety waning slowly, the fatigue intense. For the first time in weeks, I didn’t take anything to help me sleep. I passed out hard but of course, like clockwork when I don’t take anything, I woke up at 3 a.m. I laughed though because I am consistent at waking at that time (normally frustrating), but was grateful to have woken up and not felt as bad as I had for the last 30 hours. Some relief.
Today has been exponentially better. There is a little tightness in my chest, a reminder I can slip back if I am not careful. Kid gloves, calm situations, low responsiveness. Feels like several days have passed, looking at my phone for clarification on exactly what day it is. It is Wednesday, almost forty-eight hours of hell but I feel lucky it wasn’t longer.
The simplest of actions are altered and dramatic. Today, I got up and walked to the bathroom, yesterday I had to overcome the looming dread of the same set of steps. Preparing myself for the 50 or so steps for over five minutes. Today, greeting a coworker with a smile, yesterday, pressing my lips together to avoid cracking under the pressure, head down so the no one could measure the disaster within me. Pacing the path so that the whole world would not swallow me up, holding my breath until I was safely behind the stall door. Just to pee I had to armor myself for battle, every step creating a thud within my head, the kind that makes you feel like you’re being chased. Sure if I spoke to anyone the shrill angst in my voice would be 2 octaves too high and nearly a scream, if it came out at all.
I recognize this is still, even in chronological order, all over the place. But that is exactly why I am writing it. That is how anxiety disorder goes. There is often no reason, and even more frustrating, no fix. There are things that help, there are also things that help sometimes and then they are completely useless another. Out of it just a bit more this evening, I realize I had a few tell tales. My anger on Monday, my hands breaking out, my lack of appetite, a slip into some old bad habits and insecurities. Being aware of these things can help in preparing, giving myself some rest and room to go through what inevitably comes.
No one with a mental health issue expects anyone to fix them, or even understand. What we do need is support, constant and consistent, a calm presence we know we can count on, or, none. And, that is okay too, people leave, we get it, I probably couldn’t handle me either. But if you stay, stay consistent. I recently said that while I learned a long time ago to only rely on myself, that is very difficult to do alone, when your brain and body are betraying you.
We need each other.
I need my friends and family, and sometimes a complete stranger. Today, while at work I received a notification that my blog had been used in another, and, what I read here truly touched me. Reaching someone when they need it is all I could ever ask for, creating a ripple effect of support, man, that just brought it all home.
I made it, again. 100% of my days, including the ones riddled with abuse and anxiety, I have made it all of the times! You can too. We can help each other. I am humbled and grateful.
Sending you some love and peace.