What do you do when your next appointment with the doctor is 17 days from now?
You talk. More precisely, you talk to yourself. Then you think it is not enough. In order to benefit from its calming powers, this kind of ramblings must be shared. So, you talk to yourself through your blog. Isn’t what a blog is for? I have started to see Chocolate’n’Waffles as my private therapist. FREE therapist, something that you can’t find in real life these days! It calms me down when I’m restless, it keeps me busy when my mind is clouded with the wrong thoughts, it is the best escape door. And it is a good tool to let your emotions go and bother people with them, haha! This is a post you can skip if you don’t want to read about anxiety today, as I doubt I’ll be talking about books, unless it is to say I threw one at someone!
Last night, for the first time since I started my therapy, I had a breakdown. It came as a shock. I had been making progress, big and small, I had started to talk more openly about it, I was beginning to make plans again (a publishing degree, moving closer to Bordeaux, going back to yoga…) I thought I was on the right track. After all, hadn’t I succeeded in going into Sephora to get my eyebrows done, a painful and long experience! And spent an hour half-naked in a lingerie boutique in the same mall to reward myself with a push-up bra? I know I owe those changes to the 20 minutes talks I get every two weeks with my doctor and, most importantly, to my new best friend, Valium. Still, I was doing better, I was feeling stronger. Yes, I was stressed, but no longer anxious all the time. Leaving the house was done without thinking about what would or could happen. I was better and a little bit stronger.
That is why the shower was pretty cold when I broke in tears last night. Why? See, when my lack of sleep reaches a certain point, I stop eating. My stomach won’t let me get any food because it is too tired to work! Lazy ass. So, I started to feel queasy. Nausea is a symptom I have associated with anxiety a long time ago. What is a simple reflex of your body when faced with danger, or most of the time for the rest of the world just a call from your body telling you you haven’t done the right thing for it is a red light in my head triggering the Panic Team. For me, symptoms are scary, even the slightest one frightens me to death and I start going all panicky and irrational. So, when I realized I wouldn’t be able to eat, I lost it. I wondered what was happening to me, how I would manage to take my medicine on an empty stomach, if I was gonna be sick, all possible crazy scenarios you can think of when scared witless. I have a history of anorexia so every meal I miss is not okay, and any stress just eats away the little pounds I have managed to painfully gain through many big meals.
Writing this, thirteen hours later, it dawns on me how silly it all sounds. But this silliness is my reality. So I sat on the floor for two hours and cried, wondering what to do, thinking I was the stupidest, weakest, and that I did not deserve all the things I had. It took my mom hours to take me to bed with my meds, and in the process, I ruined my lovely glasses, which triggered another pool of tears. I don’t remember much else except that I was glad I was not alone, even if at the time, I was angry at myself and at my mother, hence feeling like the loneliest person on Earth.
This is my first setback. The pill is hard to swallow. I recall wondering why I was bothering making any efforts if the slightest thing could be bring back down the hole again so easily. I still wonder, at this very moment.
Time is a funny thing, because I finished Loving the Life Less Lived yesterday morning and the author explained that every panic attack, every setback, every visit to the darkness made her stronger, even if it did not feel like it at the time. I wonder if this will make me stronger. I wonder if this won’t take me back to the start. I wonder if I have the energy to hope again, to try again, to keep learning about myself and how to cope.
I am not giving up. That’s not what a Donna does (this sounds so confident! I’m going with a fake it till you make it here!) I was thrown on the floor more than once and always came back. I am a weed, I don’t go away. I will keep wondering, I will try to be gentle with myself, I will try again.
I wish I had learned a lesson, I wish I could say “I now understand myself better”, but I don’t. Maybe someday it will make sense. Until then I’ll keep doing my best, one step at a time.
This is not a pity-me post, this is life with a general anxiety disorder and what it involves. It’s like those shows showing you real cops catching real bad guys. Anxiety is sadly common, and while our experience can be very similar, I do believe everyone has a different journey and triggers, so I want to share mine and hope it informs or helps someone else to know they’re not the craziest.
Now I’m going to jump into my favorite PJs, wrap myself in my fluffy pink blanket, and grab Furiously Happy. I will only get up to get my tea and snacks and I’m going to indulge in comfort food.
If you read this, thank you. You don’t have to comment or be nice. I just want you all to take care of yourself and enjoy the good days.
Donna is taking a day off, she’ll be all yours tomorrow! 😊