Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Alone I Break

(Not a funny, or cute post today folks. Feel free to skip this one if you only come for cat photos, or laughter)

My anxiety is worse today. We recieved an email from our landlord saying he'd like to speak with us about our lease. Now, it's probably nothing. I mean, I think we're good tenants (if we're not, the other people here have said nothing) and we have always paid our rent on time. But I'm in a horrible panic over it now.
Of course, I also sometimes hide in the hallway when he mows the lawn, because that's the only place in our home besides our closet that doesn't have windows. So... Yeah.

My hands are shaking, I'm sick to my stomach, and I barely slept last night. I burst into tears for no reason this morning. I hate this so much. I feel like a prisoner inside my head.
I understand this though. The anxiety will be followed by a crushing depression, or if I'm really lucky, I will have both at the same time. I'd say it's like a dear friend, whom you know well... But this is not my friend. A friend has warm connotations of comfort, and support. This is like the whip you know too well. You know the pain, you know the burning it leaves behind it. You remember the smell of your own fear, tears and blood that it leaves in its wake. You know it so well, that you forget to fear it sometimes. You forget that there were times when you were not subjected to its abuses. You forget that it doesn't have to be this way.

Honestly, though I know that it really DOESN'T have to be like this, I can barely remember a time when it wasn't. I can recall all the way back to Elementary school, waking up in the morning, and vomiting because I couldn't stand the idea of sitting in that classroom. I wasn't bullied, I was teased maybe a little, because I was shy, and awkward, and overweight. But for the most part, the other kids merely ignored me. And I ignored them, spending my recess period reading a book in the grass rather than playing.
High school was the same, despite the fact that I lost my baby chub, and was moderately popular, with many friends. I would just suddenly panic at the very idea of going to school. I wasn't even a bad student! I don't think my mom had ever heard of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so no one knew how to help me. (By the way, that link was sort of alarming for me, as that laundry list of symptoms is basically a run down of my day to day existence) We sort of just thought I was a sick kid. I didn't realize.

It wasn't until after my son was born, and my fiancee left me that we realized there was anything wrong. I had an attack so severe that I was convinced I couldn't breathe. I thought I was dying. I was terrified, and... it was awful. I can remember the feeling of dying, of thinking I was dying.

*pauses for a deep breath and a sip of tea*

They put me on medication after that, which quite honestly made everything worse. I was given Paxil, and also Valium. Which seems to me in retrospect, a bad decision by the doctor. After a few months, I quit taking them, because while I didn't feel anxious about anything, I didn't feel anything at all. Not even when my little boy would cuddle me. Afterwards, I wasn't covered by any sort of health care, so I haven't been on medication for this for... *thinks* 14 years.
Wow. That's a long time.

I want to beat this demon. I want to be okay. I want to feel safe, without having to make my husband stop everything he's doing and hold me.
Did you know I don't drive? I don't. I want to, but I don't. Every time I get behind the wheel of a vehicle, I become certain that I am going to kill someone with the beast of steel that I have been put in charge of. Ironically, my husband says that when I forget to be afraid of driving, I'm an excellent driver, with no real bad habits to speak of.
Not driving limits my life in so many ways. There's so much I want to do, but I'm hampered by the limits of public transportation. I've been wanting to go to Chicago, and see the aquarium there, but I haven't because I would need to drive there, or make my husband drive me there.
I hate this.

Well, at least this has been cathartic for me. I feel a little better. I still have knots in my stomach, but the tightness in my chest has eased. I can't eat, but I can breathe now. *laughs*

Anyone who also deals with this, please know you're not alone. It's okay, you're not weak, and you're not "crazy". It doesn't have to beat you. We can walk this path together, and come out into the light.

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