I feel like I don’t even recognize myself anymore. The person I am…or always believed I was, seems to be slipping away, like I’m crumbling to pieces and revealing a different version of myself that I hate. I’m angry all the time. I get set off by the silliest things. I find myself commenting on Facebook simply to argue or be bitchy when in the past I only ever commented with love and the intent to help. I was loving, caring, soft, with a big heart. Now I feel guarded, angry, stand-offish and suspicious. What is happening to me? I can recognize I’m angry for no reason almost all of the time yet I still feel that way. I end up treating the people I love badly because I am so convinced in the moment that it is deserved – until later, when I reflect and realize there was no need for it in the first place. My stomach feels strange. Like it’s someone else’s. My heart beats differently. Am I losing my mind?
This week can end any time now.
On Saturday, my 47 year old mother (lawyer, community activist, in very good health and shape) fell down the steep set of stairs in her house. She had been feeling dizzy for about a week before falling. When she got up (this was relayed to me by my sister, as my mom remembers none if it and I live in a different city) she threw up, made it to the bathroom, and blacked out. She hit the ground hard – the sound alerted my sister who dragged her out of the bathroom and stayed with her until she came back around. She refused to go to the hospital.
That same day, as I am just finding out, my 67 year old dad suffered a heart attack. Strange. Coincidences like these don’t tickle my fancy. My parents have been divorced for 2 years – haven’t even talked since then, but they live a few blocks away from each other. The day my mom fell, my dad was recovering from a knee surgery for his arthritis. Thankfully, he was on blood thinners because of the surgery – this probably saved me from writing this post about how I just lost my father.
I am so scared. My health anxiety may be crippling but the pain and worry I’m feeling every single time my thoughts wander and I realize how serious these things are. I can deal with my own health issues (in a way) but this uncertainty when it comes to my parents is not the same thing. My boyfriend keeps asking
“what do you want to do?”
and I just can’t even fathom the question. What do I do? I can’t make any decisions. I can’t figure out what to eat for breakfast or wear to work. Suddenly even the simplest decisions feel life-altering,
I can’t lose them. But I can’t just stand here doing nothing…
It’s been a long, long time since I created this blog. I originally made it as part of a first-year College project and have since deleted posts and moved on. However – mental health is more prevalent in my life now, as a graduate who has moved past college, past the title of “student” and into the workforce (with the title of “Communications intern!)
When I started this blog, I thought depression was the extent of my worries. My life has changed a lot since then. I am older, (though whether or not I am wiser is certainly debatable,) my depression is not as significant as it once was – my new battle is my ongoing fight with anxiety.
Anxiety is hard. So hard. I reached the point with my depression where I finally felt as though I was winning – yes, I felt sad, but I knew the sadness would eventually lift. And sometimes I still have days when I cannot get out of bed, however they are few and far between. I reached into myself and found the strength I need, every day, to fight depression and keep myself afloat.
Anxiety is a different story. With the desire to die far behind me, in a different year, a different life – the fear of death creeps, ever slowly into my heart, into my skin. I was never overly anxious before I hit my 20’s – that’s the worst part. Depression has always been a part of my life. I’ve had years to explore it, to learn to co-exist and live my life despite its challenges. Anxiety hit me like a brick. It started as a simple annoyance one day – I realized I couldn’t pick up the phone and call to order a pizza. I tried to force words out of my mouth but just couldn’t speak to the stranger on the other end of the call without shaking like a leaf. It stayed pretty simple for about a year – I would mention in passing that I was “having some anxiety” about various things, mostly phone interactions and interviews I had to conduct as part of my schooling – but it got worse, and worse, and worse.
I almost dropped out of school. When I started in the Journalism program, I did not have anxiety (or at the very least, it was hiding-) however, when the symptoms started happening, I found I couldn’t complete coursework. When projects involve calling/setting up interviews/physically meeting with strangers and facilitating these meetings, it’s next to impossible for someone with anxiety. I would have anxiety attacks right before meetings. I would get as far as setting them up, and then find reasons to cancel. I managed to get through my first two years only completing 2 face-to-face interviews – my professors didn’t know all the other quotes I managed to get were from e-mail interviews. I started faking my way through. I considered dropping out.
March 27, 2015 – just one and a half short weeks ago – I graduated after my third-year, completing the full course-load with a B+ average. So maybe it’s not something to brag about – but I DID IT.
The point being – my anxiety started small. It’s not so small anymore.
I can’t take medicine anymore. I suffer from migraines – but the severe anxiety brought on from taking something as simple as Tylenol doesn’t seem worth it anymore. I start to freak out. Am I overdosing? Why is there sharp pain in my stomach? Why is my heart racing? Am I going to have a heart attack? Why are my feet and hands sweating? Do I have a fever? Is it meningitis? AM I DYING?
I keep coming back to this. I get aches and pains in my legs – I’m still not fully convinced these are not because I have blood clots that are going to travel to my heart/brain suddenly and without warning. I have random bruises on my legs – I’m still not convinced I don’t have cancer, or something worse. I went to my doctor with these concerns and she didn’t do anything – she performed no tests, none at all, just said “you are healthy – you just have some anxiety.”
And that was that.
I may have beaten depression, but anxiety makes me want to die sometimes. It’s so ironic. Being constantly scared stiff that I am dying – that the medicine I just took will cause irreparable damage – that I have cancer, or some other rare disease – that my back is sore, so I’m going to wake up paralyzed – it’s ruining my life. Sometimes I want to die just to stop worrying.
Without disclosing too much personal information about myself (please do not try to track me down, my privacy is important) I, ironically, work at a mental health hospital in the Communications department. I keep my struggles to myself. Today I went to Occupational Health to get some Tylenol for my headache. Now I’m sitting at my desk typing this in an attempt to keep myself grounded. Why are my hands sweating? What’s this ache in my stomach? Was two tablets too much? Am I going to have a panic attack and embarrass myself? Am I going to faint? Am I going to die?
I don’t want to die. I wish I would. I don’t want to worry. I wish I could stop.
More to come…