Today did NOT go like this. There was no sparkling to be had, no glitter left lying around.
Anxiety comes and goes in waves. Sometimes they’re just creeping up on the sand enough to touch your feet, making sure you know the ocean of fear is still right there. Other times it’s a bigger wave that catches you at the knee and pushes you over. And sometime it’s a massive wave, one that pulls you under tumbling around, unsure which way is up.
Today is a massive wave.
Even when I’m feeling so anxious that I can’t talk on the phone, I still resist taking calming medication, and I resist changing anything for or because of the anxiety. This isn’t always healthy though, and today I had to push my competitive instincts and pride aside to not only take that extra help from medication but also to call in sick to work.
I had a really great day on Saturday with some people I am so thankful to call best friends, and some others that I’m really excited and happy to call new friends. If anyone had met me for the first time on Saturday, they would have no idea anything else is going on inside that brain of mine, aside from a normal, fun, 26 year old’s thoughts.
But then Sunday rolled around and I was hungover in the morning. Whenever I’m sick, hungover, injured – anything that makes my body vulnerable – anxiety creeps in. As if vulnerability is a crack in the ceiling, allowing water to seep in, allowing waves to form and knock me over.
On Sunday I couldn’t talk to anyone. My own mother called me and I rejected the call, texting her instead to say “I’m ok but I’m super anxious, I’ll probably call you back tomorrow.” – luckily I have an amazing mother who completely understands. Or at least really tries to.
One of the hardest things is that “completely understanding” would mean having the same diagnosis with similar triggers and reacting in the same ways. Unfortunately to find someone like this is near impossible. I understand it’s a foreign world to many, but I’m always so appreciative when people try. Ask me questions, try to understand my thought process, lack thereof, or intense fear and worry.
Today though. Today is Monday. When I went to bed anxious last night I decided that tomorrow would be a new day and I would be productive at work. Well, I ended up going to babysit before work, forced some cereal down my throat and realized that I am 100% not okay. When my favourite little kid can’t make me laugh, I know I’m not okay. I dropped him off for a day of fun with friends and he gave me such a long, warm, loving hug which made me truly smile for the first time all morning.
Anyone who knows me well knows that one of my favourite things on this planet is hugs. You can say so much in a hug. Language doesn’t matter. You just close your eyes and connect with another person in an intimate, vulnerable way. You can tell a lot about a person from their hug, and you can create a lot of smiles giving them. My little friend who still counts his age in single digits knows this without me telling him anything, and boy oh boy his hugs are the best!
I decided I wasn’t in a state of mind where I could accomplish anything at work today, never mind answering a phone, or even driving there, so I emailed my bosses and told them I wasn’t going to make it in. But what do you say? I’m not physically sick, I don’t have anything that I can get a doctor’s note for – in fact going to a doctor may trigger everything further. It’s my first time ever staying home from work solely due to anxiety but I’ve certainly left work because of it, countless times. I’m starting to get better at knowing when to push my pride aside and giving in to not being mentally okay every single day.
It’s hard not to hate Generalized Anxiety Disorder with every part of my being, and in other posts I’ve mentioned some great positives that I’m fortunate enough to have received, learned, or realized due to my diagnosis and struggles. However today I write honestly in my present (frustrated) feelings.
It’s exhausting being anxious all the time – physically exhausting because your emotions and sometimes your physical body have gone into overdrive. I imagine most people with anxiety are the same in the sense that even though I might go to bed smiling tonight, it doesn’t mean I’ll wake up smiling tomorrow. I will likely be anxious again tomorrow but the waves will be smaller than today. Each day this will progress until they’re just touching my toes. And that’s where it will stay until the next wave breaks.
Today a wave knocked me down and pulled me under. I couldn’t just get up, and swim away – I was caught underneath, spinning around, helpless. I needed helping hands, understanding hands, loving hands, to help pull me out of the water. And for all those hands, I am absolutely grateful.