Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Rut and Fighting My Way Out

It's been a while- my apologies.

To be frank, shit has been hard. A reality many have to face daily.

I'm not exactly happy with my current situation. Actually scratch that- I really really dislike my current situation. I'm a recent college graduate with an awesome degree and a pretty rad employment history but right now, and I mean right now [read: this & past few months] has been a muddled mixture of trying to figure out my plan after everything crumbled and managing my anxiety so it stops interfering with my efforts.

Don't get me wrong- I have come an extremely long way and I am overall "happy". Not my peak happy, but in general, I know things will work out and I still have amazing love & support from friends and family. I've been seeing a really great guy who has helped a lot too. However, when I focus on paying off student loan debts/my career I have to stop myself from falling into a panic attack almost every time.

This is when my dear frenemy anxiety has a damn hayday. It sees the wheels start turning in my head and jumps in with the gumption of a 5 year old in a ball-pit. It speeds up those wheels and mixes shit around, making it hard to concentrate and figure out my situation. It takes me down paths that aren't conducive, aren't healthy, and ultimately a slide to dark places I once lived that I would like to never visit again.

And even worse, people around you rarely get it, let alone sympathize. For those that have escaped anxiety disorders, its hard for them to fathom the gut wrenching feeling of panic, and that it comes for no conscious reason. They don't realize that you do want to progress in life, and that you're not a lazy P.O.S. making excuses as to why its so hard to get your butt out the door and into society for work. And worse yet, they don't realize that people with anxiety beat themselves up daily for the seemingly unprovoked shakes, panic, and jitters we have that impede our daily activities.

Just an update that I am here, and trying. I am struggling, yet still prevailing. I may be on a "side-track" but I will not let my anxiety stop me from getting back onto my real path.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dear Anxiety,

What triggered it this time? I was sleeping. I don't even remember my dream. I only remember the pool of sweat my body was drenched in when I suddenly woke up, soaking from my feet to head, heart pounding out of my chest, short of breath, that small incessant buzzing feeling throughout my body. These mornings are the worst, so please explain what was it this time?

And why, after 9 years of asking this question have you still yet to answer me?

That's not to say I haven't become well acquainted with you and your behaviors slowly over these past 9 years. We have gone through a lot together, consciously or not, and piece by piece I am figuring you out.

Like, the fact that I keep realizing your appearance in my life may have come much earlier than I originally thought. That you have been creeping up my spine for years, making your mark, and building stronger. The other day I remembered how when I was little, I would have stomach aches all the time for no reason...no reason?

There was always a reason, but you were subtle enough at that stage for me and others to ignore it.

Then came tragedy, and that seemed to be the stage you were looking for to make your grand appearance. And still, I somehow missed a ticket to the show.

After my father's death, now looking back, there was a noticeable change in myself. I became a much more pessimistic, negative young adult who just wanted to grow up and move on. I coasted through high school, subconsciously faking it and somehow making it. You were like a parasite at this time, slowly eating my insides, myself unknowing to the damage being caused, ignoring it until it rose to the surface.

I had always been a natural explorer and traveler so it was easy to piggy back on the idea of hope after I was accepted and moved away for college. And this worked to get you off my own back. For once, you shut up! New people, ideas, experiences, friends, loves, and teachers. It was enough to occupy my fast paced mind and feed me everything I wanted, while being my favorite thing- independent. You weren't there to steal that.

Unfortunately, I had no idea that you didn't leave me. Instead, like a bear, you were only hibernating.

And again, you piggy backed tragedy. Only, I had a ticket to this show, and so did others.

You knew of my emotions, and their innate sensitivity. You knew I was on a high, not ready or expecting a low. You knew the exact way to make me spiral and come undone. This time, after two years of learning myself and opening my mind I was finally able to realize you were a "thing". I wasn't sure exactly what but I knew it was 'something' and not a good 'something'. And as much as you fought me with racing thoughts, constant jitters all over, daily bouts of a racing heart, fearing, worrying, fighting...I won.

It was hard, long, and one of the worst processes I've had to go through, but I won.

I won't tell you my secrets but I found some of your triggers that never made any sense. I saw you for what you are and not what you do to me. I learned techniques to properly fight you and come out stronger. I've learned how to do these things every day.

Four years later this is still the reality for us. I begrudgingly accept your existence in exchange for creating a stronger self in the long run. After nine years of this I've realized you are here for a while and hoping that you just disappear. Would it be ludicrous to think I, the landlord of my body, cannot kick out the worst tenant- you, anxiety?

You still manage to make your presence known, even with all my nifty tips and tricks, therapy, and medicine. And the fear of being forced to buy a ticket to a show I hate can be debilitating at times. My mind still races to a speed where I cannot catch up. My heart still pounds for "unnecessary" reasons, panic attacks occurring for no apparent reason. However- they are less frequent, less powerful, and less apparent as I fight forward.

I didn't think or understand for a long time that mental illness could or ever would take this long to not only recognize but strategize, deal with, and cope with.

That, and I never realized just how many of us are ignoring these things. We've all been through shit and could use some help on our way through life and that should never make you feel inferior to others. We could all benefit from it in the end. Life is tricky as fuck and throws you through the ringer you deserve someone to be like "it's chill, lemme help you dude".

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Valley Between the Mountains

This quote simplifies not only every day struggles, but also mental illness. It exemplifies the roller coaster battle. Reminding us for every valley, there is an ascent to a mountain; for every mountain, a descent into a valley. 

I have to constantly remind myself of it, mostly when I'm in the valley, wondering how I got back down there when so recently I was ascending to a peak.

Mental illness can take a long time to figure out, analyze, get to know, and find ways to survive through. It takes trial and error...many errors. It can become so daunting to fail at figuring it out so many times and to constantly wonder when it will be better (forever). To understand that it might not get better forever is a realization many don't want to face, including myself for many years. 

I wondered what the fight was for if I was going to be in battle for so long. What was the point of continually agonizing over the way my mind worked if it couldn't be fixed? I hated it. I hated my mind. I hated the way it made me act, and feel, and respond to others around me and situations presented. 

Don't show me paradise if it's only going to be burned down...over and over again.

But this battle is being fought, and each peak I reach feels better than the last. Each climb brings me more strength than I had before, and each time I find myself descending into a valley I remind myself there is another mountain always waiting to be climbed and conquered, and the views at the top are always worth it.

I'll say it again- the views at the top are always worth it.

Mental illness is controlling, it can cloud the brain like a dense, dark fog. This fog may seem impenetrable but the fact is that it is not. Your eyes and soul are a flashlight if you choose. They can lead you through it to the other side to find the trail back to ascension. 

If you don't believe this, it only means you are lounging in the valley. It's plush, dense, tangled in a mess. But if you keep walking, you'll approach that mountain side and see the incline. It's daunting, it's challenging, and likely will take much effort on your part, but again:

the views at the top are always worth it.

Each step up the incline you take, you are telling your mental illness that it does not have the power you once thought it did. You are telling it that you will prevail, amongst all odds. You are growing, with each step to a better you. The pain of the ascent will only make reaching a peak even better, it will make the views take your breath away and make you happy you are alive to see it, because, yet again,

the views at the top are always worth it.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

'Scuse me while Im absent

That incredibly mixed up feeling in your stomach when you feel too many emotions at once and want to run or puke.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

An Ode to People Who Pick Themselves Up

Life can be wonderful. Absolutely blue-skied, soft-breeze, I-feel-damn-good wonderful.

My version of "F yea, life!"

But life can also be utter and complete shit. It will pick you up to a height you thought you'd never be scared of, and drop you in a blink. And as you fall, life sometimes finds it humorous to grow trees for you to hit and bounce off as you descend to the ground.

It's at that rocky, cold, hard bottom that you learn the most about yourself. It won't seem that way when you're down there, but it is.

Friday, January 1, 2016