Anxiety Know No Logic

We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Winston Churchill

That is an absolute, inescapable truth about chronic anxiety and anxiety disorders. While we attribute out fears, phobias, and anxiety to external factors, the fact of the matter remains. It is the fear that drives the anxiety.

Recently, I have experienced what is perhaps the longest bout of anxiety in my course of treatment. I did not realize it at first. Anxiety sees the first sparks from reasonable reaction to an external stressor.

I have an abundance of stress-inducing events and circumstances all seemingly happening at once. My grandmother’s health and mind are failing. To be frank, she is dying. I have accepted it. She is eighty-five, and has had diabetes longer than I have been alive. This is nature’s way.

I mourn her passing while she still lives. It pains me that I am alone in this, and makes me anxious just the same. What horrible person stands ready with the casket open and the hole dug?

 

Anxiety is an asexual creature in the sense that anxiety begets anxiety in itself. It feeds off of one singular thought. “What if?” It does not have to be phrased as such, but it remains constant. Anxiety breeds more anxiety in the circular logic that one anxiety attack heralds many more. Anticipatory anxiety.

I abhor change. Mostly, it is ripe with problems that multiply like mice in a cascading domino effect. Even when it is a step toward something better, that fact still remains. And in certain circumstances, it is enough to have the whole thing come crashing down. Mouse trap. Caged in one’s own folly.

If we step back, even for a moment, the entire incredible illogical reaction is laughable. Anxiety is curious in the way that it narrows one’s focus, and puts a set of blinders on it’s victims. There is no sight beyond that immediate threat, and other threats that surround it. Often, we are unable to take that step to see beyond.

Or any step, for that matter. Fight or flight? Neither. Freeze.

Some animals in the wild, when in fight or flight, often freeze. Deer in the headlights. It is an attempt to camouflage into the surroundings, as opposed to fighting a losing battle, or fleeing from a quicker predator. Anxiety often evokes the freeze mechanism. It is an enemy that we cannot see, therefore we cannot run, and we cannot fight.

Worse, is the belief that there is no place to hide.

Why so much fear in the fear itself? How could one possibly cower in the face of an invisible enemy?! It’s absurd!

Until one has been victim of that transparent, intangible foe.

Warning: Relapse

Honestly, I find the words evaporating before they can come into focus in my mind. I grasp at them, trying desperately to hold to just one. Please, just one to represent this. Let me have only one.

So, here I write. My first stream of consciousness entry since the very beginning of this blog.

Where to start? Is there really a starting point? The perfect place to run along the thread, coursing up and down, and through the fabric of my life. Maybe. Maybe not. I seem to get the idea that there is no beginning, and respectively, there is no end.

So, maybe I can begin with a narrative, rolling around in my mind, each time it stirs.


I am not perfect. My flaws are becoming more visible each time I look at myself. Painfully so. Everything feels so forced.

I make mistakes. I succumb to those words, the ones that usually just make a dull buzz in my head.

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In these times, the moments of darkness, it becomes louder, slower, more pronounced.

I. want. to. die.

A buried mantra, rising from dormancy.

My ears heard a beckon in my sleep. I rustled. I could sleep forever. Another summoning. In fact, I wanted to sleep forever. My eyes opened to dull grey haze, sunlight buried miles deep in cloud cover. And the words whispered to me, I want to die.

 

I had remembered my dream. It was a recurring dream, the same theme, different places, different faces. All but one. C.S.

In each dream, we are separated in some way, whether it be a wall or a world apart. We aren’t just separated, rather more like severed from one another. I am not whole. I feel that in the very depths of my shattered soul.

In this most recent recurrence, we were literally separated, not divorced, but not even living in the same place anymore. I shared an apartment with his ex-best friend. He was sick, and I took him to the hospital.

While there, I started to feel preterm labor. It was a child I hadn’t told C.S. about yet. Though we had T.D., I didn’t want him to feel obligated to stay in a marriage with me because of an unplanned pregnancy.

I just went back to the apartment. The same dingy, dark, trashed apartment that is always in my dreams. I must have done something really bad for him to discard and disregard me in such a way. I called him. I wanted nothing more than to be whole again. I needed him to come to my aid.

He refused. “Why would I want to come to that dump to see you?”

I begged. And he still refused.

I returned to the hospital, knowing that the labor would get worse. I just knew it wasn’t something that couldn’t be fixed.

Skip the labor scene. I don’t remember it, even if it did occur.

And, I went into a dark exam room, to lay on the bed with the paper sheet, in a paper gown. I saw a pad of paper sitting on an end table. I flipped through and it coldly read, “What seems to be your problem today?”

I threw it, and went to gather my belongings that were housed in a communal room, supposedly watched by a guard. Except when I went to look, they were nowhere in sight. I saw a woman sitting next to the man, holding my exact purse. I insisted it was my purse, and ripped it away from her. I pulled out my handmade keychain, looking for some proof I was who I said I was.

I got a nametag out and I had apparently been using a different last name since my separation. I went for my I’d in my wallet. A voice came from behind me.

“Her name is Em. I’m her husband.”

C.S. stood there, disappointed and disgruntled.

 

And I awoke, horrific feelings still intact. Worthlessness, abandonment, disappointment, heartache, soul-fractures, incompletely incomplete, with holes punctured through my being. I mourned that child. I mourned my broken marriage. And I wondered what lay in wait in my conscious life.

Noon. Lunch. Eggs and bacon for my son.

No excuses. Not, the infamous, “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” I poured myself a shot of Wild Turkey and nursed it. The next, I gulped. Sunday is a terrible day to drink in Pennsylvania. When you’re out, you’re out. So, I moved on to vodka.

Anything. I would do anything to erase that awful gnawing feeling. That feeling that you are being dragged into the pit, clawing and screaming as the inky blackness envelopes you, curling like vines upward, and strangling the very life from you.

I’m not going to launch into this speech about how embarrassed or downtrodden I am for my shortcomings. Not because I feel justified in my action as a result of a faulty rationalization. Because I am human. I have some permissible margin or error, right?

But, I will make certain admissions based on very stark realizations.

I was starting to get ready for work, when I realized that not all of my laundry had been returned to me. T.D. had clothes. C.S. was fine for the week. But only a few articles returned to me.

I started to get upset. Dressing for Pennsylvania weather is tricky. When the sun is shining, but it’s 30, and you know that you be out after dark later, it complicates things. Some of my classrooms are hot, and some are cold. I need layers. My sweaters were too hot.

I lost all confidence in any choice, and became flustered. T.D. screamed in the background and C.S. preached at me on the phone. I wasn’t going to make it in time. I wasn’t going to make it.

How could I even walk out of that door like this, without any guarantees that I could make it intact?

I want to die.

My parents pounded on the door. I carried T.D. down the stairs and set him down. I was shaking so badly, it caused tremors in every single electrified muscle. Halfway through the living room, my legs gave out. My whole body fell limp, and I could no longer live in my mind. I crawled to the door, and opened it.

I pulled myself onto the sofa and curled into a ball. And I cried, “I can’t do it. I can’t go to work like this.”

“Get yourself together,” my mother advised.

I wasn’t talking anymore. I was on autopilot, hyperventilating, “I can’t. I can’t. I just can’t, I have to call off.”

I did. My boss could sense the extreme distress in my voice. I lied. I told her the sitter called off because she was sick. I couldn’t bear to tell her the truth.

I’m in no mental state, because I’m having a nervous breakdown related to a recent bout of ultradian cycling that hurled me into a long awaited depression. You’re better off without me today.

And my mother asked, “Did something happen?”

“No,” I answered in a fractured voice, holding back tears, “this is just the natural course of things. This was three months in the making. Three months, almost symptom free. And now this.”

The grand herald of my depressive episode, here to announce it’s presence. And to present a list of events, in no particular, predictable order, that will push me further into this hell. This hell. This is mine. Of my own making.

And I have to face it alone. Because as of today, everyone in my life has made it abundantly clear that they are, quote, “Tired of my shit, because I’m always like this.”

That’s me. Like this. Fucking up since the mid-eighties.

This post brought to you by Tallulah, my Blackberry Bold.

With This Pill

“I will be okay. This is not real.”

“This is as real as it gets.”

“No, I know better. This isn’t me. What I think is happening is not actually happening.”

“Just take it then. Take the Xanax and this whole thing can disappear.”

“My emotions are not controlled by a drug.”

“No, they’re not. They’re controlled by four drugs to be exact.”

“…”

“Yeah, you knew that. So just take the damned thing and be done with it.”

Here, I am staring down this little, round, blue pill. This one of many, they are the glue of my existence. With them, they grant me the power to condense and contain the … what’s the word? Chaos. But, the container is still me, my head. It pollutes the one place I can recede into for solitude.

Without these pills, I am doomed to living out the chaos in bad cinematography. Sometimes, the shots are grainy, and in low resolution. There are bad angles and lighting. The acting is mediocre at best. That life is a stage and a poorly written screenplay. And in the end, not only are hearts broken, but people are shattered beyond repair.

My chest rises slowly and falls suddenly to exhaust a heavy sigh.

Damned if you do, condemned if you don’t. I will be a good girl. I will devote myself to this struggle. I will reside in this godforsaken place. At any cost, even if my frayed nerves are sparking, and the layers, upon layers of residual emotion cloud my vision to blindness. Here, I accumulate the garbage my psyche and senses excrete.

“This is not depression.”

Is it? Because, I’m not sure I know how to tell anymore. I put my BP monitor and it reads E. One of us is broken. I’ll check the pulse instead.

I am more reactive and in a very intense way. It’s as if I’m conductive, like liquid. It comes as fast as it goes. I am powerless to stop it, because it originates from me.

The idea of socialization annoys me. I’m tired of talking in circles. Hell, I grow weary imagining myself spewing meaningless words in circular logic.

But worse, I don’t want to be alone. I just want something, anything, to have a significant meaning. I am not yet willing to adopt Nihilism, and live an autonomic existence. I am more than the sum of my parts. I am not a body. I am a heart, mind, and soul, no matter how defective and dysfunctional. This existence is more than it’s face value.

I am disinterested in the repetitive, mundane activities that I participate in daily. I am exponentially aggravated by the fact that it now takes me twice the time to complete them. And I’m irreparably infuriated when my body gives up before the day is over.

Worse, I’m nearly in tears because the whole ordeal in my head is so pathetic and petty.

If it’s cyclic, then yesterday’s post is akin to The Grey Season, written two months ago. That would mean that this post is a precursor to a future post that would be synonymous with Confessions of the Pain of Payment.

Did I unlock the pattern? Or can a cause and effect pattern be substantiated?

Even if I found the map, I’m haunted. I know where this road goes and there is no off-ramp.

Big Money, No Whammy, STOP!

What does it feel like to have 20 Grand hanging in the balance?

I ran I Bet Jekll Felt This Way past C.S. a couple of nights ago, in so many words. I rarely read directly from the page. I’ve gotten in hot water by doing that before. Sometimes, there are just some words that shouldn’t pass from my lips.

He stood across the kitchen poking through the elephant box while I sat at the table. He suggested, “Maybe it’s one of the supplements. Are you taking any new ones?”

I answered, “No, not really. I started Adrenomend again, and I’ve already been taking the Brain Energy for a few weeks now.”

“I’m going back down to bare bones. Something is causing me a problem again,” he mentioned, as he swallowed a handful of supplements.

I considered his suggestion. But, I knew that my brain can’t survive a chemical shift without shifting itself. I wasn’t about to add fuel to the fire and risk facing something scarier than this. I’m taking about a dozen supplements for various reasons. I wouldn’t be able to break something else before figuring out how to fix this.

Doctors recommend ceasing all medications / supplements when it’s impossible to discern which one is causing the problem. What about just starting the shed the most recent ones, regardless of whether they have worked in the past? There are only two potential risks. Either I take something away that causes a bad day, or I don’t take away the right one and I continue in the state of dyphoric hypomanic paranoia.

I took away the two most recent additions, Adrenomend and Brain Energy. C.S. suggested taking away Adrenomend, because he had a bad reaction in the past.

Of course, he suggested that the panic attacks were rebound anxiety from “too many benzos”. “That’s their gimmick, give you medicine that causes anxiety.” I’ve been on these for two months now. You’d think I would’ve had a reaction by now. Well, I am the woman who had a life-threatening reaction to an epidural 20-25 minutes after receiving it. *Shrug*.

So far, so good. Yesterday, I managed to handle surprise fire drill with no problem. I’m not anxiety free, but I’m panic free without my midday Xanax. I’m a little more fatigued than usual, so that indicates something was pushing me toward hypomania. The anxiety might be residual. Anxiety is like a virus in the respect that it generalizes and mutates as it takes hold.

My only hope is that those supplements were the only thing holding back the flood gates of depression. Because l know I haven’t paid the piper yet for my last hypomanic episode.

In other news, I thought I’d mentioned C.S.’s promotion we’ve been waiting on. We finally got word, and it wasn’t the one we were hoping for. The big wig at the top didn’t go for it. He’s upset about the staffing budget and put out a hiring freeze. But, C.S.’s department manager isn’t giving up on it.

We didn’t have any numbers before this. Today, I was texted a number than blew my mind. I wrote back, “Not even in my wildest dreams did I even consider that number!”. It’s $20,000 more than he’s making now. Yeah, my mouth dropped to the floor.

But now, it’s in limbo.

I bet it feels like winning a lottery, but then nobody has the money to pay up.