Anxiety is an asshole…
-Thoughts come to you at breakneck speed–the good and the bad.
-You cannot sit still–even for what used to be your favorite activity.
-Something bad is about to happen–you just don’t know what or when.
-You’re exhausted but you cannot sleep–when you finally close your eyes, your dreams are laced with fear.
-Your heart beats more rapidly than it should–wait, was that a palpitation?
When you live with crippling anxiety you’ll do just about anything to make it through the day with minimal symptoms. I pretty much thought that being knocked out into a sleeping coma would be the only way I could find rest, relaxation, and a goddamn break from all the stress that’s delivered with anxiety.
A few nights ago I loaded up on my maximum dose of anti-anxiety medication, took a little something my psychiatrist recommended (THC/CBD drops–legal where I live) and headed to the most comfortable place I know of. My bed.
As I lay there I began to feel a little lighter and calm. I started to think…I’m going to get some actual sleep tonight! I hadn’t been that excited since the last time I thought I was about to get some rest. I drifted off and then the dreams kicked in.
Now I’ve had some dreams in the past where I would wake up drenched in sweat because something out of the ordinary was going on behind my eyelids. Anxiety laced dreams are on another level. It’s one thing to lay in bed, while waiting for sleep, to replay your entire day over and over in your mind, but when these instances find you in your dreams there’s no stopping it.
-What I should have said at the point was…
-What I should have done in that moment was…
-Did I really say that when…
When these thoughts invade your time at rest it’s an entirely new level. I was drugged up while these images played out on a loop and couldn’t wake up. It was like that episode of ER where Cynthia Nixon was being operated on and was thought to be under anesthesia, but she could feel everything, yet was paralyzed and couldn’t speak up.
When I finally snapped out of it and calmed my breathing, I looked at the clock to find out only a couple of hours had gone by. A short while later I was in the kitchen eating Thin Mints out of the freezer to feed the munchies.
When you figure out what triggers your anxiety it’s important to do what’s in your power to avoid or alleviate the stress. Sometimes doing what you believe is the right thing for your mental health at the time backfires on you.
I struggle going grocery shopping. The store is littered with people getting in your way, running out of items you need, lines, and small talk with the cashier. Just getting to the store has been an all out concern for me. Recently I tried shopping online and having my groceries delivered. It costs me under $10 to save what little sanity I have left, and I end up spending less money overall because it’s all calculated for me as I add items to my cart. Problem solved.
I’ve also cut a handful of people from my life over the last 6 months because my mental health was at risk of plunging further. I shouldn’t have to “drug up” to see or speak to these people and be miserable at the same time. I’ve done the same on social media outlets. If a person in your life is provoking more harm than good, it might be time to forge ahead without them.
I haven’t left my house in over 6 weeks aside from going to work. Today I’m taking the plunge with my family on an all day excursion. I’m tired of anxiety ruling me to the point that I don’t get any pleasure out of doing fun things outside of home. Today I’m taking that back. I’m armed with drugs and deep breathing techniques. Challenge accepted.
she gazes to her left
her first sight is all sky
an angered filled grey
patches of blue in its shadow
shifting into a seated position
outlines of mountains appear
a vibrant scene cascading the ocean below
water lapping its way forward
an unseen force pulling it from behind
sounds of purity drifting in from the window
limbs in misery
feet howling for relief
she shuffles to the window
stopping one foot prior
her lower half remains planted
her upper half bows forward
chasing after hints of life
her pain surging
this her only solace from the torture yet to come
the purity of the abyss below
almost bleaching her distress
the chains fan out behind her
cuffs biting into her skin
the persistent swelling
footsteps climb the stairs behind the splintered wooden door
the key turns the knob
unlatching his anger
spilling from his solid expression
drags her back
removing another link
further spraining her reach
the calm is dissolved
just in time to create another grotesque secret
Pamela Gold 2/2016
-I wrote this during an anxiety attack. It is exactly how it made me feel.
Pamela Gold was diagnosed 6 years ago with Bipolar II when she wasn’t healing from postpartum depression (PPD) after the birth of her third son. PPD awakened the fact that she’s probably been Bipolar most of her life. She has been hospitalized, is medication resistant, and was brave enough to battle through electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Contrary to popular belief, she is not crazy.