I have these moments (ok, days) where I can barely function – the ‘what if’ part of my brain kicks into over dive along with the part of my brain that likes to remind me how useless, worthless and/or ugly I am. They call this anxiety and depression, respectively. This week, having realized that an important appointment was coming up, I starting what-iffing myself into a near total meltdown. What if it goes badly? What if I fail? What do we do then? Why is it so fucking easy for other people? All of a sudden I felt like every last person was secretly judging me for what I perceived as failures. (A situation not made simpler by the ever-ignorant question “If you have a degree, why are you not working in your field?” I loathe that question. There is no one simple answer and for some reason I can’t seem to tell people that it’s really none of their fucking business and only just barely manage to restrain myself from issuing a punch to the face. It really is none of their business, but how do you tell someone that without sounding rude? I really need to come up with some pat answer to put people off…)
I recall being incensed when a random GP – on an initial visit mind – told me I needed antidepressants because I experienced mood swings before my period. “Everyone gets moody then!” I protested – but as the years continue I fear she may have been right – though not for the reasons she listed. Granted there’s a higher likelihood of my low points coinciding with the erratic emotions associated with PMS, but they are just as likely to hit at other times. Usually in tandem with perceived failures and/or slights be they real or imagined. (I have the tendency to dream rather vividly, and sometimes I can’t tell if events actually happened, of I dreamed them. This can be a little awkward sometimes.) I have so far refused to drag my sorry ass to the doctor and request an assessment by the appropriate specialists for only one reason: I really don’t want to be dependent on pills for my emotional stability. I’ve survived thus far by sheer pigheadedness.
Yesterday, I wrote out a list of all the things that were dragging me down and then went through them one by one. I could cross a out lot of them as ‘phantoms’. I cannot stop my mind from producing horrifying scenarios, but I can stop myself from believing them. There is no logical reason to believe that this upcoming appointment will be a disappointment even though previous ones have been – for reasons totally beyond my control. The other part of it is fear of the unknown. I don’t know what to expect, so my brain focuses on what might happen if it doesn’t go well.
People know me as an optimist. A viewer of the silver lining. This isn’t always a natural thing. I have to focus on the positive in order to avoid going crazy and falling prey to the black dog. So I can get up and go to work every morning. I can force myself out of the meltdowns, but sometimes only barely. I used to use my writing as a means to deal, but I have been having problems committing anything to paper for a while. This is also something I’m forcing myself to work on. In the last year I’ve written more than the last three combined. (Yay me!) Some it is total crap, but I tell myself that’s not important. The act of writing is: purging the crap out of my head so that I can look at it from the outside. It looks different in black and white and that is so terribly useful. Some of it has been pretty good and I have high hopes for that stuff – if I can get the rest of me on track.
Some of the other things; like diet and such, would be so much easier to get a handle on if my partner wasn’t so oblivious to how being overweight makes me feel. It’s like I have to cry about it every week to keep the issue fresh enough in his mind that he doesn’t bring home KFC for dinner as a surprise. It seems that my pigheadedness does not extend to refusing food that smells so damn good – especially when food has become a replacement for other gratifying things.
I have done a little therapy, and it has helped in regards to a few things but in the end, even with the therapy it’s up to me anyway. A therapist is like a director: picking things out and asking you to think about stuff from other angles so you can transform them into something easier to handle or understand. I’ve got to take all of it: what has happened and what hasn’t and turn it into something useful. I’ve got to take this road one hill, one pothole at a time.
Listening to: Ride: Supreme Beings of Leisure
drinking: Earl Grey Tea, hot
eating: cucumber sandwiches