- Mental Health»
- Anxiety Disorders
Learning my limits and trying not to hate them. Or to hate having them. Whatever.
Even though this is the view from my in-law's backyard, I still cannot do two weeks there.
Holy cow, do you think they could make the 'type these words so we know you're not a robot' words any harder to see? I can only refresh them for so long before I start to wonder if its just that I can't see.
I developed anxiety this spring (its official and all. I saw a shrink, and he confirmed anxiety and depression. Which reminds me, I was supposed to book a follow up appointment to see him in October. Oops.), and am just now starting to realize that I have new limits. Well, I think I realized it before, but I was trying to pretend that everything was as per. But my boot to the butt came at the end of August when we went to British Columbia for two weeks for my husband's sister's wedding. Our girls were flowergirls (the most beautiful ones ever, btw) and as my in-laws live in a beautiful location right on the ocean (like, hearing the waves so loud at night that I needed to pee every three hours), we were all excited to go. My mother in law had broken her arm quite badly a few weeks before the wedding, so my husband and I were thrown - willingly, might I add - into the preparations. The week after the wedding was spent doing the things we like to do when we're visiting. The days were jam packed, but they always are when we go to BC for a visit, so it was nothing new.
What was new was how I reacted once we got home. I got sick again, and by sick, I mean 'Oh God, where's my atavan, thank Jeebus the girls are in school, because I'm going to sit in this chair and stare straight ahead and try not to cry or explode all day' sick. The air seemed fuzzy around me, and words didn't sound right to my ears. It wasn't, of course, that we'd had a bad time on vacation - quite the opposite. Its just that I get mentally exhausted so much easier these days, and when I am mentally exhausted, I am more prone to fall victim to all of the nasty little voices in my head. My safe place during these times is my house, with my husband and my kids and my cats. So. Limit Number One. Kira cannot be away from her own bed and space for too long, and certainly not for two weeks.
Furthermore, I just can't do crowds or gatherings comfortably anymore. I grew up in an incredibly tight knit extended family on both sides of my family, and we are always finding excuses to have get-togethers. I used to love them - my kids could play with their cousins while I visited with my cousins and my siblings and my aunts and uncles. I would laugh and laugh and come away feeling refreshed. Now, I still go to these gatherings so that my girls can still play with their cousins, but I find that I tend to find a spot on the periphery of things and sit there, trying not to be noticed; its either this, or I pace around the edges of the room. I have convinced myself that if I join a group or a conversation, my illness will somehow bring everyone else down, either by making them uncomfortable around me, or by osmosis. If I'm anxious or unhappy, surely I will make them feel that way, too. I don't know why I have such a healthy opinion of my own influence over others, but there you have it. And honestly - and I am so not proud of this - but its hard for me to sit there and listen to how everyone else's lives are just neatly trucking along, when every fibre of my being feels like its up in the air somewhere. So, Limit Number Two: Kira will be the bringer of Maeve and Marin to family events, and will not participate much else at all.
I used to be the friend that everyone came to with their problems. I was able to listen without internalizing, and every now and then I said something smart. It was a point of pride with me that I was someone that people could lean on. But now, if I so much as hear a certain tone of voice in my friend's words, my own anxiety ratchets right up and my world starts to spin. I cannot take on their problems right now, and have lost the ability to not feel too keenly what they are going through. This is especially true since, at the time of the 'termination of my contract', my social circle consisted largely of the women I worked with. There were a bunch of fabulous people there, and I have all but lost contact with most of them. I just cannot hear about working at That Place and for That Woman anymore. I can't do it. It brings me right back to where I was this past spring, and I've worked too hard to leave that behind. Limit Number Three: Kira cannot be the friend that she once was to people, and for that she is more sorry than she can say.
However, Limit Number Four is a more helpful one: Kira now knows that when her forehead starts breaking out, her hormones will, be all over the place, and her illness will come sneaking back. Be prepared, and tune your inner dialogue accordingly.
When all is said and done, my limits mean I spend a lot of time retreated inside of myself, or expending what energy I do have on Chris and the girls. Its not idea, but its the best I can do for now. I hope it gets better.