- Mental Health»
- Anxiety Disorders
The Spring of My Not-Quite-So-Triumphant Return
You may want some cheese for this whine.
I took my Grandma E on a date a couple of weeks back. We went to see some of the Brier (the Canadian Men's Curling Championship), and it was a blast. It is a loud and crazy event filled with happy and interesting people. I was grateful to have the chance to spend some time with the one grandparent I have left, and was glad to have our seats closest to where the extremely fit team from Norther Ontario was playing. And as I was sitting there, enjoying the people watching and sitting with my Grandma, the following thought occurred to me: "There is no way I could have done this last year at this time." I could not have handled the noise and the chaos and the being out of my house where I had to deal with people.
Last year at this time, I was in the full throes of the onset of my anxiety disorder. Every day was one large panic attack. Every day I affected the lives of the people I love most. Every day I thought I was going to die. Every day, that seemed like the preferable option. I would not leave the house unless I absolutely had to. I even found it hard to see my family. They have been wonderfully supportive of me, but I felt like I would infect them if I was near them. And it was hard to be around people whose lives seemed so easy. I'm not saying the didn't and don't have their struggles, but it just seemed to me at the time that it was so easy for them to handle them. And if I'm honest, I resented that. Why couldn't something be easy for me?
It has been a long, hard struggle this year, but I no longer want to die. I no longer think it would be better for my daughters if I did. Towards the end of 2011, I was feeling stronger than I had in a long time. My plan was that, this spring, I would come back better and stronger than ever. And while I am stronger than I was, I'm not quite strutting in to the season with the "Kiss My Ass, World," attitude that I had planned. I feel more like I am tentatively pushing forward, wishing that I had a map and solid reservations at the Place Where Things Are Easy.
My Grandma O's death last month really threw me for a loop. I have been mired in a depression ever since. The world just seems like a harder place to deal without her in it, without the way she'd chuckle and move to me with her arms widespread for a hug whenever she saw me. She was one of the very few people who was always happy to see me. She was such a huge, vibrant part of my life. It felt like she took part of me with her when she died. She definitely took a large part of my safe place. I feel lost without her. Everyone assures me that this depression is normal, but that doesn't make me feel any less depressed.
Still, if I have to be sick again, I am so grateful that it is the depression that is reigning supreme right now, and not the anxiety. The depression destroys me so much less than the anxiety. I feel so much less out of control.
That doesn't mean the anxiety is gone, not by a long shot. It still hovers right under the surface, sending out small attacks every now and then just to remind me that it hasn't gone away. My new job seems to be the place the anxiety feeds iteslf from. My boss trained me for less than a month and then went on vacation for more than two months, leaving me alone and in charge of the office. I am trying my best, but like everyone, I make mistakes. Unlike everyone, these mistakes + my anxiety = me being 100% positive that the reason two people from head office called looking for my boss the other day is because they want him to fire me for making an addition mistake on an invoice. One hundered per cent convinced. Even though the rational part of me can come up with ten other good reasons they are calling about something else, I am convinced. I am even at peace with it. I am just in the waiting stage of things right now.
The rational part of me - the part that has been exiled to the wilderness but still tries to shout loud enough every now and then - tells me that me and my addition mistake are not actually important enough for two people from head office to worry about. I mean, it's not like I am the only one from our chain of offices who makes an addition mistake on an invoice, right? It all sounds pretty self-important, when you think about it. But my anxiety has completely won this battle.
The rational part of me is pissed off. There are actually some fairly positive things happening in my life right now. I am getting more and more freelance writing assignments, and am getting very positive feedback for them. Wouldn't it be nice if I could focus on that? But no. I've got tunnel vision,and it is staring directly and exclusively at the bad things that I am sure are waiting for me. And because I am dealing with my depression again, I find it hard to care about the bad things.
Still, at least the world isn't spinning out of control anymore. Even though part of my safe place is gone, I still have other safe places to grab on to. I just worried that they get tired of my holding on so tight, and so I come here to 'emote'. I hate that word, but there you go.
So, here I am, world. It is Spring, 2012, and I don't want to die. And while I am not yet where I had hoped to be, at least I am not where I was.
At least I can go and watch the extremely fit team from Northern Ontario with my Grandma.