This blog is about my downward spiral into a bout of anxiety and depression. The good news is I made it out the other side.
I think one of the reasons for the Sleepwalking Zombie Apocalypse we currently find ourselves in due to the prescription drug epidemic is because we have collectively decided that feeling bad is not okay. Ever.
I had an unusually long streak going of feeling pretty good so far this summer.
But I started having this looming sense of dread ever since I flipped my wall calendar to July and saw my appointment for my annual Well Woman's Exam (breast exam, pelvic exam, and pap smear).
For the last 25 days, every day that I've had to look at that scribble on my calendar, my anxiety has increased knowing that I'm one day closer to ancient archaic torture day.
When it rains it pours. That fear started attracting other fear.
Last Monday, I ended up having the first panic attack I've had in ages.
My car has been on the fritz for a while. It makes me nervous to have to go anywhere.
I pulled out all of the mechanic notes I have and made a list of all the things that needed to be repaired. Writing that list set me off.
I started getting overwhelmed with anxiety about how much money it was going to cost, how long it would take to fix, and about having no way to get a lift back to and from home after dropping my car off.
I was in a whirlwind of distress that prevented me from picking up the phone to make an appointment. I was paralyzed. My body temperature rose and I started to get all itchy.
Shortly thereafter, the Hawaiian Islands were put under a Tropical Storm Advisory. Having to prepare for impending doom always adds a bit of fear and tension to the air.
Then, one night at 10:30 PM, just as I had gone to bed, I heard a hoard of screaming banshees running down the sidewalk outside my door and running directly into the unit above me.
(The unit above me is rented out as a vacation rental so the noise levels vary greatly from week to week.)
They proceeded to run and stomp above my head until 2:00 AM. They've been up there for four days and counting...
With no sleep and my nerves wearing thin, I was starting to feel terrible.
I prayed that either: 1) the doctor's office would somehow lose my appointment; 2) my car wouldn't start, or 3) the tropical storm would hit and wipe us all out.
When the doctor's office called me the Friday before my appointment to confirm, I was frozen and couldn't answer the phone.
When I finally listened to the message, they said I would be seeing some Physician's Assistant (P.A.) that I've never heard of or met before.
So with all of these contributing factors, by the time I got to OB Eve, I was scared shitless.
I had tears in my eyes. I was angry and resentful for having have to submit to this barbaric and traumatizing act. I was descending into despair.
I decided it would probably be a good idea to weigh myself now to get the shock of it over with so I wouldn't be seeing the number for the first time in the doctor's office and have to suppress a breakdown.
Doing this promptly led to entering a full blown depressive bout.
Today is D-day.
I woke up at 4:00 AM drenched in sweat. I got up to find my A/C was blowing hot air! Great. All the humidity from the tropical storm must have burnt it out, again!
At least it must be affecting the whole building this time because I can hear that the dickheads above me are up too at this hour stomping around like hungry dinosaurs.
Great. Five more hours until my innards are poked, prodded, and scraped.
I shit the entirety of my bowels out, several times.
Fast forward to me sitting in the exam room talking about my anxiety ad nauseum, which is always uncomfortable and nerve-wrecking in and of itself.
The Physician's Assistant asked me how long I've been dealing with anxiety.
I had to think about it. I guess my whole life but for the first 30 years I just kept it from showing. I had to pretend like I was normal and everything was fine. Though, on the inside I was complete shit show.
Since I've been on my own for the last few years now, I don't have anyone to pretend for. I don't have to keep it together. I can allow myself to feel how I really feel. Which sometimes results in being completely consumed by anxiety and or depression.
I mean have you seen the news lately? (Orlando massacre, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Dallas massacre, Baton Rouge massacre, Istanbul massacre, Nice massacre, Trump) You'd have to be some kind of zombie monster not to be depressed.
The P.A. immediately started talking prescribing me anti-depressants.
I said that I was unwilling to take any pharmaceuticals. I was vehement about not wanting to be dependent on anything.
I don't even drink coffee!
She went on to say that there were some drugs that are safer to take that have no or low risk of dependency.
Eye roll. How many people ever end up coming off these medications? Why is it dangerous for them to do so? Why is suicidal thoughts a side effect? Why is it so bad to just feel the way I feel? Is it so abnormal to have anxiety about going to the doctor? Am I the only one in the world that gets nervous about this?
I informed her that I'd had this very conversation one year ago, in this office with my regular doctor and that she had given me a referral to see a psychologist.
I went to the psychologist (you can read about that experience here) and after one visit she said, "no wonder you have anxiety."
So I don't have a chemical imbalance. I have normal human stressors. There are valid reasons for my feelings.
Though, the psychologist also recommended anti-depressants - after only one hour!
After making my case, the P.A. gave me a referral to a different psychologist and recommended bibliotherapy.
Way ahead of ya, I've been doing that for years.
Our society is suffering from emotional negligence.
We won't allow people to feel bad in our presence.
We aren't comfortable with feeling bad ourselves and will do anything to escape it. Hello prescription drug/heroine abuse/obesity/sex addiction epidemic I'm looking at you!
Can I just say that as someone who was absolutely drowning in anxiety just hours ago, that I now feel fine. I've had a breakthrough:
There was a time where I forced myself to function like a cog in the machine like everybody else but it was to the determinant of my emotional well being. It was emotionally negligent of me to suppress the fact that I live with anxiety and depression.
Maybe I experience these things because the machine I'm supposed to be a functioning part of is broken!
Maybe we shouldn't be modeling our schools and our workplaces after jailhouse yards.
Maybe we shouldn't be sending our sweet children into these pre-prison facilities known as schools where they are spiritually, emotionally, and physically abused.
As a painfully shy child, I endured years of harassment for having a lisp, had classmates try and pull my pants down, been threatened with being beat up, had the class president run up to me one day just to tell me I was fat, all this and more just in elementary school all while minding my own business.
Is it any wonder that I've had suicidal fantasies since I was a teenager?
Is it any wonder I can kind of understand how the Columbine shooters felt?
(For the record, that massacre and every single one afterwards was fucking horrible and tragic! It is not my intention to be insensitive towards the victims and their friends & families and all those that were traumatized. I was a senior in high school when this happened. There was a noticeable change in my school the very next day. Suddenly, the bullies were on guard. I witnessed one bully apologize to a kid in class that had epilepsy, who he had been torturing all year long trying to cause him to have a seizure among other things.)
Things don't get any less traumatizing being an adult. I've endured the same sort of abuse in the workplace. (See Exhibits A, B, & C for just the latest examples.)
Speaking of which, I was just perusing the jobs on Craigslist and saw an ad for a receptionist position.
There was a long list of requirements that the ideal candidate must be capable of, and one of those things included "must not be intimidated by patients and/or the staff."
How fucking sad.
This is what it's come to. We have to put this requirement to our workers. Never mind your education or experience - you better be able to handle abuse from all ends.
This is not okay.
I have enough self-awareness to know that when I'm thinking of new ways to kill myself that I'm just currently depressed, that I have reason to be, and that I won't always feel like this.
I journal so that I can always look back and prove to myself that this too shall pass.
Though I refuse to take pharmaceuticals, I do see a Naturopath that after muscle testing me recommended various natural supplements to assist me when I loose my grip, such as GABA, ashwagandha, 5-HTP, and Nature-Throid which I take when necessary.
I'm not a doctor. This is not medical advice.
As I said at the beginning, we need to get over the misbelief that we're supposed to feel okay 100% of the time. Because when we feel bad, what makes it worse is thinking that we shouldn't feel that way. That having negative emotions are unacceptable.
It is okay to feel bad!
Even here in paradise, it's not always mermaids and rainbows. Sometimes we have tropical storms...or worse, but we manage to weather the storm.
Hold on. It will get better.
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