During a text conversation yesterday, I gently teased a close friend about how he openly admitted he was terrible at expressing his feelings. Just one of the many things we had in common, it made me smile because I know exactly how that feels. Continue reading “My Anxiety Brain Is Driving this Struggle Bus”

It’s Been Almost a Year, and Guess What? I’m Still Anxious

Hey there everyone. Today’s post comes from a place of frustration, exasperation, and a severe lack of energy to explain that I am not ‘cured’ of my anxiety.
It’s almost been a full year of my taking my medication to help with my anxiety, and a lot of things I’ve heard over the past 12 months have been akin to, “Are you cured from this horrific disease plaguing your psyche yet?” The answer, my friends, is a resounding no. While acknowledging that I am an anxious individual, I do not hope for the gods of medicine to completely cure all my problems. It’s not feasible and believe me, as a person who is well traveled in her multitudes of doctor visits, that’s all I expect at the moment. And that’s okay.
While everyone seems concerned that I should overcome my anxiety in some superhero moment of total awesomeness, the fact of the matter is that my medicine is not meant to cure me. It’s to help me gain a handle on my anxiety, to play down the effects of everyday life being too much for me. In taking this medicine, it’s sincerely changed me for the better. I face everyday issues and feel sure in myself; I don’t dread every day and what it’ll bring, and most importantly, I can sleep and hold normal conversations without worrying that I’m wasting someone’s time. And when I don’t take these meds, the difference is noticeable and terrible.
At the writing of this post, I will say that I had a horrible, terrible, very bad no good day. It was filled, from start to mid finish, with issues and circumstances that almost made me cry at every turn. From disorganization at my school that required me to step in the extra self-advocacy role, (which is both freeing but extremely exhausting), to accidentally double ordering everything from Postmates when I realized I needed comfort, it was all around terrible. On any other day, I could shrug this off, problem solve, move on and have a great day. Today… not the case. I cried. A lot. It was frustrating, and when I don’t have my meds, every small problem, is a HUGE PROBLEM. I struggle to communicate my needs, to remind myself that people want to talk to me and not to be nervous and to pick up the phone and make those important phone calls I’ve yet to make. It’s these moments when I appreciate the people around me the most.
I will admit, when I do not have my meds, I become withdrawn, frustrated and grumpy; interacting with me is like poking a really pissed off tiger. I don’t like this version of myself, but again, not being able to communicate effectively leaves me stuck in my head yelling at myself not to say it like that while it comes out that way. These times are the times where kindness and understanding really come in. A close friend texted me, unbeknownst to them, after I cried myself to sleep out of sheer frustration over not feeling like myself. That text simply said, “You’re on my mind.” And again… I cried. Not out of frustration, but because they knew I was having a bad day and they knew they couldn’t do much but reassure me in those words that I mattered to them and they’d hug me if they could.
Another friend responded to my text of, “call me on your break” by doing exactly what I needed, no questions asked. As soon as I answered, I got a ,”what’s up, Nat-Nat?” And I just unloaded my frustrations while she listened sympathetically, occasionally butting in with affirmations only a fellow struggler of mental health could. She was okay when I realized talking was too much and hung up. Another friend endured me mindlessly watching YouTube videos endlessly laughing and cringing at the less-than stellar content, all the while joining in with my groans and eye rolls in only the way he could, which made everything that much funnier.
Everything these three have done for me makes my anxiety better. From kindness, understanding, and patience to sympathy to agreement that yes, Chaka Khan really did sound terrible singing the national anthem. These are all small gestures that makes life bearable as an anxious person who may not always have her meds at hand, but these steadfast anchors remind me that it’s okay to fall apart sometimes. I am endlessly grateful to have these people because while we wish family, medicine, or doctors had all the answers, sometimes the answer is in a little laughter, and in my case, the addition of a little tablet. Life is hard, but my medicine has made it manageable. Has it cured me? No. Has it made life enjoyable again? Most definitely. And while you all are busy wishing these meds worked like secret cures for everyone struggling with mental health, the most important thing that we should focus on is that it’s helping manage the issue. Trust me, I’d love to never feel anxious, to never overthink, to never get my moments of OCD where I had to reorganize things a certain way, but the fact that not only do I have people who sit back and smile as they watch my organizational chaos, but that they accept I just need to do this for me… that makes the difference. If you can let me explore the methods to my madness with a smile while I explain how something MUST make sense, you are being not only kind, but accepting that I am quirky, slightly unhinged, but that you love me anyways.
It’s almost been a year, and I’m not cured, but I’m doing better. I’m happier, I’m more myself. I still worry that I waste people’s time, but that’s just another thing to work on, I guess. For now, I’m enjoying my methodical madness and I love the people who support me, no questions asked. Enjoy the journey, everyone. A cure sometimes just isn’t the answer, and that’s more than okay.

Hi! So I made it back to you guys with another post! I really appreciate the patience you have all had with the site, it’s been a struggle and a half and every time I thought I had fixed something, it turned out I broke more than fixed. But thanks to a lovely friend of mine who so happens to be a tech genius, we’re on our feet and ready to run! (more like limp, but we’re still going somewhere!)

The last time I wrote, it was essentially my introduction post, which if you haven’t read, I promise you’re not missing much, but you carobably…. hopefully, find on the site. Things here have been extremely hectic, what with trying to sort out Dodson, the holidays, finals, and generally managing my anxiety and everything that comes with it. Here’s to a not so quick, but quick enough update!

            Dodson

In regards to Dodson, we were all worried about the potential need for surgery that would happen, but we were lucky in that the orthopedic specialist determined that what he indeed had was a soft tissue injury in that right back leg. All the bedrest that he has been getting has really paid off! We went for a short trek on campus last week and he absolutely loved it! Unfortunately, they did notice the lameness he has in his legs and we’ll be periodically checking in with him.

            In regards to school….

I am extremely extremely excited to say that even though I was unable to attend class for the last four to five weeks of the term, I took my Statistics final and was able to pass the class! This is my first college math class I have been able to pass due to so much workarounds needing to be created in order to give me equal access. (A post discussing accessibility in higher education will be coming soon, hopefully.) In just two short weeks, Dodson and I will be returning to campus for what will hopefully be our last semester at Long Beach City. It’s been good, but it’s time for me to move on. Fortunately, I will be taking the course with my previous professor, who was incredible and willing to work with not only my disability, but the other students’ abilities as well. I’m so excited to start this new chapter and hopefully reach the goals I may or may not have set for myself. The goalposts are always moving, so we’ll see

            Generally speaking…

For the past few weeks while everything was simultaneously going on, my anxiety had been going through the roof. Managing Dodson and all his appointments, trying to keep up in class, and just the general hustle and bustle of my environment had been putting a real strain on me. I worried a lot, and worrying led to unhappiness because I couldn’t relax enough to be able to recharge my energies to give the next day another go. My meds have finally been adjusted to a level that is both comfortable and does well for me, so it’s a lot of balancing I have to do mentally that will make everything perfect. In all honesty, people seem to think that keeping busy will make everything better, when in reality, keeping me busy does nothing but focus my mind on a task so I can worry about the things stressing me out at night when I can’t sleep.

What these past few weeks have taught me is that I’m happier, I do better, I thrive in a quiet environment. I of course enjoy family and friends, but I enjoy having quiet so my brain isn’t always racing and going a mile a minute. It’s important to set boundaries and to listen to your body telling you when it’s had enough. My body has been telling me I needed to slow down for several years now, and I finally am listening. And hell if it isn’t a massive pain/relief. I say no easier, I don’t feel guilty for needing to be alone. I no longer question whether the fact that people don’t see when I get work done means I am lazy. I enjoy the peace and solitude and learning to be okay with that is the first step to making things easier on myself.

There’s your quick update, everyone! I promise there will be more topics, stories, and discussions to be had, but for right now, I’m glad we’re all caught up and on the same page. Stay safe, and remember being a complicated human being is perfectly okay.