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I will admit, when I do not have my meds, I become withdrawn, frustrated and grumpy; interacting with me is like poking a really pissed off tiger.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.