I have an anxiety problem.
It’s not a self-diagnosed ailment. (Like Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, I’ve been tested.)
It’s not “social anxiety”, either: it’s a kind of “state of terror and panic” that has almost no rhyme or reason. There’s no discernable trigger. There never is – it just happens. It’s never been tied to anything one could point to and say “Well, there’s your problem. Go fix that.”
It just is.
Most of the time, it’s a transitory state: a few hours or a day or two of being so filled with existential dread that all my available energy is spent just going through the motions of life.
Every once in a while, though, I get hit with something bigger than that. Days and days of it, and it never lets up.
These last three weeks have been the big stuff.
There’s no reason for it. There’s nothing in my life going wrong. There’s nothing happening that should frighten me unduly. I mean, okay, there’s a nutbar in the White House, and western civilization seems to be pouring itself willfully down the tubes, but frankly, it’s been doing that for years, and while we are closer to a complete and utter annihilation of the planet that we have been for a long time, having the hands of the nuclear destruction clock sitting at 30 seconds to midnight is not new to me: that’s where it was for most of my life. I’m used to that, and I’m old, too: death is coming for me sooner or later, no matter what.
No, this was a state of unreasoning panic that went on for days, and then the days turned into weeks, and while I still went to work, and made supper, and got the laundry corralled, it was all pretty hellish.
My stomach was either in knots or ravenously hungry (my body likes to medicate with food) and I had a slight but continual case of the tremors.
Not just sometimes. This was 24/7 – I’d sleep for a couple of hours having hideous dreams, wake up and lie in bed for a few hours feeling horrible, then sink into an exhausted coma for another couple of hours, and finally get up, go through my day with pretend smiles and loads of inconsequential chit-chat, only to fall into bed to do the whole thing all over again.
This time it went on for so long that I became kind of used to it, and it wasn’t until the other morning, when I woke up without it that I realized just how long I’d been coping with it for.
So if you’re struggling; if you feel like everything about your life is teetering on the edge of a cliff; if you feel slightly nauseous all the time; if you can feel yourself quaking inside:
I know that stuff. You aren’t alone. Just try and hang on, take some care for yourself, and if you need to reach out and there really is no one else, message me.
It’s not easy, but it’s who we are, and I will support you.