Note: Not a Cheerful Walk Among The Daffodils.
Among other things, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which has chosen the Spring of the year to come back with a vengeance.
This sounds like a fake thing even to me, and I have it. I know. But it's so peculiar and so unnatural and scary that I can truly understand why people used to believe in demons, because when it hits, it's not like any other kind of fear or apprehension. It comes out of nowhere, for no reason, and it consumes you body and soul.
Imagine ramping up into full panic. For no reason. I mean the kind of nervous, terrified, helpless panic that hits you in a hospital bed, or after a car accident, as it dawns on you what just happened. That's what GAD feels like to me.
Luckily I have an understanding psychiatrist and I'm taking care of it. But what the hell, universe? Why now?
I don't know if any of you have anything like this, but you have my sincere sympathy if you do.
None of those "Just _____________" suggestions simply do not work because when this shit hits, you don't have the access to those parts of your brain anymore. Like 'Just take deep, calming breaths.' I am the Grand Master of Deep Calming Motherfucking Breaths. Doesn't do Jack Shit. This is not to say that I eschew Deep Calming Breaths; shit, I'm willing to try anything up to a full on goat sacrifice just to make this shit go away. I have a mantra. It does not work. I have a safe place, and people to call and talk to. Mantra does not work. Talking to people and being safe does not help. That part of your brain that can use those tools is turned OFF. You can think of those things, you can try to do them, but your body chemistry has other plans for you.
Sometimes I think about it as being this channel my mind seems to be tuning in to whether or not I want it to. I think of it as a definite bandwidth, certain limits where it comes in loud and clear with a blast of total static disruption. You doppler up and down, but you can't escape that station until something in your brain changes. And you can't turn the channel.
While you are tuned in to this station, everything you are as a person is expressed on that bandwidth. For as long as it lasts, what you think, what you feel, what you decide and what you do are defined and circumscribed by this thing. You can make yourself do 'normal' things, but that ability is limited, and you have to choose your low static moments and plot out your next few activities at top speed, before the hard fear comes back and all you can do is pace, unable to make a decision, unable to stop 'doom ideation', unable to stop 'suicidal ideation', unable to take in information without it's going through the bandwidth and becoming a 'bad' thought. I see a car pass by and I think about what would happen if it crashed through the house. I see the birds outside and I think about Avian Flu and salmonella. I had to drive myself to the pharmacy today and I kept thinking about engine fires, head-on collisions and 'sudden flying vehicle, Russian Style' type incidents as I crept along at 20 mph in the school zone nearby. You tell yourself it's not real, it won't happen, you fucking flat out KNOW IT'S ALL BULLSHIT and it Does Not Matter. Your mind and body have decided to panic whether you like it or not. So you only have sheer will? Cussedness? Contrariness? To get you through those moments. I don't know what it is, but it's in damned short supply. And there have been three occasions in my life now that I completely lost that quality and was overcome. The first two times I was 'bearhugged' through it. Look it up. They use this method on autistic kids and it works. The third time I did something stupid. Luckily my liver and kidneys were on my side that day.
If it hit like that again, and I didn't have any backup, I'd do myself to get away from it. So there's my deepest darkest fear revealed: That I have a thing made of horror that is tracking me, like Ged in the Earthsea books, and it is part of me and will eventually win.
You can get into treatment cycle of diminishing returns with GAD. Downers treat it, but the side effect of too many downers is drug tolerance and, you guessed it, GAD. Booze solves it, but booze is entirely too seductive in my case. I stay hydrated. Get all my vitamins. Avoid red meat. Exercise. I've spent the last week getting all my medications recalibrated and taking blood tests (I passed!) and so far it's looking like I might be a cunthair too high on the thyroid medications, like off by 5 fucking milligrams, so there's that to try and see if shit doesn't change in the next week.
Sitting here feeling the medication wear off and that black channel tune back in, bit by bit, is eerie as hell. You feel your heart rate begin to accelerate. Your breathing gets thin and rapid. Your whole body tenses up. And remember, there's no reason for this to be happening. That's frightening in and of itself. You literally feel yourself...I have to put it this way...losing your mind. Or at least a good part of it.
So here I am trying to read my goddamn Viking Sagas and my Cloisters Apocalypse, and editing a story I wrote (because I know how to party) and just chilling out to some jazzlike sounds on this one channel, blogging. It's a nice sunny day, I'm relaxed, comfortable, and yet I can feel it creeping up even as I sit here typing. Just a little tingle of apprehension in the back of my mind. Like the cold, nagging worry you feel when you send your child off to play at a friends house for the very first time. And I'm feeling this for absolutely No Reason Whatsoever.
My choices are very, very limited at this point. I can sit here and see what happens - it might just fade away. Or I can get proactive and medicate - and ace myself out of being able to interact with the adult world on a meaningful level; because I'll be loose as a goose on a measly 5mg Valium. Knocks me on my ass. As does Diazapam. And a few other mood stabilizers I can't remember the name of right off, but that I take in minute doses, and that fuck me up. Some people can do that, go out and maintain and be all competent. I cannot. I am a pathetic, sloppy, sentimental high person, one who will reveal embarrassing facts about my marriage, profess my platonic love for you unto eternity and gladly fill you in on the Middle Ages without provocation and get all the names and dates wrong. Either way, I can't make grown-up plans for the rest of the day. It's a good time to call me up, though. I am entertaining as hell, from what I've been given to understand.
Feel absolutely free to give me any tips, tricks, links, what have you. I'll be here.