I’ve discussed on the blog before that I deal with depression and anxiety (and that is largely what this post is about, so trigger warning?). My issues were being “treated” with Zoloft, but I stopped taking it after a couple of years. Mainly because I gained a shit ton of weight while on it (seriously, about 80 pounds) and also because it wasn’t so much that it kept me from feeling depressed, it just kept me from feeling.
I was able to go out and do things, keep to a schedule of sorts, but I wasn’t getting much out of the experiences, largely faking or embellishing my reactions to things. And my creative drive? Well… Remember that year-and-some-change gap where I really didn’t post anything to this blog. That’s pretty indicative of everything that was going on in my life at that time.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It was great, really it was, to be able to go to things and know that I wouldn’t flip my shit at any given moment and have to leave. But I wasn’t myself. I was a zombie.
(Which is kind of weird and ironic, considering the fact that I have a nightmare disorder and have recurring zombie apocalypse nightmares.)
So I quit taking my medicine.
Yesterday was a bad day.
I just felt like shit for most of the day. I had several things that I wanted and needed to do that I never even got around to. There was one project I worked on, and I’m glad I got some work done on it, but it’s really tedious and slow work, and in the end I spent at least two hours on this thing and felt like I accomplished nothing.
Hindsight and all, I actually did get a good bit done, but at the time, I couldn’t see that. My focus was mostly, “I don’t contribute anything to ANYTHING, and I never will, so why do I even bother.”
Yes, that’s “wrong thinking,” but those are the thoughts that were there yesterday.
I also ended up clipping all of my nails off super short. I had started to get all twitchy and jumpy and tense, which is sometimes, though not always, a precursor to a full blown anxiety attack.
If you don’t know anyone who has or has ever had an anxiety attack, you might not realize that they present in very different ways. One family member of mine describes her anxiety attacks as literally flopping around on the floor like a fish out of water. My husband had anxiety attacks after the tornado that would cause him to black out and then spring back to consciousness with a sudden jolt of adrenaline.
I have two very distinct types of anxiety attacks. One is brought on by stress; I get overwhelmed and basically shut down for a while. I have sat staring off into space for hours, and to look at me, you’d think I had fallen asleep with my eyes open. But in my brain, everything that I’m worrying about or stressing over keeps cycling through, over and over and over. Sometimes, this actually helps me sort things out. Sometimes I snap out of it crying and then fall asleep.
Then there’s the other type of anxiety attack. The jumpy, twitchy, stress but so much more, worries and doubts and fears, self loathing, confusion, exhaustion, feelings of insignificance and worthlessness, problems that I can’t tackle, that I’m scared to face, things I can’t say to other people because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, everything that’s ever made me angry or upset, every hurt feeling I’ve ever had, every mistake I’ve ever made…
And all of this shit bubbles inside of me and literally starts to feel like bugs crawling under the skin of my arms, and I just start compulsively scratching and scratching and scratching.
And my nails are naturally really sharp and pretty strong. As in, I can slice through plastic and paper with my fingernails. So I trimmed them yesterday just in case I started scratching.
In the end, I came around before I got to that point. Which is good. That’s what I’m working towards, being able to stop the panic without the meds.
Today is a good day.
At least so far. I have been looking at the things I want to accomplish, and actually plotting out a timeline for getting (at least some of) them done. I’m making lists. In pencil, because I know things change.
I feel motivated. I want to get things done, and I want to find more things to do.
Above all else, I feel okay about myself. So it’s a good day.