Anxiety and Instability

The toughest part of living with depression and an anxiety disorder is the constant state of instability.

Some days are good. Some days I can just breathe and take life as it comes. I can look at the challenges I’m facing as small stepping stones and work through them without having an episode.

Then there are days like today.

I should have known I was gearing up for one of those days when I had an anxious fit last night because my boyfriend DARED to go to bed early. Since we are in a semi-long distance relationship (3-ish hours round trip travel time), trust is a huge part of the equation. I trust him unequivocally. However, his “goodnight” phone call at 9:30pm made me feel anxious. Why, I don’t really know… Which is pretty much the crux of anxiety issues, isn’t it? No rhyme or reason or anything beyond the famed Star Wars line, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Anyway. I digress.

I texted my best friend (who is also coping with anxiety issues and is a beacon of love and support through these episodes) and she talked me down from the metaphorical ledge. I took some deep breaths, meditated awhile, and finally felt calm enough to sleep.

This morning, I woke up to a sweet text from my boyfriend, and I thought that maybe I was on the right path to working past my lingering anxiety and having a good day. Then, it seemed like everything fell apart. Carefully made plans fell through. Money issues reared their ugly head. Words were exchanged with no sense of context or tone to temper their reception. All the hard work I’ve done lately to work towards inner peace and happiness and pretty much everything beyond being a depressed, anxious mess seemed to fall down at my feet. All I wanted to do was cry because I’ve been doing so well. I went from feeling like I’m actually getting somewhere and improving my mental state to a sobbing heap of anxiety and insecurity in less than 24 hours.

THIS is what I can’t take.

When things are good, I can cope. I’m learning how to cope when things are bad. But I can’t handle the constant back and forth. I can’t handle the ups and downs. I like stability. I like structure. I like order. The lack of these things makes me anxious, and being anxious leads to a lack of stability, structure, and order. It’s a vicious cycle, and I don’t know how exactly I am supposed to stop it, only that I need to stop it.

Maybe it’s time to revisit my treatment options. Maybe I should bite the bullet and consider medication, even though I’m unemployed and have no form of prescription coverage. Maybe, as several people have told me, I should just “get the fuck over it” and “stop being a headcase.”

Or maybe, right now, I should take a hot bath, make some tea, and have a good cry, hoping tomorrow will be a little brighter.

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It Just Didn't Work Out.

When a relationship ends, it’s easy to put the blame on the other person. “He didn’t give me enough attention.” “She nagged too much.” “Their lifestyle isn’t compatible with mine.” etc. It’s slightly childish, yes, but it feels great to have some drinks with friends and re-hash all your ex’s shortcomings.

In fact, this behaviour is more or less EXPECTED. We don’t  assume that someone going through such a painful process is going to be diplomatic, kind, or understanding. We assume that they will WANT to air their dirty laundry and ridicule their former partner for all his/her flaws, real or imagined.

Now, I recently split with my partner of three years. I’m deeply hurt, saddened, and, yes, a little angry, even though I was the one to break it off. However, I’ve decided to take a new approach.

I refuse to bad-mouth him.

I will not espouse his negative characteristics. I will not mock him. I will not make jests at his expense. I will not flaunt our breakup, nor share gory details, no matter how persuasive the other party may be.

I will take responsibility for my actions over the course of our relationship, and their effects upon said relationship. I will acknowledge that I am saddened by the loss of this partnership, and that, yes, I am grieving. I will offer no explanation other than “it just didn’t work out.”

 

It has been about a week since the official split, and people’s reactions to my approach are fascinating. Most are skeptical, thinking I’ll slip up at some point. Some are angry, because they have been denied amusement in the form of someone else’s pain. A few refuse to acknowledge it to my face, yet run their mouths behind my back. Very few seem to understand or accept it.

I, however, feel a sense of lightness. Taking the high road means that I will cause my ex no more pain or embarrassment than necessary, and facilitates a potential friendship down the road. Sure, it’s not quite as satisfying as a good old bitch session, but it’s sure a lot easier on the conscience.

The Beauty's In The Breakdown

The past week or so has been a nightmare.

Work is stressing me out, my darling daughter has developed a VERY grown-up attitude, and my partner doesn’t seem to feel the need to support me emotionally (by being there to listen), financially (guess who paid his half of the bills?) or physically (I just want a hug sometimes, darnit!).

I got home yesterday, only to see a little orange light lit up on the dashboard of my car. Low oil. Great. At least I remembered to pick some up last time I was at Hellmart. I open the hood of my car, reach for the oil cap (which the dipstick  is stuck to) and… nothing. It won’t move in the slightest. I try again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. This continues for about 5-10 minutes, with me alternately pleading with the vehicle to “just puhleeeeeeze open up for me!” and kicking it, yelling obscenities. (Thankfully, darling daughter was in the house, chasing Kitty around.)

After 10 minutes of feeling like a weak fool, I finally broke down in tears. My hand was sore from trying, I was frustrated by my ineptitude, and I felt foolish for 1) not being able to open the freaking thing, and 2) for making such a racket over something so trivial. I sat down in front of my car, leaned against the old beast, and I cried. Not quietly, or  ladylike, mind you, but full out whimpering sobs, complete with gushing tears and dripping snot. (Yes, I’m quite the supermodel when I cry!) I let go, and just let myself cry.

Wouldn’t you know, that was the best thing I’ve done all week.

After about 5 minutes of blubbering like a toddler who doesn’t get dessert, I stood up, brushed myself off, closed the hood and went inside. Nothing had been resolved, but I sure felt like a million dollars.

Today, I got a mechanic friend to take a look. He had to get his tools out to get the cap off, and then almost broke it in the process. It wasn’t just me being weak. I filled the oil up, and carried on.

 

The problem of low oil wasn’t solved right away, but the Universe gave me a beautiful gift in that moment of frustration. I got a chance to let go, to release, and to heal. Sometimes you just need to cry, baby.

 

So you can put your head on my shoulder, babe,
‘Cause I know you got some more tears to share,
Come on, let it go,
So come on, come on, come on, come on, come on,
Honey, cry, cry baby, cry baby, cry…

-Janis Joplin