I’ve been told lately that I have some obsessive-compulsive tendencies. This isn’t really surprising to me. I’ve also been told that I make things harder on myself than they have to be, due to this. In fact, my therapy homework last week was to stop trying to wash, fold, and put away all my laundry in one day. I’m supposed to try and do a load every day or so. Oh, and I’m supposed to let people help me fold the laundry. Even though they don’t do it right and it makes me anxious. So that’s what I’ve been working on. Being less insane about laundry.
In addition to my laundry homework, things were just totally insane over the last week. I let myself be too busy, and my husband’s work was absolute crazytown, and then his car broke down on Friday, exactly one week before we planned to replace it, and then I had to call and yell at the people at ekidsrooms.com again because they still hadn’t refunded me the money from the order I had cancelled two weeks ago, and it was all too much and I had another panic attack and I hadn’t taken my anxiety medication even thought I promised the shrink I would take it like he prescribed but I never do because I don’t like it because it makes me sleepy and dumb. So I got hit with another panic attack and had to double up on my anxiety medication and felt extra sleepy and dumb for the rest of the day.
Every time I start to think I’m doing a little better, I start to wean myself off my anxiety meds and every time I have some kind of incident that reinforces the current need for some outside help. My doctor is begging me, “Please, just take the meds like I prescribed! We will get you off of them as soon as possible.” Apparently two more panic attacks in just over a week is not making “possible” any sooner.
Now I’m taking two medications to help with my “mood disorder” and one to help with my anxiety/panic attacks. I hate this. I’ve been on the doctor/drug merry-go-round before. They just keep prescribing drugs and more drugs to try and hit on something that might work, and I don’t think they really know all that much what they’re doing. At the height of my ride on the merry-go-round, I was taking about 13 prescriptions to manage symptoms from the Fibromyalgia I knew I had, but couldn’t find anybody to diagnose or treat me. Recognizing that I was talking a shitload of meds and continuing to feel worse, I quit. Everything. Cold turkey. When my current month’s prescription ran out, I just didn’t get it refilled. I started yoga and powerful nutritional supplements and never looked back.
Fast-forward to ten years later. I feel like I’m literally losing my mind. I’ve known for months that I “probably, sort of, kind of, needed to go ‘talk to’ somebody.” I can’t do anything without crying. Or screaming in rage. It’s like there is so much pain built up in my body that it’s bursting out every chance it gets. I can’t hold it in anymore, maybe because I didn’t realize it was still there. But it showed up. It showed up in my rage because I had to stop at one more goddam red light. It showed up when I sat curled on the couch, wrapped in blankets, shaking and sobbing for no reason that I could figure out. I was crippled by my anxiety and the knowledge that I probably couldn’t go more than a couple of hours without needing to cry again.
I was so desperate that during my first visit with my therapist, when he asked if I would like to see the psychiatrist as well, my answer was an emphatic “Yes! Whatever it takes,” I said, “I have to get better!” So here I am, five months later. For a while it was one step forward, two steps back. I like to think that maybe now I’ve reduced my back-stepping from two to one. I’m so uncomfortable with taking medication to affect my mood. What if I start relying on the medication to help manage my emotions and my anxiety? What if I forget what it feels like to have a normal mood? What if I get numb and stop experiencing life? What if I forget all I’ve learned about the mental health benefits of yoga and meditation? I know it works. What if I just keep being prescribed more and more drugs? Ok, well I know the answer to that one – I just won’t take them. I’m giving them long enough to work, and if they don’t help, forget it.
I’m going to keep working with what I have right now. I’m going to keep pushing back the darkness that I still wake up with every morning that asks, “How are we going to do this again today?” Maybe, just maybe, it’s taking a little less work to push it back than it did a few months ago. I’m gonna keep working, using all the tools I have, (and trying not to be scared of them), to put all my stuff back in my basket.
If I’ve learned anything from all this (well, actually, I’m sure I’ve learned several things), it’s that it doesn’t take any time at all for the basket to slip out of your hands, but it can take quite some time to gather it all back up again. And, like a little kid picking up Easter eggs, every time you bend over to pick another one up, something else will fall out. But little kids are really good at asking for help when they need it. Sometimes after pitching a hellacious fit, but they usually get there eventually. And all the eggs get placed safely in the basket where they belong. So I’m taking notes from little kids Easter egg hunting. Pick up your eggs. Be careful when you bend down to pick up more eggs. If they keep falling out, ask a grownup for help. Don’t be scared to pitch a hissy fit first. Sometimes it’s therapeutic.