My chest hurts. It’s been hurting for a while now. It’s heavy to breath and I have this constant uneasy feeling of discomfort. I can’t stay still, my body has to move. But I can’t move, I feel heavy as a steel beam. Still, my feet is in constant motion, my brain flutters and my chest hurts.
Anxiety, I have been suffering from it since I can remember. I didn’t know what it was when I was a kid of course. I didn’t tell anyone what I felt. Didn’t everyone feel like this sometimes? Uneasy, wanting to flee from their own mind? And I don’t think it would have mattered what I had said, I wouldn’t have been able to put words to my feelings anyway. And if I by chance would, no one would have believed me. I would have been laughed at, at best, or admonished and not believed in at worst. That’s how my story goes.
Chocolate and canned peaches. It sounds stupid right? That was my drug back then, when I was nine. After school, at my grandmothers house. She had a bakery and her cellar was filled with chocolate and canned peaches. I binge ate them when I was sad, and felt uneasy. She of course had all sorts of delicious cookies and cakes, and ice cream in an abundance too, which we had free access to, my brother and I. And so I learned to lessen my anxiety by binge eating. But no one understood or no one cared to find out why I ate three chocolate bars each afternoon after school. I have talked to my mother since I became an adult and she tells me it wasn’t that bad. Well, she chose to not see.
Eating is one way to find the eye of the storm. It helps but only for a little while. Eating is a way to harm oneself. I still do that, eat my way through the anxiety that tears me apart. Chocolate is still my go to drug of choice, together with ice cream. Old habits die hard I guess. But I have found other ways, worse ways too. Ways I am less proud of that shows more. People tells the younglings that they are emo, searching for attention and that they should just clean up and get a grip. What do you say to a woman who is grown up and have two kids when she choses to cut her hand and smash it to pieces against a bathroom sink? I didn’t do this when I was a teenager, I didn’t start to do this until I was over 30. It hurts, the pain takes focus from the raging anxiety slowly killing you, and the bruises and cuts remind me for weeks that I am alive. I can bleed and I can bruise even though the anxiety is there.
You who follow my blog knows that I binge shop manga. There have been several other things in my life I have binge shopped; baby carriers, art materials, coloring books, notebooks, soft cover books, cd records, glasses… I can probably make the list a little bit longer but my memory is failing me because of a medicine I eat. A medicine that has actually helped me a lot with my anxiety.
I know people talk a lot about how self care is the way to master your mental health. “If you do this you will get better” they say and then you get some advice on training or sleep or food. It’s of course out of care they say it, but it doesn’t always help but has a negative reaction instead. At least I work that way. Because in the end, don’t you think I have tried? I have tried to trained at a gym, take long walks in the woods, do tai chi, work out in group. I have tried several different diets that is said to be good to your body and mind. I have tried to get my sleep pattern in check. It works to an extent but in my case one anxiety attack can ruin it all. I know that people don’t know how my anxiety works but even if I tell people I always, and I mean always, get back that you should try, and if I try and fail I get to hear that I should try again or that I didn’t try hard enough or long enough. It’s all bullshit in the end.
And right now my chest hurts and my mind is racing, throwing thoughts at me in 200 miles per hour. I don’t work properly, haven’t for weeks. Today was the day for my dentist appointment. An appointment I should have done for the last eight years. You see, I have a fear of dentists, like many people do. The minute I get my appointment the anxiety starts to build up and it has been building since August when I got this date a little shy of two months ago. There is no real reason for me to be afraid, I have the sweetest dentist. It’s irrational but so is my anxiety. There is nothing in particular, except the dentist, that I know triggers it. Suddenly I got an irrational fear of dogs and couldn’t keep taking walks in the woods. Just the thought of meeting a dog gave me anxiety. I’ve worked that away now, and dogs are no longer a problem. I sometimes have an irrational fear of people. Or birds. Or it’s something else.
Back to now, I can’t focus at the moment. I am paralyzed, laying on the sofa making up stories in my head. That’s my only way to silence all other thoughts. It’s either that or playing cellphone games; rhythm games to be precise. Anything else and I fly off and start to think about any catastrophe that might happen, or I think about all things that has happened in the past that I should have done differently. That is also a form of anxiety, to dwell on past events, to not be able to let go. I did that a lot before I got my miracle medicine. I say miracle because it feels like it. It has saved me from many bad episodes. Those panic attacks where it gets so bad I have to hurt myself. They are far between now but back then I had regularly occurring episodes. Not anymore.
Panic attacks yeah, another back side of anxiety. I get those too, but thankfully not as often. Those attacks when you are convinced you will die. Your heart beats so fast you think it will explode, you sweat, you are dizzy and your body goes week. You think you have a heart attack. It’s a different kind of anxiety. If, and I say if because it’s hella hard, you can just remember that it will pass you are okey. Because, it will pass and you will be fine once it does. It’s hell in the meantime though. They are worse than the other anxiety, but only in that exact moment. The other anxiety is a lot worse in the long run because sometimes it lurks around in your mind and body for weeks. As I mentioned, I’ve been in a constant state of anxiety for the past month now. I have a meeting tomorrow as well that is even more anxiety provoking than the dentist. Once that is over I hope this episode will end. For now. I’m not good with planned unwelcome meetings. I’m not good with unwelcome sudden meetings either but those are over fast at least. I’m not even good with welcomed, sudden meetings. I often cancel those in the end. Sadly. I am a bad friend like that but my mind can’t really cope with unforeseen events.
This post turned out to something completely different than I intended it to. Well, this is me and my anxiety. A little bit of an insight of me and my mental illness once again. Thank you for listening.
(I don’t have anything anime related to give you anyway because the only thing I have watched the last week is Free! I watched the last episode of Dive to the Future yesterday and I have been watching Octopimp’s parody on YouTube with my kid (and totally corrupted her so now she’s watching Free! the first two seasons. She is a total MakoHaru shipper. She even asked me if they will ever kiss. That’s my girl. So, now I need to figure out what I should show her next. It needs to be a dub because she is only 10 and she can’t really master subs in English yet. Suggestions are welcome.))
Feature picture: American Psychological Association
Other Pictures: Shawn Coss