Anxiety sneaks up on me. I know it’s always there somewhere. But it lunges at me randomly, unpredictably. It grows into this huge fireball. It rolls around inside me, hurting my heart, making my stomach burn, tensing every muscle, rushing to my head to push sobs and waves of tears from my eyes until I’m dehydrated.
I don’t understand why this happens to me. I don’t understand why my breathing becomes so erratic that unconsciousness feels imminent. I don’t understand why I can’t be fixed.
I have been seeing a nurse who specializes in mental health for just over a year. It’s not talk therapy. [But maybe I need that?] I see her for medication management. I know some people think anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds are bad. They turn you into a zombie with no feelings at all. You become a robot. None if this has ever been true for me.
I have been taking medication for over a year. [And this last year isn’t the first time for me + meds, but I won’t get into my history right now – it is a bit involved.] Clearly, the medication is not making me a zombie or anything resembling one since I still have anxiety attacks… and I still have periods of unexplainable, weepy, extreme sadness. I think the attacks are less frequent. And the extreme depressive periods seem shorter. But they are not gone. I don’t think they will ever be gone. And sometimes that’s too much for me to handle.
I’m going to be like this forever.
I need to explain this to my nurse. I visit her once each month (next appointment is this Tuesday). She asks me how I’m doing and I say okay or all right or something along those lines. And I think I’m lying. Yes, sometimes I feel okay. But sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t, I really don’t. And I haven’t really been telling her that because I don’t know how.
The way I feel… what she needs to know… I can’t find the words. The lack-of-job/money situation is scaring the hell out of me, but I can’t fix it. I can’t find a job… I can barely look. Just typing those words is making me sob uncontrollably right this very minute. How can I do anything about my unemployment if I slip into a panic attack every time I think about it? I can’t find a solution.
I don’t think there is a solution.
I need to explain that some days I just want to stay in bed. Forever. Sad and hopeless and knowing my only escape from all of it is sleep. How can she believe any of that when I manage to go to every appointment? How do I explain that most days, I can’t bear to be around people (outside of the 3 I live with). Most days, I hate to leave the house. I go out when I must – appointments, pick up kids from school, buy groceries for my family – and that’s it. I don’t go anywhere else. I don’t walk out my door if I don’t have to. If the phone rings or the doorbell dings, I sit, frozen in silence and wait for whomever it is to go away.
I have to explain that I don’t have any sort of support in my life. I don’t have any friends. Yes, there are people who love me and want me to be happy, but they don’t understand what goes on in my head. And I don’t expect them to. And I don’t want to burden the people who love me. But, God, it makes me feel lonely no matter who is with me… J, our kids, mom, sisters, anyone… yet no one.
Even when we’re together, I’m still alone.
When she suggests therapy [and she very well may], I have to tell her that I’ve been in therapy before and it has never done jack shit for me. I feel desperate to talk to someone who will understand and maybe even help. But I don’t think that’s possible. And the whole money/unemployment thing – I cannot afford a copayment for every visit to a therapist. Once a month with my med nurse is already more than I wish I was dishing out since I have zero income.
I need to explain that even though I love my family and my life isn’t a horror show, I am not happy. I’ve had moments in my life where I felt happiness. But I don’t think I’ve ever been happy. I don’t know what that is. I don’t know what that feels like. Except for the fictional version of it I create in my writing.
I should tell her that I could be doing tons of things with my time since I’m not working. We have a bunch of DIY home projects that I could be working on. I need to weed out the clothes that no longer fit from my kids’ closets. I need to sort through the crap in the attic to see what we can get rid of. I could have been doing these things (and many more) all along… ever since the day I got laid off. But I haven’t done anything. I have no motivation. I have no desire… to do much of anything. Most of the time, I think I just don’t care.
I have to explain that even though I know I’m a good mom, even though I think I have talent in a few areas, even though J loves me… despite all of that, I don’t love me. I have never loved me. I don’t know how. I hate so many parts of my life. I hate the decisions I made that got me here. I hate that I’m so weak that I cannot stop feeling this way. I hate that genetics may mean that one or both of my children may feel like this at some point in their lives. That’s my fault. It’s on me. And it rips me apart.
And I hate that I have no idea how to explain any of this to my nurse at my 15-minute appointment on Tuesday. I hate that when she asks how I’m doing, I’m just going to say ‘I’m all right’ like I always do and that’ll be the end of it.
I even kind of hate that I’m going to publish this post.