The begininng — again.
Today was the first day of class — again. My fourth consecutive semester. My… who knows, 10th semester total, yet I am only considered a sophomore. But, that is moot.
Today was the first day of class — again. And tomorrow will be, too.
Woke up at 5a, 3 hours earlier than the alarm was to sound.
Increased heart rate.
I text my therapist: my body is freaking out about the first day of school.
Therapist: tell it to chill. All is well.
Now, before you comment on her less than therapeutic interventions… well, don’t. She knows me well enough to know what to say in these situations . She knows that if she says something I have already said, it normally holds more power as I do not take my own advise.
I tried. I tried to tell it. I showered. Got my coffee. Put on a cute outfit. Still wouldn’t subside. Got bad enough that I nervous vomited. You see, I am psychosomatic. My body always has a physical reaction to any stressor I feel: sorrow, despair, depression, anger; and in this case, anxiety.
Me: How.. cause me telling it I’m fine. We are fine. This is our fourth first consecutive day of school here & is nothing new.. didn’t work . Just vomited. It won’t fucking listen.
Therapist: Take your anti-anxiety med and ride out the process. It will be okay. It is not as intimidating as you are making it seem.
So, my whole commute I am not enjoying the music. I am not taking in the beautiful, blue skies with the perfect white, fluffy cloud cover over the emerald green fields. What am I fucking doing? Shaking. Dry heaving — hoping I don’t actually throw up…again. Trying to figure out where to park. Wondering if I’ll have enough time to stop in the book store. Making an escape plan for the chance of an anxiety attack. All the while my heart is racing… it must have thought it was Ussain Bolt in an Olympic 100 meter final. It was pounding so hard, I thought it would beat out of my chest. I could feel it in my head. I could hear it reverberating in my ear canal.
This is what it is like for me. Every day. Every day is like the first day of school. Every day there is something my mind creates a reason for me to panic, despite my best efforts not believe its lies.
Sometimes, I’ll have good mornings. No shaking. No vomiting. Maybe a bit of intense heart beats, but I’ll take it.
Something triggers my mind to believe its in danger. My chest tightens. Breathing becomes shallow creating sheer panic as my mind believes I will be rendered incapable of getting oxygen to the brain. I start to panic further because I believe this, too. Sweaty palms. Shaking body. New realization that I am in public, making it worse; ten-fold.
Shit is exhausting. Sometimes, my Depression takes over, telling me it isn’t worth it to get out of bed. Sometimes Depression makes my entire body ache to the point where I think it is right: I should stay in bed as it would hurt less.
Then the anxiety desides to wake up, telling me if I miss class, I’ll never graduate. I’ll be 37 (Im 24) still attempting to get a bachelors. That I’ll fail my exam that is still 4 weeks away. That my professor will know I am crazy. My classmates will know i am crazy. I have the perfect façade that cannot be tainted.
Having both anxiety and depression is a tug of war no one wants to be a part of. The war waging within your own head is…debilitating — for a lack of better words. The struggle is real, quite literally. Even with consistently taking my meds and engaging in CBT, EMDR, and hypnotherapy. But, that shit is for another post.
The amount of physical experiences pales in comparison to what is perceived in the minds of someone suffering from mental illness and because of this, I will be silent no more. We need to make mental illness less taboo and taken more seriously. We need to be able to talk about signs ans symptoms without feeling uncomfortable, wincing at the words “suicide, depression, medication, rape, therapy, PTSD, borderline personality disorder…” etc. Mental illness is just as serious and real as any other physical illness. It’s not something that can be fixed just by “thinking positively”.
I’ll go to bed in hopes tomorrow will be better.
I’ll go to bed telling myself life isnt that bad and tomorrow will go much smoother.
I’ll go to bed and not sleep despite the lack, despite the exhaustion.
It’s a never ending cycle. One that needs to be addressed. If not for oneself, then for one we love.