Robotic to Neurotic
A Week in the Rabbit Hole.
My writing pieces over the past week may or may not reflect what I have been going through, but that’s okay. I have enjoyed the challenge of writing to take my crazy brain off the emotional roller coaster of anxiety and depression I have been on.
This morning, started off like most Saturday mornings. I rolled out of bed, made my coffee, and took my hubby a hot chocolate and my strong java back to bed. We talked about our plans for the day and I said I was going to have a shower.
His response was, “Oh you’re going to shower today? You have barely showered all week”. (He said this as a joke)
I bawled my eyes out.
This was my brain telling me that the medication that my doctor had started me on, on Tuesday, was finally working.
That was the first emotions I have felt all week. I didn’t understand what was happening at first. Typically I would have retorted with a flip of the bird, or some other sarcastic remark, because that’s what we do. We joke around.
This morning, however, just that one single joke, derailed me. My mind instantly went back to kids picking on me in elementary school because I was always “dirty”. I felt the sting of the school yard bully laughing at me and making fun of my greasy hair. I felt like Dave was picking on me, and it made instant tears build behind my eyes.
He didn’t mean to set me off. I know he didn’t. But it did.
People with anxiety and/or depression have triggers. It could be anything from a phrase, to a joke, a scent, a sound, an object, or a touch. Anxiety is very unpredictable, and unless you have it, it is extremely difficult to understand.
Sadly, one of my worst triggers is Remembrance Day, which is in Canada tomorrow, and I have been stressing over the past week, knowing that is approaching. I also know that it is not the reason I fell into the rabbit hole this time.
This morning Dave had asked me if I would be joining him at the ceremony tomorrow, and I could literally feel my entire body tense up as I told him, “No. I will stay home, like always, and watch it on TV”. November 11 is and always will be a trigger for me. The story behind that is something that I will write about, once it’s over, as it is too emotional at this point to think about.
I cannot explain how anxiety can make you feel like a robot. Maybe depression has been holding my anxiety’s hand, and they had partnered up this week, but I was unable to show any type of emotion for the first 4 days of this week. No laughter, no sadness, no joy, no anger-nada. Bupkis. Nothing. I just stayed on auto pilot, made myself get out of bed to write, then sat and stared blankly at the TV watching reruns of Little House on the Prairie, Friends, and recorded episodes of This is Us and The Good Doctor. I know that I was focused on the shows while they were on, but have no memory of what they were about, now. I cleaned the pantry, changed the bedding on our bed, and puttered around the house. Jokes meant nothing to me, kisses made my lips numb, and even cuddling in bed left me feeling empty. I functioned enough to do what I had to do, no more, no less. Tuesday morning I had gone to my doctor because I woke up with some weird business happening to my skin. I thought it was shingles, but the doctor told me it was an auto immune rash that was telling my body to take a rest. He wrote me a note and put me on Escitalopram. It’s a tiny pill, to take once per day. He said it would help me gain some clarity and focus.
Remember when Data, on Star Trek (Next Generation) was given an emotion chip? As soon as they implanted it, he went all haywire, trying to grasp these feelings. That was so me this morning. I had no idea that I would wake up and “FEEL” today. I wasn’t prepared for being overwhelmed with every emotion. I cried, I laughed, cried again, felt fear, and laughed again. It was as if my emotions weren’t presenting in a natural fashion. They felt processed, like those square cheez slices that people buy, that are one molecule away from being plastic. I mean, I am glad I can feel again, but, it felt like I was trapped inside my own body and only on the outside, my feelings were exposed.
Dave said to me, “It’s okay if you’re a little crazy honey. I still love you”. That sent me into a hard laughter, and I still don’t understand why.
I don’t know if manufactured emotions are the way to go. The jury is still out for me, on that. What I do now, is that it is better than being the robot. I actually left the house today and got out around people. At the beginning of this week, I avoided interacting or engaging with ANYONE. I didn’t feel the need to talk. I didn’t feel the need to do anything.
I had reached out to a friend who struggles with the same type of anxiety and her advice to me was, “If you feel the need to lay in bed for a few days, or a week, and stare at your light switch, do it. If you need to be alone, then just be alone. No one knows what you need more than you. Your anxiety and depression is real, and your body is telling you that.”
That really resounded inside of me. In fact, that was one of the ONLY conversations that got inside my dark head. After she said that, I rose from the couch and wrote a few pages in my book, and a couple of poems. Even if they were melancholy words, or creative pieces that evoked sadness, it is what I needed to do. And that’s okay. At least I could dig deep and find emotions to write about. It was a big step. My friend managed, somehow, to get me back on my feet again….in my own way.
MENTAL ILLNESS IS REAL
People with anxiety and depression share the same situational space. We understand what it’s like to want to hide in our homes and avoid everyone. We get that our heads go in a million different directions and focus is not possible. We may be in different locations, but the head space remains the same. We worry about what others think, but at the same time, we don’t give any fucks. We feel guilt and worry about failure or falling behind, but then again, we tell ourselves that nothing is worth stressing over-because it really doesn’t matter. We are either scatter brained, or obsessive about that one little thing that has to be “perfect”. It’s a fickle illness that has no rhyme, no reason, and no consistency. It can spiral out of control with no warning, and when you can finally get a grasp of it, it slips between your fingers and lurks in the shadows.
We all share the emotional struggle, the fight for finding ourselves when we get lost in the rabbit hole, and we have the same emotional intellect. Anxiety has a double edged blade. We know when it grabs hold, but it can be comforting knowing that it allows us to step back from our crazy lives and just “exist”. At the same time, it’s frustrating to the point where you feel like a fly trapped in a glass jar, banging against the interior walls and buzzing for someone to let us the hell out. It’s exhausting.
Today, I will embrace my newfound emotional train wreck. Hopefully tomorrow will be a more balanced day. I will wake up and try to work out, and forget that it’s a trigger day. I will enjoy my alone time, while Dave attends the Remembrance Day ceremony and be thankful that I am able to feel again.
EMBRACE WHAT IS
Every day we are alive is a blessing. Whether we choose that day to lay in bed and stare at a light switch or keep active and busy, making memories with people we love, it’s still a day when our feet are on the ground and we have a heartbeat. Not every day has to be spectacular. Some days can just slip into the next. No matter how that 24 hour period looks, I am just happy to be where I am, and finally feel again.
A robot crawled into the rabbit hole last week, and a neurotic beast has clawed its way out. It may not be perfect, but it is who I am. It will balance out and I will find myself somewhere in between, when I’m ready.