Dear darling deers (I just watched The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe so my mind is foresty),
Last week I pushed myself farther than I probably should have and as a result I ended up suffering for it; but that’s how this whole chronically ill thing tends to go. As I have said before in a post a little ways back, one of the most frustrating things about being chronically ill is not knowing if you’re simply sick from everything you already have, or if your symptoms are something to be worried about. This time, I’m quite sure I’m just unbearably tired.
On Saturday which was the last day of my super busy week, after only 5 hours of sleep and 9 long hours at work, I returned home and all I could think about was rest. My bed had become a long lost lover that my heart had been aching for all week. We were constantly reunited, then ripped away from one another too soon. Okay..maybe I’m being dramatic. But really, I was as my grandmother often says, kaput!
I waddled from one room to another, took a warm shower and contemplated falling asleep in it, and turned on my tea kettle to make hot water for the water bottle I put on my incessantly aching back. I went to my bedroom to lay on the bed and wait for the horror-like screaming of my tea kettle. I lay there staring at the ceiling, fighting sleep in any way I could so that the stove wouldn’t burn down my home. As my eyes wandered about my bedroom I finally saw it; a giant, grey, spindly moustache sitting on my wall.
If you’re wondering what a spindly moustache was doing on my wall, allow me to explain. Here in Missouri we have creatures called house centipedes, and they horrify me because I come from the magical land of California where we had our fair share of bugs…but we did not have big, grey centipedes. I glared up at it and thought how nothing, not even this creepy little fucker, would keep me from the sleep I so desperately needed. I grabbed a ball of paper towels and stepped up on the bed to reach it. I could kill the bug. I was a big girl or something like that! I own tablecloths!
Several times I moved my hand to reach up and destroy it, but each time its freakish feelers would slowly move, and it felt as if they were grazing my skin. I imagined the bug jumping on me, feeling the texture of it. My imagination betrayed me and I began to feel more and more uncomfortable. My anxiety built up and I become nervous. “But it’s only a bug!” I kept telling myself. “A harmless, stupid little bug!” Still, I could not manage to kill it.
I am extremely fortunate that my landlord is not only a kind person, but has become my good friend. I’ve called him several times to rescue me from wasps, and though house centipedes are mostly harmless (at least that’s what they want me to think), he is aware that I suffer from anxiety and have a moderate fear of bugs. Even butterflies and fireflies give me the creeps most of the time. Since I heard him walking around outside, I called him asking to remove the spindly moustache from my home because I was completely exhausted. He agreed to come up and I told him he was my hero; after at all, I do often feel like a princess in a tower surrounded by bugs.
My landlord came up and the spindly moustache was sitting at the corner of the doorway. My landlord took the fly swatter he had given to me a few months ago and whacked it. Of course this was the exact opposite of what I was hoping would happen. To my horror, the centipede fell into my bed and ran off. Seeing the bug in my bed sent me into a panic. I asked him to try to help me find it, but he had to leave. I felt my tears rising in my eyes while my anxiety rose in my chest. I told myself how immature it was to feel so terrified by a harmless insect and I hated myself for getting so upset. I felt the judgment of my friend and landlord, and was embarrassed to have him see me so anxious over such a ridiculously minor problem. The sleep deprivation was not helping.
After I composed myself (sort of kind of) I changed my bedsheets and shook out my blankets to make absolutely sure the bug was nowhere to be found. Finally I felt safe to sleep, yet every time I relaxed I would feel the sensation of something crawling on me, and it made truly resting exceedingly difficult. I had planned to sleep for at least two hours; instead, I slept for only 30 minutes. I woke from my nap hardly feeling rested, but I finally gave up and decided try to make some dinner instead.
I am aware that my reactions to certain situations do not make sense to those around me. Some of the circumstances that make me extremely nervous like insects, going to a gas station, or being in a crowded shop are only minor inconveniences to others. It can also be confusing that sometimes I am not as bothered by these situations while other times they cause me a great deal of stress. I’ve been called childish, immature, drama queen, attention whore, and every other sideways insult that others can think of in these situations. I’ve been told that I “just need to relax,” that it’s “not that big of a deal,” and that “everything is fine.” Of course, none of these phrases help. Ever.
The mechanisms of anxiety are extremely complex and though I have lived with it all my life, at times I still don’t completely comprehend it all. I don’t entirely understand why some days I feel like being in a crowd may make me burst, while other times I’m only made to feel mildly nervous. If anything I assume that external factors such as the remainder of my illnesses, my amount of stress and how much sleep I get aggravates my anxiety to make it more or less tolerable. As much as I try, I cannot always help these factors, and so I end up in tears because a spindly moustache has fallen into my bed. Truthfully, this wasn’t only about the bug. My tears were a manifestation of every negative thing I was feeling at that moment in time, and the centipede was the gross little cherry atop my clusterfuck sundae.
Having anxiety causes me embarrassment, and that feeling of embarrassment makes feel worse both mentally and physically. It tells my self deprecation, “hey! come play with my brain, I didn’t need to think straight today anyway!’ It’s exhausting to constantly have to apologize for myself, to see people roll their eyes at me or get angry with me, even exasperated at times. I wish they could understand that I’m just as frustrated as they are, if not more so. It gets tiresome to replay every situation in my head a thousand times, thinking about all the dreadful impressions I’ve given the people around me.
I am well aware that my anxiety affects others around me; but the fact remains that it affects me the most, and while I definitely I try to understand that it isn’t always easy to deal with, I hope that people understand that I’m not doing these frustrating things on purpose. I wish I could be calm and collected, the kind of person who can do martial arts and rescue people from supernatural dangers and maybe even kill her own bugs. I am not that person, at least for now. While I’m trying to make who I am better and healthier, it is an extremely long process.
Currently, I am the girl who is terrified of bugs and who gets anxious regardless of how I try not to. I am a silly girl that cries easily, sometimes from anxiety, sometimes from sadness and sometimes from happiness, or a sweet end to a film. I’m the person who is going to need help on occasion, both mentally and physically, even though I desperately wish that I didn’t. I need to be told a thousand times a day that I’m safe because anxiety and physical illness often causes me to forget or doubt it. I need to be constantly told that I am supported, and that as frustrating as I can sometimes be, I’m still loved anyway.
To my friends that have to deal with me at my best and worst moments, I hope you understand that I truly am trying my best at all times, it just doesn’t always work. I understand that you’re doing the same, and I’m so thankful for those that have helped me through especially some of the worst parts of my life and who have seen me at my least composed. It would be significantly more difficult to be myself if not for those who love me through the trials of my life.
Anxiety is a sneaky, hidden illness. Other times, the bastard is painfully obvious and impossible to stow away. Either way, though it may not seem like it, it is always with me, resting beneath my skin like a monster waiting for someone to dare to enter its cave. I’m doing everything I can to gain control of it, and I am confident that between time and my hard work, I will. For now, I’m hoping that if I understand that those I love are unaccustomed to how my mind functions, and they understand that I’m constantly fighting battles that I win yet also lose, I truly believe that we can get through anything; even an uprising of spindly Missouri moustaches. Moustachi? Meestach? Plurals are hard (As you can see by my silliness, I’m not quite over my exhaustion just yet. Back to bed I go).
A downward spiral just a pirouette, Getting worse til there’s nothing left.
What good comes of something when I’m just the ghost of nothing?
I’m just the man on the balcony singing, “Nobody will ever remember me, ”
Rejoice, rejoice and fall to your knees.
Lunatic of a god or a god of a lunatic?
Oh, their faces are dancing, they’re dancing til
Til they can’t stand it.
A composer but never composed,
Singing the symphonies of the overdosed.
~ From Now On We Are Enemies – Fall Out Boy