Today is an anxiety day.
I’m not sure if I’ve had one of these since I’ve started this blog, so if you’re just now reading my masterpieces, welcome to hell.
There are many things I love about keeping this blog. I can connect with people on a personal level otherwise unobtainable through verbal communication (for me), and we can exchange woes in a healthy fashion, examine each other’s behavior and learn from it. We can feel included in the world. I spew personal rants, which can go in odd direction (hence, 10 questions for Cannibals) or I can be informative and quite possibly helpful, as I’ve made attempts in the past with Be a Teacher, Not a Scapegoat.
I provide a mix on this site to show the truth behind struggling day to day with mental health and to provide a safe space to learn and perhaps think about mental health in a different way. I first started it as a way to communicate information but soon realized that didn’t do much good if people didn’t see I was a real person with similar struggles.
Therefore, I will be truthful with you all: Today is an anxiety day.
All the textbooks and published articles in the world could never give you enough factual information to help you deal with these kinds of days. You learn through experience and by listening to yourself.
I practice the art of repression.
Yes, it’s an art, and it takes years to master. That being said, I’m not proud of my maladaptive coping strategies, in fact they are the reason I sit before you at this computer tonight with my leg jiggling and my mind racing. When presented with stress I internalize it to it’s fullest and it hides in the dusty corner by the caged beast, seeping into the gooey fibers of my brain, waiting to wreck havoc on my physical self.
All of my panic attacks and lesser anxiety attacks have stemmed from a reason, I’ve come to learn this. For example, they happen around the same time every four months: when a new semester is starting.
They’ve been with me since I got off Lexapro and they’ve developed a pattern of hitting me the week before a new semester. Just the other day I was wondering when I was going to get hit with heart fluttering panic.
You all know how I am about my health. If you’re just tuning in and haven’t yet experienced the beauty of my health anxiety rants, just know I’m terrified of developing a disease or a sickness that could permanently scar or kill me.
The thing about panic is it makes your heart race. The thing about my heart racing is that I immediately assume something is wrong. Did the heart racing start before the anxiety or did the anxiety cause the increase in heart rate? The line gets blurry even though I’m 95% sure the anxiety came first. It’s been building up and building up and I’ve been shoving it down and shoving it down.
I do have a slightly faster heart rate than others (just natural, I assume, plus I need to exercise more) and it picks up the pace at the slightest hint of anxiety, and if I take a shower when I’m anxious and steam up the room it beats faster. Then when I sit down, I feel like it skips a beat and that makes me even more nervous: your heart skipping a beat because you change positions is not exactly a good sign. Fluctuations in blood pressure and heart valve functioning should go relatively smooth, smoother than that at at least. Maybe it’s normal, I don’t know. I’d like to talk to a physician about it. Just on the off chance: anyone else experience that?
I never have chest pains or shortness of breath. Even if I am hit with a hard panic attack, I’m never in any kind of pain. It only happens once or twice every three or four months, and because I’m prone to high anxiety that can sometimes hit out of nowhere, because I’ve never had a problem with my heart growing up, because it didn’t ever show inconsistency when it was racing at 164 beats per minute in the hospital, I’m really inclined to believe my anxiety has a lot to do with this.
Regardless of the fact, those little incidents increase my anxiety. Ever since it happened today, my anxiety level has been through the roof. I have to keep moving, keep thinking, or else I focus on my heart beat.
The funny thing is, it only ever seems to go fast or skip a beat when I pay attention to it. How much of what I experience is reality and how much of it is induced? That’s a constant question that ravages my mind.
I’ve also developed a cold. This is not a good night.
So I breathe. I practice the breathing techniques and I divert my mind away from my physical self. I grab my mental magnifying glass and fly over my cortex searching for clues. What brought out the anxiety? Is that why my mind was attacked by a conglomeration of dreams last night?
One thing came to mind:
Like I said, it happens ever four months. I’m worried they’re not going to give me my money because of how much I fucked up last semester. I’m worried about keeping up with my work this time. I found out I’d only signed up for 11 units when I thought I had 12 (that’s a full-time student), so I had to sign up for another class, which is a Health Services class about street and prescription drugs and their effects on the body, the organs, mental health and emotional health. It sounded interesting so I signed up. I hate doing things quickly. I hate not being able to research the professor and the class and having to do things last minute. That’s stressful.
It’s in HW2000, room 2214.
I have no idea where that is. There is HW1 and HW2. I’m assuming by “2” they mean “2000” building. They’re not very specific. That stresses me out.
I don’t have a job or money to pay for my books if they don’t give me my financial aid. That stresses me out.
I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to over the break. That stresses me out.
How do I calculate where my anxiety comes from? The level of leg shake I get in relation to thinking about certain topics. My body and I have a system. It’s a master at it and I’m still learning. Judging by the shake of my leg, school is the culprit at the moment.
On top of that, I hate how useless I’ve been feeling and how tired of dealing with all this shit I am. I hate that I can’t sleep at night or wake up in time to go outside in the sun. I hate that I keep clenching my teeth (another sign of my repressed anxieties).
As much as I love being abnormal, I hate how much stress that puts on life. I hate that I can’t get through the day like the average person and I hate how I feel sick and fatigued even though I’m a generally healthy (I fucking hope) 20 year old.
All these things I tell myself not to think about will, inevitably, be thought about, either in a form of a mental thought or the form of physical repercussions. Where can you shove a thought? It has nowhere to go. It doesn’t spill out of your ear as much as you’d like it to. It seeps into your muscles and your brain and your fingers and it travels through your Central Nervous System until you burn it’s energy in some manner.
Plus my sinuses feel like someone’s stuffed super glue in them.
So I give thanks to the opportunity to write this out and put it in front of my eyes and make me feel what I try so desperately not to feel.
Except the sinuses. That could kindly go away.
90% of the time there’s a reason for anxiety. It’s there so your body can speak to you. It doesn’t speak English, it speaks cells and physical sensations. You have to learn to be bilingual.
Right now it’s telling me I still haven’t developed the proper techniques to handle my stress. I respect what it tells me and I listen to what it tells me.
It’s one of the reasons I quit medication. With me, it put up a blockade between myself and my body. How am I supposed to know what I need to work on if my body is prevented from telling me?
I’ll tell you right now: it’s amazing how much better I feel just reading these words to myself.