Earlier tonight I felt like I was choking on my own uvula. I started scratching myself, as I’m prone to do when a panic attack is coming on. I’m supposed to use a squeezy brain thingy that my therapist gave me, but it was nowhere within sight. It is to keep me from scratching, but I’m fairly certain it will result in me having the firmest handshake anyone has ever felt, and the ability to crimp climb a 5.14 rock wall. Basically, anxiety is making me a super hero.
My thoughts keep circling downward and all I could think about was how everything in my relationship was over. Was this a rational thought? No. It stemmed from a text not being answered by my partner. But from that my mind jumped straight into my own feelings of worthlessness. How he must be sitting with his normal friends and realizing how miserable he is with me and how he can finally breathe again, now that he is free of me. His friends must be telling him to run and get the hell away from me, because why would anyone shackle themselves to someone like me? That must be why he wasn’t answering. And all of this seemed logical, because I don’t even want to be around my thoughts, why would anyone else?
It spiraled deeper into feelings of worthlessness and I began to panic even more. I tried to shower to distract myself, but I couldn’t shake the feeling and I kept checking my phone. Still no answer, but the text had been read. Which, people with anxiety will recognize, is a special kind of hell. When you top it off with the lead weighted cherry that is depression… it feels unbearable.
That’s when my urge to flee kicked in. Whenever things get bad, I always want to flee. In the past, whenever I got depressed and anxious, I would move and try and start over again. Since getting sick, I have been forced to stay in one place for longer periods, and stick things out. Moving to California to get better healthcare has been my first move since 2010.
But I can’t flee. Even if things do turn out horrible, and the man I want to spend the rest of my life with does decide to leave me… my healthcare is here. I can’t leave. So, I have to adapt.
The anxiety was getting unbearable and it felt like fire ants were having a freaking picnic underneath my skin, perhaps pouring prosecco to add to the dysphoria bubbling beneath my dermis. If I could, in moments like these, I would tear my skin off and run off, a dancing skeleton, and happy for it.
I decided to try and do something about it. I squeezed some watercolors out on my palette and turned on American Dad in the background. Let us say a quick prayer for all of the adult comedy cartoons and the relief they can bring in moments of distress. Amen.
I sketched out a quick Weedy Sea Dragon from a picture that Ben had taken during my birthday trip to the California Academy of Sciences and then I just started smattering colors all over it. Normally I use reference photos. But my anxiety was just so high that I had to keep my attention on the colors I wanted to use instead of going for perfection. I finished it off by spraying some of my favorite blue shades onto the page, as well as on my comforter, since I was painting in bed. I may end up auctioning off my blanket in a few months. It is art.
I was pleased with how my little Phyllopteryx turned out(yeah, y’all just got scienced. Welcome to the Genus of sea dragons. Now you can say you’ve learned something from reading this post). And it is good to feel a positive feeling amidst the sea of nausea and terror. It is Fezzik’s strong arm pulling you, Buttercup, out of the sea of shrieking eels. Yeah, you’re still tossed onto the deck of a boat full of knaves, heading away from safety. But at least some nasty ass sea serpent isn’t going to slurp you down. And honestly, sometimes that is all we can hope for.
After setting the painting down, I felt proud. I felt like I had worth again. I decided to call him, since it was late at night and see just what the heck in a handbasket was going on. Upon picking up, he sounded short to me on the phone and slightly irritated that I had called. I quickly found the quickest way to exit that phone call and decided it best to wait until he got home to talk. It didn’t seem fair to ruin his evening fun with my anxiety and I sure as hell didn’t want to have any sort of conversation about my worries over the phone.
Now, fellow anxiety sisters and brothers, I am sure you know this well… reading the tone of a voice and probing the depths of it for extra meaning… I couldn’t tell if this was my anxiety or if he actually was actually irritated. But there was no I love you at the end of that conversation, so naturally a headsman was coming for me when he came home… because there is not middle-ground in my existence. Just everything is good or I am in the court of Henry the VIII.
This is why it is necessary for me to keep an open conversation with the people I care about in my life. Those who do not… those relationships do not thrive, and rarely survive. When he gets home, I will ask him what his tone meant and if he is upset with me. I will ask why he didn’t answer my text messages and explain to him that when that happens it makes me feel like I am being rejected and not worth taking a few seconds to answer. Most importantly, I will listen. I want to make certain that I am being fair during all of this and not taking too much from my partner. I want it to be give and take with us.
Right now, I feel scared and alone and certain that my world is crumbling down around me. I can’t help that I feel this way right now. I would be asking too much of myself to just “not feel this way” and anyone who asked that of me can go piss into the sea on an onshore day. I don’t have the tools to change the way my brain processes the world around it. I’m already doing the best that I can, every day. All I can do is use the tools I do have to try and cope until I am in a better place. I will keep painting and hope for that better place.
Hope you all are still out there, creating and getting through till the next day.