My anxiety has been worse lately. I’m not exactly sure why. My husband thinks it could be just a release of emotion. He says that because I’ve been operating in “emergency mode” for a while now that my brain was basically just shutting shit off. And now that things are returning to a bit of normalcy that my brain feels like it’s safe to stop ignoring some of its strongest impulses.
That makes sense to me. Doesn’t change that things are sucking right now, though.
I’ve had three panic attacks in four days and my “day off” wasn’t a trip to Disneyland. Some attacks I can classify as minor but the one I had on Friday was a fucking volcanic eruption of panic, anxiety, anger and depression. Every single ounce of control that I normally grab onto out of sheer fear absolutely left me. Impulses raged like I haven’t felt in years and echoes in my head of conversations past worked at chipping away my self-made esteem.
Life right now could be much harder, I one hundred percent get that. I just had a close friend lose a parent, a past work colleague is in the process of losing one as well and my very best friend in the world is also going through a lot of family health issues. There are a butt-load of things that could’ve gone much worse but it’s possible that I’m finding out my brain can only process a certain number of calls to the paramedics within a certain period of time.
Anyway, I’m not really looking to talk too much about that. More than anything, I don’t want people 1) feeling sorry for me or 2) thinking I want people to feel sorry for me. Pity isn’t something I’m comfortable with. I’m not honestly sure what I am wanting to talk about right now. I know that there are words inside of me looking to get out, I know that. And I know that I’m hoping something that I put on this page is something that someone else will read and find help in, even if it’s simply being able to say, “I am not alone.”
I know that I developed impulses as a kid that I hid from everyone I knew that helped me cope with my pain. And I also know that when I dabbled in suicidal thoughts at that same age, I decided that I was just being a trendy adolescent and that there was nothing I really needed to worry about despite these other impulses that were very real and that I was very much acting on.
I know that these impulses got stronger as I got older and that the first time I ever had a witness, it became an indelible and scary memory — for both of us, I imagine. I know that I’ve worked very hard to not give in to these impulses but I also know that there are people incredibly close to me that I’ve never shared them with and that when I made the very adult decision to see a psychiatrist that I never mentioned this to her whatsoever.
Part of me is ashamed, I know that. Part of me doesn’t want to worry loved ones, that’s for sure. Part of me truly thinks that my problem isn’t important enough to mention to a doctor. And the rest of me can’t quite make my square peg fit into the round hole that is self-harm, even though I’m guessing the pegs are squishy and foamy and can be successfully molded into many shapes.
My husband and I screwed up after our wedding and so I haven’t had health insurance these past six months but that will be changing next month. So, I’m hoping that I can start healing again once June starts. So, you know, Wednesday.
I realize how greatly my life has been affected by this, and not just my past life but my future. These problems of mine are one of the reasons why, despite loving the shit out of all the kids close to me, I’ve set the idea of children to the side. I know so much of what plagues me is something other people in my family have dealt with and I just can’t seem to make myself okay with tempting fate and making a child of mine feel like this. The idea that my son or daughter would cry themselves to sleep at night without knowing the reason why, devastates me. The idea that they would think they were worthless even once, let alone on a regular basis is one of those things that I can’t seem to get past.
In a lot of respects, I feel like the best way for me to be a mother is to make sure that I don’t pass this on. I feel like these potential children of mine don’t deserve to live a life plagued with pain and fear.
And all of that is just based on what’s going on in their own heads. Add on top of that the stigma from the world about mental illness and it just seems like the best thing I can do for my kids is to not have them. I don’t wish this on anyone else, let alone the very people that I would love most in life.
And, yes, the stigma is getting better. Much better. But it’s still there. There are still memories I have of a friend telling me that I was foolish for deciding to go to a psychiatrist because he followed the Tom Cruise method of health care. At my lowest points, my brain still loops through a conversation about suicide I had once where I was told in no uncertain terms how selfish I was for even thinking about the topic and that anyone who considers this doesn’t deserve the life they have. This conversation actually played very heavily in my thought process this past Friday and despite the fact that I know I shouldn’t, the words still echo in my head and try to convince me that they’re true. That even though I was reaching out for help, I somehow don’t deserve to live.
I don’t want to be the reason that anyone is ever told these words. I don’t want to have the power to prevent this pain and then not use it because of some societal rule that married people should procreate or even because of some desire I have to see if my kids would be the kindest, funniest, most creative kids in the world as I think they would probably be (just based on how awesome my husband and I are).
I feel like the responsible thing for me (and just for me, I don’t know anyone else the way I know myself) is for me to stop my cycle here. I think I would be a good mom and I think this decision sort of solidifies that. And I think that somewhere inside of me, I’ve always known this was how it was going to be. And that’s why I’ve spent my entire life channeling my voice as a writer, to give anything of myself that might be worth anything to the world.
And I know this might sound pompous, like I’m saying the world would benefit from my wisdom and compassion but in some respects, I’m just proud of myself that I can say that statement with a straight face. At my darkest moments, I taunt myself by repeating that I don’t deserve to be alive but if I can say that the world is a better place with me in it then maybe irreparable damage hasn’t been done. Maybe it’s still possible for me to not let this disease win and to be in more control of the voice inside my head.
My husband and I have always said that if we get any surprises, we’re just going to go with it. That if fate determines things that we weren’t setting out to do or be, that we’d trust in fate and embrace our new roles happily. And that’s still true. Neither of us is a baby, though, so I don’t really know what those chances are especially without trying but I’m still bleeding annoyingly once a month so game is still technically on.
In conclusion, I have no idea if anything I said here means anything to anyone. I have no clue if my words or thoughts can help anyone else in a similar situation or position. But I do know that if you’re reading this and anything I said sounds familiar to you, that you’re not alone. I know that it might feel that way but you have a friend out there in me. I know some of what you’re feeling and above all, I know the struggle you go through every goddamn day. And I know something else. I know that you deserve to be happy. I know that no matter what goes through your head that you shouldn’t be punished for being in pain. And I know that you want help, even if the idea of help scares you in every fiber of your being.
So, please keep asking for help, if you can. From friends, from family, from clergy or a hotline. Or me. Just keep asking. Because you are not your worst fears. You are not the thoughts that creep into your head at night. You are not nothing. You are amazing and special and unique. And the world deserves a chance to get to know you and maybe, just maybe, be changed for the better just by you being a part of it.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: