Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Checking In

I don't feel like I have much to say right now, but that never stopped me before! The medication I'm on is starting to balance out though, so I wanted to take a minute and share how I'm doing. 

I spent a few days being so amped up that I only slept about three hours a night, my appetite is noticeably reduced, at first from waves of nausea and then just kind of gone, and I still feel jittery as all get out with lots of little uncomfortable twitches and tremors. My head seems fogged over, which is in part why I haven't been crawling out of bed early enough to workout or write for the last six days. Even when I was sick to my guts, not sleeping and felt like I was on hardcore drugs though, I felt guilty for not sticking to the things I vowed to do, largely my writing and workouts. 

All of these side effects have gotten a little better each day, as the doctor who prescribed them said they should, although there were a couple days when I really wanted to stop taking them because all of my fears about feeling drug addled were coming true- I'm not exactly a man who's lousy with faith in a lot of things, but I took a leap and stuck with it. Every day after the first three, the side effects seemed to get less severe. Once the haze started to become less overwhelming, I noticed that there was an emotional fragility that has been reinforced into something more structurally sound. I hadn't felt this grounded since before the panic attack that led to this course of action and even that was a false, temporary strength that I put on before work and was crushed by each night. The anxiety is still very present, but I'm better equipped to deal with it and I hope that things keep getting better day by day. It's still hard to feel comfortable in my own skin right now, especially with the shakes. I really don't want to be around people until I get a better grasp on this which has made group therapy session an interesting experience of forced vulnerability.

In fact, I felt at my worst the night before my sister's birthday gathering and I let her know that I didn't think I was going to make it. I felt lousy bowing out on her 30th. It was really hard not to just force myself into going. I was playing psychologist in my head, arguing either side of what I should do for most of the night leading up to her party. You see, for me, there is no right answer- that's where a good portion of my anxiety cycle starts. Whether I should put my needs before another, his needs before hers, the business before the staff I lead, my relationship needs with my fiancee, my son, my family. I let the ghosts of choices I didn't make haunt my conscience relentlessly, filling me with a guilt that erodes my self worth into nothing because I've convinced myself that I should be able to reach some version of being that is evolving closer towards perfection than my physical self is capable of catching.

I eventually told myself that I wasn't going to be up to meeting a bunch of new people when I didn't feel like myself. Then things got interesting. Instead of sitting at home miserable like I had been doing for the 24 hours prior, I recognized that I needed a distraction. I assessed my limits and concluded that even though I was ditching out on my sister's birthday, which I still feel awful for, even writing about it now, that I wouldn't hold myself prisoner to the guilt. I knew that I needed to get out and do something, I was going stir crazy. I asked my fiancee if she wanted to go see a movie. We went to see "Let's Be Cops" which was pretty hilarious and I actually engaged in the movie, laughing out loud. Considering that I had spent the last day before that moment jumping from one household distraction to another, awake for almost 48 hours straight save a three hour break, jumping from fidgeting with video games to TV to both, to shitty movies, to trying to write even though I knew I didn't feel up to it, just spinning on a hamster wheel not comfortable in my skin or knowing what to do with myself- considering all that, it was a shock to me how much enjoyment I got out of my little date night with my fiancee. 

I was still a wreck until the movie theater lights turned completely down, afraid that every person who walked into the theater would be somebody I knew, who would spread word that I was actually out doing something enjoyable when I should be at home wallowing in shame and flogging the guilt out of me or some such ridiculous thing like that. 

After the movie was over, I was feeling so released from my misery that I accepted my fiancee's offer to go to my favorite restaurant for dinner. I felt more present and engaged with her than I have for a while now. I'd been so trapped inside myself that it wasn't until we sat down and started talking that I recognized how much I missed her company in that setting, how much I was neglecting to lean into her for real emotional companionship. 

Another interesting side note, for the first time at that restaurant (or any others for that matter), I didn't take it as an opportunity to gorge myself. I ordered less and had leftovers- which may not seem like that big a deal to you, but I haven't left a plate uncleared out of principal since 1987, so it stood out to me as strange when I was okay with sliding it into a box for the next day. The evening left me completely sated, comfortable with what being alive provided me that day.

I've been trying to apply that to writing because I know a huge point of internal friction for me is how the other enjoyable or necessary parts of my life have been shadowed in the guilt of not being aligned with what I feel my calling is, but so far I still feel pretty terrible about that.

If all goes well, I will be posting less frequently here for a little while. I need to get to work on some of my bigger projects so that by  the end of this time away from work I have something lucrative to show for it and that may mean breaking my standing date with you guys, who have been another great emotional support for me- one that's been kind of hard to let go. Just knowing that you guys are out there, caring enough to check in with me, hearing the kind feedback you've provided, has been a great value towards regaining my balance and I thank you for it. You've given me a place to feel safe and responsible to the thing I want to do with the rest of my life, however long that is. That's an immeasurable courtesy. Thank you and I'll see you soon.

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