Every day this week I've opened up a New Post and stared at its usually inviting blankness. Type something, it says to me. Be funny! Make jokes! Get on with your weird run-on-sentences-all-in-caps-lock self! Hell, even boring is probably fine, just TYPE. SOMETHING.
I still don't have any of that, Internet. I do have a confession, though.
I'm not doing so great. I mean, I AM doing great in all the ways that matter -- healthy, thriving kids, excellent job(s) with the perfect work-at-home setup, a pile of happy-making pets, hot husband who spoils me rotten, etc.
All of which add up to me berating the hell out of myself for still, regardless, in spite of it all, not doing so great.
It's no secret that I've struggled with anxiety (that ebbs and flows in terms of its severity and sources) and depression on and off for a lot of my life, and over the past year I've struggled more and more to get it back under control. The past couple months have been about as bad as it gets, no matter what I've tried.
I got a SAD lamp. I got a bike and a personal trainer. I take Vitamin D and B12. I cut back on caffeine and alcohol and news media consumption. I started CBT with a really great therapist and see her every week. I meditate and visualize and journal and breathe.
And as of this week, I have an actual doctor and a prescription for Ativan, a medication that I'm still not sure if the anxiety-reducing benefits of it will outweigh my general terror of actually taking it.
(Somewhere, in the darkest, dankest corners of my archives is a well-documented cautionary tale about what happens when you mix generalized anxiety and mild depression with a pill-happy psychiatrist who misdiagnosed me and over-prescribed every drug on the planet. A tale I would love to delete entirely but am too traumatized to even bring myself to dig through and read the post titles. It is a glimpse of someone having a complete akathisia breakdown, told day by day by a 20-something blogger who had no idea what was happening to her brain. I will not link to it and instead will link to this much-better written account and say: It Me.)
(I also got my thyroid levels checked and am waiting on those results, but as that seems like way too easy of an answer, I'm fully expecting them to come back and say "yeah no, you're just fat and tired because of regular ol' brain reasons, good luck!")
I do have good days, sometimes a few strung together in a row! Sometimes it's just a matter of avoiding certain triggers. Sometimes the SAD lamp and a bike ride seem to do the trick. I get my work done and walk the dogs and force myself to shower and brush my hair before changing into fresh pajamas.
And then other days I wake up with a swirling cloud of unattached doom, unsure of what I'm even worrying about, until it grows and grows and finally latches onto SOMETHING -- occasionally rational, usually anything but -- and the next thing I know I'm in full fight-or-flight panic attack mode. The attack will pass eventually, leaving me mentally and physically spent for hours and hours, as if I'd spent the night throwing up from a stomach bug rather than lying on the floor hyperventilating over I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT ANYMORE.
Last week we had parent-teacher conferences -- our first of the gauntlet that is middle school and six or seven conferences scheduled back to back. We walked down a hallway where a sixth grade art project was displayed. It was called the "EMO PARADE" The kids were assigned different emotions and told to create an original character for that section of the parade. We stopped and scanned the rows for Noah's contribution.
We found it, under "Sad." He made a Sad Ghost.
Hey, it's me, I thought to myself.
And then I laughed out loud because hey look! I made a joke.