This isn’t a political soap-box, it’s a blog on mental health and this was supposed to be a post on anxiety. Politics and anxiety just so happen to have the misfortune of colluding with one another today.
The last week and a half have been rough. I’d been doing so well for continuous, vibrant, healthy months with all elements of my illnesses and their respective triggers in check, and well-managed. That’s not to say I didn’t have an occasional off day, but it was pretty smooth sailing. Then something hit me. It crept up at first building its momentum, to which I admittedly turned a bit of a blind eye to because I thought I had it handled. But it continued to build and grow as I carried on with a little voice in the back of my head telling me something was off. I can’t totally fault myself because as well as I think I may know myself and my illness, sometimes I still have to get burned to learn.
Finally it all came at me at mach speed last Monday manifesting itself in the form of some pretty raging anxiety. I woke up early way before my alarm, I immediately began feeling the stress in my mind, body and emotions. I felt panic in my chest, I was hyperventilating which worked its way into tears. My mind and heart were racing, I couldn’t think straight, and I couldn’t control any of it. I felt so helpless and scared.
I’m cognizant enough of myself to know that once I’d understood the trigger in this instance, everything I was feeling was mostly irrational. I knew exactly what was going on underneath all these symptoms. I’d been there too many times to not be able to intellectualize the process. Most importantly I realized the trigger this time just so happened to awaken some deeply rooted fears that were being brought to the surface by this situation, and it was time for me to confront them. This was clearly a call to action. Still, I couldn’t make the anxiety stop. It felt so real, and at the same time I knew better than it.
I can’t explain how anxiety works in the brain and the body. I can tell you it’s all-consuming, terrifying, and incredibly stressful on your mind, body, and emotions. Thankfully I’d realized this was a challenge for me to go deeper within myself, and heal whatever shit was currently being dug up. I was able to see the blessing in disguise, so I relinquished myself to the process and hoped it wouldn’t absorb too much of my life. I also took as many pro-active steps and measures as I could that I know personally work for me in my times of need, to try and aid in the healing process. I may have spent a lot of time lying on the floor, but you can’t say I took this one lying down.
I have spent a lot of time on the floor lately, I find it grounding. Bed, when I’m not feeling well, sometimes just exacerbates things. I may not be able to go out for a run, but the least I can do is roll out of bed, cocoon myself in a massive blanket, and try my hardest to breathe, meditate, remind myself that this is only temporary, and it’s part of my process. I culled a massive amount of personal growth out of this experience, and I’m proud to say that now that I’m on the other side of it.
Even with the silver lining to it, it took about 8 days of me riding the wave to fully pull through, get my life back on track and myself back in order. I missed some work, I had to spend some money to get specific care I needed, I lost some productivity, I lost some time. These are all things I’ve conceded to long ago, and I’m happy to in exchange for having a grip on things again. Yesterday was my first good day, uninterrupted by symptoms.
So here we are, post-election day. I got one day to feel like a proper human being again. And I was still nervous as hell all day over the potential outcome of the election, but I still felt pretty decent. I don’t think I’ll ever forget last night. I’m not going to say that today I’m anxious, nor am I going to say I’m depressed over the way it turned out. Sad, disappointed, dismayed, disheartened, scared, shocked, baffled, speechless, amongst many other sentiments. Not speechless enough however, to at least be able to say that this election is also clearly a call to action.
It’s time for us to accept this as a challenge to go deeper within ourselves and with each other, to ride this wave, and allow it to help us grow. We should not concede to the implications of the outcome of this election, we should allow it to motivate us in whatever way we can to take a stand, be a catalyst for positive change, and let politicians (who often seem to share a lot of parallels with mental illness) know that we won’t take this lying down. It might get ugly for a while but as long as we keep pressing on knowing this is only temporary, I believe we as a country have what it takes to unite over such grievous circumstances and pull though this together with a positive outcome on the other side. Find faith in the part of humanity with which you can relate, and never give up on yourselves or each other no matter what stands in front of us, we’re all all we’ve got. America can get a grip on itself again.
Peace, love, and wellness.