Hello friends. Lately I've been in a panic. I feel like I'm losing myself, fighting myself, and spiraling into a craze. I can't seem to shake this horrible feeling, so I want to talk about it.
Although my blog is on the internet, I created it to be my safe place--a place to keep track of my mental health and my overall growth as a human being. Usually upon writing a post about my mental health, I feel revitalized and, I don't know, more normal. Not that mental disorders don't make a person normal, but with at least four disorders tied together, I can confirm that sometimes disorders make me feel alone and crazed.
My cousin Sonny was just telling me about how interesting he finds it that I write in such a lucid fashion. I write in a stream-of-consciousness type of feel, and that's because I literally sit and write everything down, basically as they come to mind. Like a journal or diary. That's what my blog was intended to be--a place where I can be real and where I can express my thoughts and feelings. So, while I'm in this funk, I want to talk. I want to be open about how I feel like my anxiety is suffocating me lately. Yes, it might sound dramatic. But it's how I feel right in this moment.
I already feel like this post is going to be a little bit everywhere, but let's go through my brain, together. Think of it as a spooky field trip.
For starters, I think it's important to mention that I am someone who needs to feel like I have control over myself and the situation. That's why I don't drink or smoke. I need to feel as in control and aware of myself as possible at all times. I also try to watch what I put in my body and would prefer to not start any dangerous habits. Change of any sort makes me panic. I'm also someone who, if something feels off in my brain, I write it down and immediately talk to someone to ensure I'm not about to go crazy.
It might be weird to some people that I'm so open, but it's how I maintain a comfortable control of myself. I need assurance from others since, as logical as I am in times of worry, my anxiety overturns all sense of logic that I have. And then as I learn and change, I record those thoughts to this here blog. I leave the more detailed fears in a journal, because those are a bit more detailed than I really need to go in this post.
When I used to see a psychiatrist, I always brought in a list so he knew all of my struggles in the months I didn't see him. Writing things down allows me to remember my experiences and feelings throughout the entire month, not just in the few days prior to the appointment. It helps the appointments go further, I find, when you get to the point as detailed as possible. As someone who's always desperate for help and logic, this is the perfect technique for psychology visits.
Speaking of psychologist--I have a new psychologist! The last psychologist I saw was at Dayton Children's for when I was a Sophomore in high school and when I couldn't leave my house for band camp. If you haven't read My Anxiety Story (parts one and two), then you might be confused. Feel free to read up on those if you haven't already. And my psychiatrist at the time was also a child-and-adolescent psychiatrist, so I haven't seen him in two years either. I also haven't been medicated in that time and have overall been fine. Until lately.
For the past few months, I've felt like I've needed to grow. I've been pushing away some people, and inviting others in, others who don't always seem like they want to be in. I have a hard time reading people, quite honestly. It's seemed like I've needed to be alone to grow, so Tyler has been giving me space to breathe. But it's become more than just an I-might-be-changing-and-might-need-space kind of situation. It's become a my-mental-health-is-going-down-the-drain-and-I'm-falling-back-to-my-bed-ridden-days-and-I-don't-like-myself-and-I-feel-unsatisfied-with-my-life-choices-and-I'm-afraid-of-everything kind of situation.
So for starters, I tried to plan out my own self-love guide, if you will, that I'm still trying to follow.
And I do want to talk more in-depth about this game plan, which I most likely will in the next blog post or so. We'll see! But so far, I've had no mental energy to exercise because I keep waking up with panic attacks, I haven't been able to eat well because I was sick a few days ago and my body is still trying to work up an appetite, I am drinking water, I have been trying to remember to take my multi vitamins, I have been trying to draw and paint at least something every day, and the last two bullet points...Oof.
Embrace loneliness. I've been trying to embrace it but it's like, as I've been getting more anxious, two things happen: I want to hide from everyone, but also, I don't. And say "yes", a concept I always stand by. It's seemed impossible to even leave my room. As the days go on, the more panicked I get. I know that I need to love myself first and foremost to truly find happiness, but it's been hard when I wake up and feel defeated every morning, when I feel like I'm losing myself.
So this is the part where I try to explain how I'm feeling and what I'm going through lately, why it's so hard to leave the house. I wrote all of my exact feelings into a notebook, but that took up almost three pages. I can sum it up in one word: depersonalization.
Although I've heard of the word in the past, I've never actively researched depersonalization before. I've experienced derealization in the past, which I spoke about a couple of months ago in my blog post Disorientation & Derealization. But depersonalization is different. And it's uncomfortable and new to me. This is something I briefly texted my psychologist about because I finally found a word that summed up how I'm feeling. On a website called The Anxiety Guy, I saw an article on Depersonalization and Anxiety. In this article, a few of the bullet points perfectly described how my mind is working right now:
"Questioning just about everything, including the reality of the surroundings..."
"Feeling foreign even in places that are familiar or known. People with severe depersonalization may not recognize personal things, their home, or friends, etc."
"Feeling that things which were once important are not significant. Physical or emotional numbing of the responses or senses to the environment, people..."
Now, I'm not trying to diagnose myself, but I can say that these describe how I feel currently, and I will definitely speak with my psychologist about this more because I may need some help in coping with my current anxieties. The website says that depersonalization is stress-induced and caused by overthinking, which is, like, my exact problem. I'm stressed about my changing life and am panicking in the process.
That's what makes going to work so hard. I panic, then accidentally hyperventilate myself, and make myself light-headed every time I go in now. It makes my productivity and my mood get shot down completely.
This depersonalization has also put a damper on something as simple as driving. I usually love driving, especially with it being so nice outside. I can usually just roll the windows down and listen to my Sacred Hearts Club album, jam to some "Pay The Man" and "Static Space Lovers". But lately, I start overthinking how my environment has changed drastically. Literally something as simple as the fact that the trees are all covered in leaves and that the road is surrounded by tall grass that wasn't originally that intense, those factors freak me out into not recognizing my surroundings while I drive. In turn, I start thinking I'm going crazy and feel humiliated every time I try to describe these thoughts to people.
A lot of the ways to relieve depersonalization are based around self-care, according to the basic research that I've done. Even just learning to be okay with the symptoms is a big part of overcoming it, because trying to fight the weirdness only adds to the stress, thus upping the intensity of the symptoms. And that's the step that I'm struggling with the most. I try to be logical in the sense that, "I know which road I'm on" or "I know this is my room I'm in". But my anxiety, as I mentioned earlier, tends to overpower my logic a lot of the time. With that, I also try to control my breathing. Because if I hyperventilate myself then I get dizzy and the depersonalization only gets worse from there.
So back to what I mentioned about needing to feel like I'm in control--I don't feel in control right now. This is why I'm so scared lately.
So I'm going to try to keep on driving out in the unfamiliar-looking roads, saying yes to things that I haven't had much energy to say yes to lately, and try to get my confidence back in the workplace. I want to feel normal again. I want to enjoy being outside again. I want to spend time with the people I love. And that all starts with me.
Let me know if you guys have dealt with some similar challenges in your lives. Thank you all for reading!