I’ll admit it hasn’t been the best couple of week for me and my ol’ mate Bruce (ref: named my anxiety Bruce. I’ve also decided he may very well have tentacles. Is Bruce an octopus? Seems that is a decided possibility…)
I have been struggling under a massive cloud of mental sass-mouth in my work place. The reasons are long and varied but come down to office politics and my extreme social anxiety wreaking havoc on my daily productivity.
I want so much to write about all the things; the stress, the guilt, Bruce and my total lack of ability to get a firm grip on the cliff face of sanity, my hands are sweaty and my nails are filled with grass and dirt and there may be some worm guts in there somewhere. Alas as I have previously mentioned the catch 22 of wanting to write about anxiety is that daily anxiety gets in the goddamn way of wanting to out his naughty activities rampant in my mind.
Today I will work to rediscover my rhythm by explaining an oldy but a goody, my theory of ‘accepting it’s going to be a bit of a shitter’. while trying to find an answer to my haze I’ve been mulling over my lack of patience and how that affects my management abilities and feeds my anxiety. The more uncomfortable I feel the more uphill the struggle feels to regain some kind of ease. The twitch in my muscles leads to hyper vigilance which lingers on crisis when faced with a decision as simple as ‘do I buy one coke or a box of cokes?’. Yesterday that very choice found me practically in tears on the supermarket aisle because I couldn’t accept spending $4 on one coke rather than $40 on enough for a month but couldn’t carry two boxes alone. The stress of a good deal, I guess that’s how hoarders get started.
Of course the coke is in no way the point.
This month I have spent my days swimming manically against the swarm of feelings of (perceived) persecution, unpopularity and general social disregard. All of which end up in my complete mental exhaustion. In addition to or possibly because of my Bruce-symptoms I’ve been sick with a chest cold, headaches and physical yuckness for what feels like forever (*shakes fist at the sky and yells DAMN YOU WINTER!)
So yesterday when my lovely counsellor said ‘I know this sounds like a cop-out but have you thought perhaps you might just ride it out?’ I realised how right she was but that sometimes I just need reminding of it.
This theory goes back to the very horrid time when I had to deal with a whole shitter of family death, injury and tragic too-muchness. On coping with grief I noticed that what it actually felt like is nothing like what I had read or expected from various after school specials and moving episodes of Home and Away. I tried to drive out my grief but that didn’t work. I tried to fuck away my grief (Ala Peaches) but that didn’t work. I tried to find spiritual enlightenment but that obviously didn’t work. Nothing really worked until I decided to lay back and let the tide take me away. Whoa whoa whoa, I’m not advocating giving up. I’m just saying sometimes it’s ok to accept that one way or another it’s going to suck balls and there isn’t really anything you can do about that. I came up with the idea that even on my worst days there were still tiny basics of life I could count on to make me feel even the minutest bit better. My list contained;
Cheese or anything with cheese on it. Cheese never fails to make me a little bit happy.
My snuggliest blanket.
Bed and sleeping.
Watching shitty TV like Friends and other light hearted comedy.
Buying a diet coke. A little luxury which made me feel adult and prosperous in the face of no control whatsoever.
The reminder I gained from my chat yesterday with my health care professional assistant (how many clever ways can I name but un-name my therapy team? Challenge accepted!) was that ‘sometimes thing are shit. Accept that it is shit but that things have been shit before and have gotten better. Focus on the bits that are not shit and let the shit bits be shitty and lie there being shitty but don’t look at them and just go about your business. Pay closer attention to the things that are not shit and that make you happy even just a little bit.’
This is pretty much the Lucy equivalent of getting caught in an emotional rip (like in the sea) and not fighting it because the exhaustion from fighting the rip is what will kill you rather than drowning. Like the ads 1980’s TV ads show during the summer here in New Zealand.
I plan to lie back and let the shitter tide take me and just look up at the sunshine until it passes. Then I can merrily doggy paddle back to the beach and go home to my happy westie pad filled with cuddly furry things and drink a glass of wine on my sofa.