Hiya friends, welcome back. So, here it is, my first real post documenting my month for you. The way this has to work, as I’m writing in real time, is that my posts will be a day behind essentially, I hope that makes sense. For example, I’m writing this on May 1st, and it’ll go up on May 2nd. I’m sure as we progress through the month, it’ll become easier to understand.
The easiest way for me to explain what I go through to you, is to use the same explanation I give my family and friends who don’t understand how my anxiety works. I use a scale system, so for example on a typical day, my anxiety is humming in the background at about a four – maybe five – which means this is my “normal.” Really though, all this means is my brain isn’t conspiring against me constantly throughout the day, it’s a manageable annoyance. On a day where my anxiety is particularly terrible, I’ll be at a ten as soon as I wake up. When this happens I know it’s going to be a shitty day, and I’m going to be lucky to accomplish anything at all. During the bad days, just getting out of bed becomes my gold star moment.
The next thing we should cover really quickly is how I refer to my anxiety. I’m a writer, so I tend to personify things, needless to say, my anxiety is no different. His name is Asshole. Not my most original name, I know, but it’s fitting and honestly, I think he named himself. He is an asshole, and there are times that I absolutely loathe the sight of him, but in the clear light of day, I am often reminded that it’s my fucking brain that created this asshole.
Okay, I’ve procrastinated enough, let’s do this. I guess I have to start with last night because that’s when shit went down. One of the things I’m very aware of is how my anatomy impacts my anxiety. I’m not mincing words here, so fuck it. When my period is impending it seems that Asshole goes off the fucking rails. Here we are (quick consult of the handy app) 4 days out from my period and I was pretty anxious last night and this morning. On the scale, I was about an eight. I tend to sort of struggle once I hit anywhere above my “norm,” the only thing that changes is how I struggle. Sometimes, it’s as simple as I just need a reset. In those times I curl up with a book or on the couch and just let the feelings pass. Thankfully, this is how my day went today. I just sat here at my computer, binge-watched some YouTube (currently watching a documentary by Stephen Fry about his Bipolarity, which I highly recommend!), worked on homework, and threw myself into writing this. Within about two hours of waking up, I could feel the Asshole backing up a little. My brain slowly came back to being mine, and the other shitty symptoms just let go. Don’t get me wrong, this is not the usual way things happen for me. I think, sometimes I just find my rhythm quicker. That’s also not to say that my anxiety and panic isn’t happening at all now. I still feel off, but I can manage it and work through it.
Now, with that out of the way, I wanted to talk about this idea that as a society we can believe that someone has diabetes, even though we can’t actually see it, right? It’s a physical ailment, they have a sick body. But we cannot fathom that someone could potentially have a sick brain?
I mean, Hobbs has Type 1 Diabetes and the only way people would know is if you notice the thin tubing running from his pump to his pocket, or if you shake his hand and see the tattoo he sports in place of jewelry. My issue is that while you can’t actually see his illness, he has absolutely no problem telling people that he’s diabetic. Funnily enough, the one thing I’ve never seen happen, is someone tell him that he doesn’t have this particular illness, or someone say that he just needs to get over it. Cut to someone asking me why I ran out of a busy store, or why I left a party, and me saying that I have an anxiety and it was just too much so I needed to leave. Wanna know what I hear a lot? “Oh, no you don’t.” “That’s all in your mind.” “Just relax and it’ll go away.” (No shit it’s in my mind, hence why it’s called a mental illness.)
Why is it so hard for people to believe it when someone says that they have a mental illness? Is it just the fact that they can’t see it? I will say I try my damndest not to let it get to me, but I’d be lying if I said it never did. I live with this thing that affects my life. Every. Single. Day. Mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s real and people every day are dealing with these unseen problems. Here’s a pro tip for you: never judge someone because you never know what they’re dealing with.
And that’s the end of my time today, folks. As usual, there are two numbers at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline. I’d say until next time, but really I’ll be back tomorrow.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)