Taking the Scenic Route

Hiya friends, welcome back. It’s about 10:30 pm, and I am just now getting around to writing this post. I found myself quite busy throughout the day, between the housewife duties, and prepping for next term.

Check insI guess, the smart way to do this from now on is to just jump into my day. The first good thing I can report is that I had no anxiety last night, I actually fell asleep rather early (1:30am is early, no matter how you look at it). I woke up and did the usual mini check in with myself. In case you’re wondering what a check-in is, let me explain. Within the first couple of minutes after my eyes pop open in the morning, I take a couple seconds to take a mental inventory. I’m basically just seeing where I am along my scale. In all honesty, I try not to spend any more than a minute doing this, only because it can lead to jumping numbers. Example: I wake up at a lovely four, and then spend too long taking inventory and the next thing I know, the Asshole shows up and starts his “Greatest Hits” playlist, and hello ten.

After the check-in, I just went about my usual morning routine. Ya know, get dressed, take the dog out, brush teeth, double check that I gave the cat his insulin..etc. There was a little hiccup when I realized we didn’t have a lemon for the marinade for dinner. Now, I knew last night we didn’t have a lemon and that Hobbs was going to grab one on his lunch and drop it off to me. This tiny fact did not stop Asshole from popping up with hisAnxiety Girl two cents, “What if he doesn’t remember, and doesn’t bring one, then there is no marinade, which means no dinner, which means Hobbs will have blood sugar issues all night, which means he could end up in the hospital…” Logically, I know this isn’t the natural progression of things. IF he did forget, I would have just made an adjustment to dinner and we both would have eaten, no big deal. One of the fun things about anxiety is Spock (geek hint: Spock is highly logical) plays no role in it. I am constantly thinking worst case scenario. It’s pretty safe to say I’m who you want on your apocalypse team; I will make sure you are prepared for everything.

The hiccup didn’t last long and pretty soon I was well into my day with no blips on the radar. I got my lemon and prepped dinner (which, in the end, was delicious), cleaned and had a long and lovely catch up with my best friend who currently lives across the country. All in all, my day was pretty good, and I’m thankful for it. I can only hope tomorrow goes just as well, but if it doesn’t I’ll find a way to push through and you guys will get to hear all about it.

Speaking of pushing through (oh, that segue was seamless), that’s the other thing I wanted to write about today. After I was diagnosed I got told to push through the anxiety A LOT, usually by people who had no clue that sometimes that’s just not a fucking option. Family and friends, well the ones who knew, would constantly say, “It’ll only get worse if you don’t push back,” which again is a fairly logical idea. To be fair, my issue wasn’t with their logic, it was more the fact that they had no idea what was happening inside my brain. I said yesterday that the early days of my anxiety were terrible, my brain was whirring with these horrible things. I would try and push through so no one knew what was happening. One of the better examples I have is about a particularly grueling trip to WalMart. I smiled the whole fucking way through that store, but in reality, my brain was constantly searching for the closest exit, just in case something happened and we needed to get out. Then there was the night at Olive Garden where I sat in the car while my family stuffed their faces full of delicious breadsticks and salad, simply because the thought of stepping foot in the restaurant caused my stomach to audition for the Olympic gymnastics team.

I guess, what I’m getting at is, sometimes it’s not possible to just “push through.” Sometimes the only way to survive with your sanity intact is to run the fuck away as fast as you can. In the beginning, no one ever told me that running away was okay. I thought that if I couldn’t push through I was somehow failing at having anxiety. I had a doctor once parrot that stupid fucking quote (and I love me some Robert Frost), “the best way out is always through.” Fuck, that annoyed me. I remember thinking, “Easy for you to say, Doctor Jackass. You’re not the one in physical pain because your brain is a giant asshole (see, told you he named himself).”

Not OkayIt would have been so helpful to hear just one person say that it was okay if I couldn’t always push through. Sometimes, you just need to live in that feeling for a little while, and that’s okay. Sometimes, you have to retreat inside and engage in mental martial arts with an asshole, and that’s okay. So, I’m going to tell you – the person who can’t just “go through” – what I wish someone would have said to me seven years ago: if you can’t push through today, it does not mean you have failed yourself. Sometimes, you have to take the scenic route to get to the other side, and sometimes…that’s where the prettiest flowers grow. Sometimes, pushing through looks less like smiling through the agony and more like continuously waking up to fight the same battle every day with a tear-stained face. Mental health/illness is not a one size fits all thing, we all have a different journey to take to find the happiness again. I used to think that I was failing, but now I see what I’m really doing – I’m finding my strength through the struggle.

Welp, that’s all I have to say, I think. I mean, I could say more but there’s still like 28 posts to write for the month. It’s been a few days now, I’m sure you guys know what’s coming next. Below are the numbers for the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

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