The title made you wince right? Heh, me too. Every time. While it’s from a song by PJ Harvey, whether or not it refers to anything i’m about to touch on would be open to interpretation and debate (which is how she may prefer it). What the lyric is for me, is a very apt description of what anxiety is like.

Ever since putting up this blog, i’ve been experiencing anxiety. The kind of anxiety where describing it to a friend would go like this:

Friend: Are you okay?
Me: Why? What am i doing?
Friend: You seem anxious.
Me: Anxiety?
*eyes bulge*
Do i have anxiety?
*shrill laughter*
Lemme tell ya ’bout anxiety!

As with most intense emotions, i wasn’t initially aware of feeling that way yesterday. I was out of sorts due to an issue in the home, but i knew that would be dealt with later, so i put it away until then. Hey, i can compartmentalise thoughts, feelings, and situations like i used to play that old Hasbro game Perfection – and i could finish that with time left over.

I began to realise something was off when i went to see a friend. I noticed that my thoughts were racing. Now bear in mind that social situations of any kind already cause my thoughts to speed up a fair bit, but this was far worse than usual. She doesn’t make me feel any more uncomfortable than i generally do being around people. In fact, it’s probably less, as i like her and think she’s a nice, kind person. Nevertheless, my thoughts were racing so fast that my conversation with her was zigzagging all over the place, like one of those jerks in rush hour that darts in and out of lanes and never signals.

In the time it took for the man-thingy to pick me up and get me something to eat at a local restaurant, i was utterly out of sorts. I nearly took his head off for no reason. Fortunately someone we know was working there, which kept me from activating beast mode. Instead, i was able to realise i’d gone off the rails somewhere, and i had to figure out where and why.

So here i am today with my answers. It’s the blog, and it’s because as soon as i put it up, i began picking apart ways it could go wrong. Ways that could compromise my pursuit of happiness or otherwise blow up in my face. To avoid that, some parameters seem necessary:

  1. If you’re someone i know, especially locally, know i absolutely will NEVER discuss your personal business, nor will i discuss specifics of our interactions. If we have any issues between us, they’ll never be fodder for this blog. I was never much for gossip, and these days i don’t tolerate it at all. There will be no identifiable details of any kind, ever.
  2. This is my new blog. It is not my old blog. The old blog was a purge, which i’ve now done, and i’ll only refer to it in an ancillary way. It was locked down long ago. I’ve also learned a great deal about my particular mental diagnoses. That, coupled with knowing some of the methods used to cause me harm, has enabled me to sort through what happened. Some i know with surety, some i’m reasonably confident, and some may have been coloured by illness, drugs, terror, or just the way the brain functions with regard to memory. This blog is not that blog.

This morning started with the terrible kind of anxiety that threatens to make you a prisoner of your bed. I woke with a headache, and my face and jaw were on fire, despite the mouth guard i now wear every night. My throat ached as it often does when i’ve spent the night dreaming emotionally charged dreams. I wanted so badly to escape back into the relative unconsciousness of sleep, but i couldn’t. It was the kind of anxiety where, if i’m able to drift back to some sort of almost-asleepness, it won’t last long. There’s this dread that grips me at regular intervals, like a knife in my chest. It causes a painful twinge, my guts to drop, and my head to explode like a piñata full of poisoned candy that i’m helpless to resist eating. It fills me up with terrible scenarios, dozens of what-ifs, all played to terrible conclusions. It holds me tight in its arms and drags me further down into despair.

I’ve fought this closet monster and won though, more than once. So i got my ass out of bed and forced myself to do things i’ve put in place to do when i’m in the grip of anxiety. A set morning routine that quickly affords me a sense of accomplishment and functionality. A regularity that calms me and buoys my morale and my mood, which in turn brightens my outlook. It renews my resolve to move steadily forward, turning my mind away from myself, towards more egalitarian pursuits.

Friend: Are you feeling better now?
Me: Ever so. *smiles*

IMAGE: ian dooley

6 thoughts on “Rub ‘Til It Bleeds

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