So far today has been a day that could be best described as ‘not good’ but most aptly described as ‘effing awful’. It all started yesterday afternoon when I had an appointment with my support worker. Usually they’re fairly uneventful occasions that see us discuss how my life has been (crap) and what could be done to improve it (pretty much anything). But yesterday she decided to assault me with dozens of questions about my anxiety, how it makes me feel and what can be done about it. After two dozen rapidly fired questions I started to dissociate and, as such, was totally non-present throughout the rest of the appointment. In fact, after that twenty-fourth question, I have no memory of what was being discussed at all. All I can remember is sitting on a cloud watching an overweight person speak monosyllabic statements at someone who seemed to be completely unaware of the mental health crisis that was unfolding before them.
I gained nothing from the appointment. In fact, I left in a completely anxious daze that saw me suffer a panic attack in the supermarket within ten minutes, a panic attack that consumed my being and left me, quite literally, a dribbling creature on the floor. By the time it took me to gather myself together and leave the supermarket with a shred of decency, I knew my day was over. It usually is when I suffer a panic attack in the open. It took me nearly forty-five minutes to walk home (a journey that usually takes me twenty) and when I finally crashed in through the back door I ended up lying on my back staring at the ceiling for some two hours, desperately trying to calm myself down and enable me to function at least half as much as a normal person.
Suffice to say, I didn’t, function as a normal person that is. I spent the rest of the evening cowering on the couch with feelings of high anxiety, unable to watch DVDs, unable to listen to the radio, unable to do anything other than my level best not to have another panic attack. Eventually I grew tired of the couch and retired to bed, where I could at least curl up in the shelter of the doona, and slowly drifted off to a fitful, nightmare laden sleep.
Upon waking up this morning I was still overwhelmed with feelings of high anxiety. In fact, they have followed me throughout everything I’ve tried to do today. This morning I tried to watch a movie (Lethal Weapon) but found myself unable to concentrate for longer than five minutes, so switched it off and stared at the wall instead. This afternoon I tried to watch a different movie (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) but again found myself unable to concentrate for longer than five minutes, so switched it off and stared at the ceiling instead. Realizing that I needed to do something (anything) I switched onto my blog and tried to write something (anything), but found myself all but unable to focus on the words, and my fingers stumbled on the keyboard so greatly that I was mistyping letters every few seconds. Eventually – after some sixty minutes – I managed to complete a blog post that felt, for the most part, like I was pulling my own teeth.
Which brings us to now, and another blog post, another teeth pulling session, and another attempt to do something with my day so it isn’t a complete failure. Even if I could write one sentence without mistyping a letter it would be some small victory in a day devoid of them. All my usual coping mechanisms – from distraction to grounding exercises to mindfulness – have done nothing to quell the anxiety, have done nothing to quench the overwhelming feelings of depression, desolation and ineptitude that have consumed me today. Even my favourite musicians – Paul Mounsey, Serena Ryder, Runrig – have been unable to soothe my soul today.
All because I allowed myself to become overwhelmed during an appointment yesterday afternoon with someone I trust, someone I actually like. Why I became so overwhelmed is the reason I’ve been so anxious, because I have no true explanation for it, one minute I was present – the next I was dissociating like a fiend, my brain doing whatever it could to protect me from the onslaught of emotions that were attacking me, an onslaught that has continued and ruined yet another day of my so-called life.
So all that is left is to finish typing this post, publish it to the world-wide web, and then somehow scrape myself together some dinner before once again retiring for the night with the hope that tomorrow will be better. That’s all I have left these days, the hope that tomorrow will be better, which it usually isn’t, especially as this vicious depressive episode continues, especially as anxiety continues its relentless quest to consume my soul.