Oof. Today was the worst day I’ve had in a long while.
It wasn’t one of those ramped up, scared, fight or flight days. It was a sad and overwhelmed day, which I guess I don’t write about much. I felt pretty ok this morning, but as the dude and I were getting ready to go to my dad’s for brunch I just started thinking about how hard he’s been working and how I hope the grant for his project comes through. Somehow, my brain got from there to oh my god if he keeps working this hard we aren’t going to have any time for us and how am I going to keep up with chores when I go back to work and what does this mean for our future and is it always going to be like this I can’t do it in about 3 seconds. It’s been a long time since my thoughts have raced that much, and I just got so overwhelmed and, honestly, angry for feeling that way. I was snippy with the dude because my brain was just like too much data! and annoyed with myself for being annoyed that I couldn’t control what was happening.
Thankfully, we’ve built some really strong communication habits. As we left I explained that I wasn’t mad at him, I was just thinking about his work and what it’ll be like if his team is selected and how my brain took that hope and that worry for him and turned it into big huge thoughts about the future. I realized as we were talking that I’ve been working so hard to manage the anxiety that I’ve inadvertently been managing other emotions, as well. Which, you know, for the most part I guess that’s good because I’m not flipping off the handle and yelling at every little thing. But it also means that I’m not really letting myself feel my feelings because I’m a little too quick to try to calm down. I keep assuming that what I’m feeling is anxiety and needs to be managed, but that’s not always the case.
I’m so good at just putting my head down and doing what I need to do, and usually I’m grateful for that. It makes it hard to identify what’s really going on, though. The dude and I have talked a lot about how I have to have time to process my thoughts before I talk about what’s going on with me, and sometimes that’s really hard for both of us. Today I literally had to stop what I was doing and think wait, am I anxious or is this something else? And if it is something else, what is the something else? Why is the something else? Am I actually this upset or is it heightened by the anxiety? I think it’s a combination: I’m feeling anxious, but I’m also feeling these other things that I haven’t really dealt with or didn’t know I was feeling and the anxiety amplifies it.
And to be honest, like, brutally honest, I’m so tired of managing it. I am so tired of doing yoga/going to the gym all the time and making sure I’m eating healthy and practicing breathing and so on and so on and so on. Most of the time I don’t even think about it, but on days like today it just feels so big and insurmountable and I want to just stick my head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening. I’ve cried like 17 times today and I would just really like it to be over. Days like this make me feel all of the things I hate the most: they make me feel fragile and vulnerable and out of control and like something is wrong with me. I know I write a lot about the good side of anxiety and how the bad days make the good days better, and that’s true, but, shit, the bad days suck SO bad.
I’m thankful that I’ve got a lot of really supportive and understanding people around me. The dude ran an errand for my step-mom when I realized I didn’t have my wallet and couldn’t do it. My sister gave me a big hug when I mentioned that I was anxious. My dad asked me to dinner, just the two of us. The dog STOPPED EATING HER BONE to come check on me while I was crying. The dude gave me a huge hug and sat with me while I sobbed my eyes out when we got home. I’m so proud of the people in my life and so grateful for their support, and I know that I’m lucky. But the other problem with days like today is that they make it really hard to accept help or support, right when I need it most, because they make me feel like I’m the worst version of myself in that moment and I shouldn’t need the support in the first place. Days like today make me wish I had a shell on my back or a pillow fort or a treehouse in my (nonexistent) backyard so that I could just go hide from everyone. My instinct is to not tell anyone what’s going on and just run away and get through it on my own but at the same time I want someone to notice and to treat me like the broken girl that I feel like I am in that moment. It’s such a hard balance and I honestly don’t know how the dude does it. It’s got to be incredibly frustrating when someone tells you that you should leave them alone but your gut instinct is that you shouldn’t. I mean, what do you do in that situation? Do you listen to them or do you ignore what they said and try to comfort them? When I think of all the times he’s had to make that decision, I’m in awe. And, truthfully, it’s hard to feel that way, too. It’s hard to want to sit on my bed by myself in my underwear because I don’t have the emotional energy to put on a shirt but to also want the dude to put me before everything else even though I told him there was nothing he could do. It’s hard to both want to handle it and also completely give up. It’s hard to feel thankful and sad at the same time.
And maybe this is just the tough day talking, but anxiety is fucked up. Like, what is this shit? Who thought this was a good idea? Yes, the amygdala responds this way because we used to be prey a lot more often and my heightened anxiety actually means I’m more evolutionarily advanced and yadda yadda yadda. Sometimes it’s like, enough already. I want to have a conversation with whoever is in charge of gene coding because they clearly don’t have anxiety and they need to be made to see the truth. (I just had a vision of myself in a leather jacket pushing God, long white hair and all, against a chainlink fence by his collar. Ha.) Seriously, though, this is some bullshit. Why do I have to feel like this? I didn’t do anything wrong (ok I do some things wrong but I’m not, like, a murderer). And I know I sound like a whiney child and that’s not really my M.O. but DAMN, I get to be mad sometimes! I get to be mad that my brain is like this. I get to be frustrated and at the end of my rope and to feel like no one – myself included – can do anything to make me feel better.
I guess the upshot is that laughing at the show I’m watching feels really good. And sleep will feel really good. And cuddling my nephew today was perhaps the best thing I’ve ever experienced because it was so what I needed in that anxious moment. I’m better than I was earlier, but I’m still kind of sad and anxious and there’s nothing for me to do but sit with it. And cuddle the dog.