It starts with darkness.
You never really understand the dark cloud analogy unless you live it. Feel it. Breathe it. Become it.
I haven’t been to talk therapy for my Panic Disorder since I graduated from university in June.
It’s now January of 2016. And today, I went to see a counsellor.
It’s that time of year. Where bells are ringing, children are singing, all is merry and bright…right?
It’s a crisis of confidence.
It’s forgetting the next word of your sentence.
And it’s nothing.
It isn’t tangible.
It is lost.
It is hidden.
I never get the words just right
I don’t know what to say
I lost myself or so it felt
I watched me slip away
Like a metamorphosis
I grew a thicker skin
I let go of things that held me back
I wouldn’t let things in
And why should I?
I have so many reasons to love my life right now.
And I do.
At times I feel numb.
I cannot open myself up again because I cannot feel.
It’s not that I don’t want to.
Because I do.
I just can’t.
My focus is elsewhere.
My priorities are on everything and anything else.
My career is kicking off.
And I’m killing it.
I am dreaming bigger.
And still I am numb.
Time freezes yet I hear the ticking of the clock.
Where are you?
You are lost.
You are hidden.
The funny thing about depression is that it consumes you.
I lied. It’s really not that funny.
I haven’t had a panic attack in months. I can’t remember the last time I had one. Maybe it’s not something I like to keep track of, so how would I remember?
All I know is I feel like I’m having a small one now. And it’s scary and it’s frightening. It consumes me.
I have tried everything: my breathing techniques, closing my eyes, counting to ten, looking at my peripheries in the mirror, talking to a friend, changing the subject, you name it.
I’m shaking and my heartbeat echoes in my head. My first tear just broke and I’m stumbling to catch my breath again. I’m writing this in hopes that it helps: that it forces me to focus on typing rather than break down into a million pieces.
School is the trigger this time around. It’s that time of year where I have a midterm, an essay, and two assignments due this week. I need to do well on this upcoming midterm because I did poorly on the last one. I need to do well on my essay because I am doing so well otherwise in the course. I need my marks to be good so I can go to grad school in the future. I don’t know what my future holds and the uncertainty is consuming me from the inside out.
All I want to do is cry. A good cry would help me right now. Instead, I feel numb. I feel emotionless. My vision is spotty and I want to just fall asleep. Just for a few minutes. But I can’t. When I rest my head, the panic sets in again. I have too much to do. I need to get some work done before my meeting tonight. I feel like I have chosen to allocate my time in the wrong ways. Last night I went out to the bar. I justified it by saying I wouldn’t realistically get much work done after 11pm anyways, so I might as well go out with friends. When I say it out loud, the reasoning seems sound. When I sit here right now, my body shakes at the thought of wasting my time.
I feel so weak. I have come such a long way since my battle with PD started. Am I just losing all over again? Maybe the battle was not even won in the first place.
Today’s blog title is inspired by “Going Away to College” – Blink-182
When I was in my second year, I took a class called Abnormal Psychology. At first, I loved it. I was so excited because finally I was going to take a course that interests me more than any other course I have taken.
The prof had a disclaimer at the beginning of the term: “Don’t try and diagnose yourself based on the symptoms you see here. Odds are, you will think you have something when you don’t.”
It wasn’t until the section on anxiety disorders when I started feeling uncomfortable being in class. I would feel as though the words he was saying were about me. I stopped going. At least until that section was over, anyways. The funny thing (and I use that loosely) was that I had not been diagnosed yet. So I made the brave decision to go to the doctor and well, the rest is history.
This year, in my fourth year, I am taking a class called Mental Health. On the first day of lecture, I started having the same feelings I did in my other class. I felt as though when my professor would say things like, “No one really knows what it is like to be someone with a mental disorder” and “there is a negative stigma surrounding having a mental disorder” that again, the words related so much to my life. So much, in fact, that I began to feel uncomfortable. My negative, intrusive thoughts floated in my head.
Had I been the same person I was two years ago, I would have either dropped the class or stopped going to class. Seeing how much I have changed and gotten stronger really opened my eyes that day. It has been a long time since I have had a panic attack. I couldn’t even tell you when the last time I had one was, that is how long it has been.
I have been so worried that with the feelings of loss finally sinking in deeper that I would start to feel my anxiety more than ever. Luckily, I have not. With the start of a new and stressful semester, I worry that being overwhelmed will evoke negative reactions but I feel confident that I will not break.
So here’s to smooth sailing in 2015!
Today’s blog post title is inspired by “Brain Damage” – Pink Floyd
Anais Nin once said, “Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”
I don’t think I truly understood the meaning of this quote until over a year ago when I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder. Although my demons have almost completely vanished, I would be lying if I said they are not a big part of who I am today.
… I’m getting ahead of myself. My name is Michelle, a 21-year-old student at McMaster University majoring in psychology (I know… ironic, right?). And I have panic disorder. It’s so much easier to say that to a computer screen than to say it aloud. So here I am: blogging.
I can’t seem to keep a diary. I never end up using it long enough for my life to be like, the Vampire Diaries or anything (Ugh, I wish). So maybe, just maybe, I can get out any stresses, anxieties, or even good things off my chest in a healthy way through this.
Although Liam Neeson appears to be wanting to spread the panic, that is not my aim. I want to see, feel, and be good. I want to be engulfed in all that is true and beautiful in the world we live in.
That was not always easy. I used to have nights where I would lay in bed, sobbing uncontrollably and nothing would be able to help me stop. If you were to ask me why I was crying, I would not have been able to give you an answer. I would get so upset and be so sensitive to events around me. I used to pick out the negatives and using my panic tunnel vision glasses, it would be all I saw. It relieves me to say life is not like that so much anymore. Even in the toughest of times, I somehow manage to see the light of it all.
I can’t remember the last time I had a panic attack. Weeks… months maybe? All I know is I’ve never felt more confident about who I am. My weaknesses are now my strengths. I may need a little boost now and then, but hey… who doesn’t?
So all in all, this is my journey. My journey through this pretty little life with this pretty little panic.
Today’s blog title is inspired by: Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles