Anxiety is such a powerful emotion. The difficulty for those suffering from anxiousness is not having the balance of parity at your disposal. Rationalising the feelings of worry is confounded by the ability to not be able to do so; the ultimate paradox.
Bedevilled with neurosis is nothing new. Everyone has their cross to bear, to captain the good ship Nausea and sail through a sea of Nosebleeds.
What is it that guides us? She was only in temporary thought between uneventful tasks when the same question that keeps her up night resurfaces. Usually, this panic ridden thought can be debilitating, striking fear to her very soul. Like with any process, especially those so dark and frequent, is to quickly extinguish the fire by assuming it as an inconvenience and sweeping it under the carpet. Thoughts are fleeting, normal service is resumed; or so she thought.
From a normal careless teenager into her carefree twenties, these episodes were rare. She remembers some abandonment issues when she was younger, especially during the primary school years, but these were often fast and usually misunderstood. She was unaware that the falling dreams, fear of dying, palpitations and unexplained dark thoughts were just the foundations for something much bigger to come.
By the time she had got into her thirties she was happily in a committed relationship, working in a reliable job and with two small children, everything was “normal”. However, the systematic nature of poor decision making due to her lack of control for her mental health led to a management failure. It was as this stage in post breakdown/psychotic episode that the realisation that she was broken became a reality. She never had the intent that she genuinely wanted to actually kill herself but admitted to thinking of it. It was a shock and sickening blow to her own character and confidence. How could such horrendous thoughts even belong in her own mind? The gravity of the information was disgusting. But never the less, she did, and she does.
As time went on and she had begun using various means of behavioural therapy to help with managing such emotions, things seemed to get back on track. There was a comfortable honeymoon period. The dark clouds became sunshine, the melting thoughts of depression hardened and peacefulness surrounded her life. She had become fascinated with meditation, using it frequently and with what seemed like excellent results. Confidence was coming back, socially she was feeling refreshed and, as friendships grew, she could feel the comfort of maturing as an adult into her forties.
Dealing with the thoughts however, as these never leave, she tried to confront them and ask questions. Why do I think like this? she wondered. Instead of fear she tried to embrace them and seek to understand them. But was this the thread that shouldn’t be pulled? Tugging on this loose doubt could lead to the unravelling of the facade. When you’re not particularly at ease, often resting is still coloured with feelings of being on edge, any slight chink in the armour is an opportunity for sickness to get in.
She struggled to confide with the images in her mind, these undermined the actions of seeking answers and they became hostile, uprooting the oak that she had nurtured from the seed. The manifestations of the past grew rapidly, the negativity was taking over again. Existential thinking overcame her; waking in the night in a cold panic, confusing dreams, nightmares but ones where they left a feeling of dread, and the familiarity of unexplained aches and pains blew up into fully irrational hypochondria. The end was complete.
As she reached her half century, she wondered if this was how it was going to play out? By now, the health anxiety was so complex that it was moving into panic attacks in the most benign of locations and experiences. It was having an effect on her home life and her day to day living and working. She was beginning to plan mediocre events with a “best case scenario” and was sick to the stomach, literally, at the thought of anything that had a potential to cause distress. Travel, new foods, new experiences, large public events or groups of people were now a cause for alarm.
This is a perilous stage, the edge of the knife, and she knew it. Fall off and become a hermit, scared of life forever until it ends. Stay on the edge and live with crippling thoughts and somehow function to the best, hoping that the loved ones in her life can not only understand but be able to cope with neurotic mood swings and frustrating crisis of confidence.
She felt desperate, those dark clouds had returned, laden with violent storms, unpredictability on the horizon; Where does this leave me, she thought? Again.
Tired of fighting the same emotions, over and over, with no result, no finality, no resolution.
Prescription the only method of relief, a life that that was warm, bright and exciting, now seemingly bleak, mundane and toxic.
“So, what’s with all the nausea and nosebleeds?”
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself and enjoy what you have. Live life in the moment for fucks sake!” How many times can you count the most common answer? “You’re so depressing and negative it’s hard to live with!”
“If I could take the thoughts out of my head and wash out all the bad stuff, would you not think I would do that already?” she said. “It’s not as easy as to just forget, relax and put things to one side. The baggage of all the years of worry and stress cannot be easily reversed. Living with them is a curse, an affliction, a hole in my life” she explains.
So, what now?
In about twenty years, I’ll give you an answer. She smiles wryly.
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