I’ve decided that since I cannot turn off whatever is happening to me, I should probably write about it. How can I not? Naturally, as I sit down to do this, my mind draws a crisp, white blank, and words dart around my overly tired mind like circus flies.
Oh, well. We’ll just see what happens and go with it. Sound good?
Day 1: a little bit mental.
Up until a week or so ago, I would have considered myself a relatively normal human being. And by normal, I of course mean that I generally save my spaz-attacks for some place private and allow only my husband to witness those quirks I dare not even journal about, lest I achieve posthumous fame, causing someone to seek out and pay handsomely for said journal, turning about embarrassing exploitation of me and all my weirdom.
I can see it now. “Really? She had a collection of eyelashes and slept with a bag of uncooked popcorn?” Not that I actually save my own eyelashes or sleep with kernels, because, that would just be weird, but I’m sure some parity could be drudged up. We all have them, let’s not kid ourselves.
I didn’t plan it this way, but this little stream of conscious moment works perfectly as a segue into the post.
I’m an anxious person.
As someone who is ultra aware of herself, both her strengths and weaknesses, flaws and esteemed traits, I don’t believe I’ve wanted to come to terms with this lesser known condition called anxiety. There is a stigma surrounding that word, and usually people associate difficult, nervous, moody, tense people with “anxious.” I’ll admit that I am capable of being one or all four of those aforementioned things at any given time, but as a whole? Who I am? No. I love to laugh. I adore a peaceful afternoon. I strive to be an encouraging, kind, compassionate person. However . . . and this a BIG however — some of the most warm people I know are anxious; the two are not mutually exclusive; you can be both a nice person and an anxious person. Still, even the idea of it repelled me.
And then I got sick. Really sick. The person I met in the face of my illness shocked me. Honestly, it’s still shocking me, ten days later.
I can now say with ninety-five percent certainty that I do not believe I am suffering from a terminal illness. I believe this because of the facts: my vitals are perfect, I passed a basic neuro test that would detect any brain abnormalities, and I have been exercising vigorously. So what’s with the other five percent? Well . . . the trembling, the neck and head pain, the numbing and tingling, and any other sensation that cannot be explained. Not so ironically, all that makes me anxious; however, since then I’ve done research and all those symptoms can be traced back to anxiety.
It was the best worst news I have ever heard.
I am only beginning to scratch the surface in terms of what the mind is capable of doing to the body. Yes, the two are housed in separate regions of the body, but it would behoove both you and I to think of them as tethered together by an impermeable rope. In fact, exactly like a tetherball. You see, even if you were to barely tap the ball or flick the string, the other would detect those slight vibrations. They are not two, but one.
Quick story: a good friend of mine and I were talking the other day, and he was telling me about a time when he and his wife sought out couple’s therapy. They were struggling in their marriage and communicating without fighting was becoming impossible; thus, the need for a mediator. So, sitting side-by-side on the couch, the therapist taking notes across from them, she poses a question to my friend’s wife. Something like “How does that make you feel?” And after she answers, my friend is given an opportunity to do the same. Only he doesn’t want to. He is done. He is tired of listening to these complaints over and over again. There is nothing he can do to make it better and so he numbs her out . . . literally. My friend is not the hyperbolic kind; in fact, he is a doctor and prefers facts. So when he told me that the left side of his body started to go numb — the side closest to his wife — I knew he wan’t exaggerating. And when that side of his face started to droop, the eye going blind, it was all he could do not to lose complete composure and scream like a little girl who had discovered a spider in her undies.
The mind is powerful.
I have been telling myself for the last ten days I am dying, and as a response, I have started to die. Not actually, but I managed to conjure phantom symptoms, each more bizarre and frightening than the last. The insomnia is real: I’ve dealt with that issue my entire life. And no surprise that people with anxiety and restlessness experience insomnia to that of ten times the average person. The other stuff isn’t so infallible.
I believe it was the night before last that, while listening to a song entitled “Don’t Stop The Madness” I reached a turning point. Until then, I had been praying — fervently, desperately, unceasingly — for God to take this away; whatever it is, just please, please take it away. Mercy. Peace. Grace. Extend each to me, Lord, in exorbitant numbers and magnitude. I must be healed from this. I cannot go on like this for much longer. I will certainly die. But as I listened to the words of the song — and I encourage you, no matter what it is you believe in and even if you are cool as frozen cucumber, to take a listen — as I listened to them . . . really listened and heard what he was saying, I began to see: He is healing me. The thing is, he can’t do it in one night. Well, He could, because he is God, but where is the glory in that? And what’s more, where is my faith, my trust, my assurance in a Father who loves me, adores me, and wants what’s best for me? Am I so naive to think this is the last time I will experience anxiety to this degree? I am only 30, folks. I imagine that in the next fifty or so years I will come to intimately know a plethora of illnesses — some pernicious, some not so much. Either way, though, I will need to cope. I need to learn how to do this now while I’m still healthy, so that when that day comes, and it will to be sure, that I can still laugh, I can still smile, I can still find joy in the madness, the chaos, and the pain.
I am still working through all this. It’s a lot to think about. As soon as our health benefits kick-in, I am going to start talking with someone. There’s a lot just sitting inside Cara, most of it hiding, I think. I am a sensitive being; which means I feel things deeply. If I were a plant, I would drink myself to death, soaking in all the water in and around me. This I need to work on. Innately I have a desire to please people, but that battles with my equally ambitious desire to work things out when there are problems. And because not everyone operates as I do, because we are human, flawed, sometimes healthy confrontation doesn’t go as planned. People don’t always want to work things out; they would rather brood. Or deny a problem exists. And each time I take that as a personal failure.
Anxiety takes many shapes, many colors. I had no idea just how many of them were prevalent in me. I have to learn to let stuff go. This will be my journey through life. I take solace in that, as of now, I am aware of it, more than I ever have been. When fear creeps upon me, I may not be powerful, and I may not be able to prevent it from wounding me, but I will recognize it for what it is. I will not do nothing.
In the midst of the real pain, the tension headache and insomnia, I am enduring. The rest will take time. But I am healing. On my knees in prayer is where I will find the strength to do this. God has broken me into a million little pieces, and I am reveling in how He might put me back together. I am to be His mosaic.
I hope this post finds you well. Signing off this entry of an anxious girl,
P.S. Please hear my heart when I say thank you. Your prayers, your comments, they really have been like balm for this heart of mine. I am so blessed to know you, to have your friendship. You have my gratitude. I pray you find something here of worth.