But honestly, I hold back so much, not just online, but in real like, too.
I don’t feel like that today. Actually, what I feel like today is hard to describe, but let’s try anxious, sad, depressed, tired, nauseous, angry, defeated, broken, and generally, like shit. I don’t know if that even gives an accurate portrayal, but maybe it sketches out the picture a little.
What I’m talking about here is crazy. Literally crazy. Not that flippant “woohoo, that guy’s crazy” but actually mentally unbalanced. Crazy comes in a lot of forms and varies to great degrees. I’m crazy. I’m not say, Charles Manson crazy, but I bet if we did a side-by-side, we probably have more in common that anyone would like to admit.
If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the fucking point already?”
Well, I don’t know if there is a point, but let’s start with this, if you feel like you’re life is spinning out of control, reach out to someone.
Currently, that’s how I feel. It’s not something people like to talk about. Not people who really have a problem. It’s embarrassing. There’s a stigma. There’s fear that people won’t believe you. I’ve dealt with that all my life. As a small child, I compulsively blinked. My mother took me to the doctor and was told my eyelashes were too long and that’s what was causing it. So, she trimmed them. The actual problem was my parents were having marital troubles and my tiny child brain couldn’t handle it. Throughout my childhood, I dealt with stresses like that at home and at school where I was bullied because I was fat and poor. These things manifested into physical symptoms that I won’t go into…you know what fuck it, I will go into it. Somehow, my digestive system got so out of whack around 4th grade, that I lost control of my bowels, or in laymen’s terms, I shit my pants. This lasted for a few years. So, I became THAT kid in school. I remember going to the doctor and having him explain to me that my colon was like twice the size it should be. I took laxatives, had to drink castor oil, enemas…you get the picture. Even after it stopped, that’s not a reputation you can shake. At one point, I skipped nine days of school in a row because I couldn’t deal with going. I was living with my father at the time and he was oblivious. Finally, the school called my mother and she came over and made me go back, but we never talked about it. We never talked about any of it.
I guess maybe there was just something inherently about me that made me a victim, because even after moving to a new town, I was still tormented by bullies until finally, I snapped. I remember the first panic attacks I had. It was a history class, right after lunch. The room was crowded and I would feel so sick and just anxious. First, the teacher let me sit by the open window so I could get some air. Didn’t help. Then they moved me to a library aide for that period. The school nurse tried to tell me and my mother that it was because I wasn’t eating a good breakfast. I remember going to the DMV to get my driver’s license. Again, the nausea and the rapid heartbeat. I left and told my aunt I didn’t feel well. I came back a second time and same result. Finally, I went to a therapist. for four sessions. That’s who my dad’s insurance covered. He put me on Imipramine. I didn’t like it. It gave me the shakes. I remember coming home after leaving half-way through the school day and telling my mother we had to get me home-schooled, or I was quitting.
I finished high school on a homebound program, like they used to do for pregnant girls. I wouldn’t have graduated otherwise. The thing is, even at this point, no one really believes you. I heard everything from “You were just trying to get out of going to school.” to “It’s all in your head.” Well, yes, I was trying to not go to school, but did you ever wonder why? And yes, it was most certainly in my head. I’m not sure if people are just selective about what they see because they have preconceived notions about who you are, but I gave up a lot for someone just trying to get out of going to school. I spent three years holed up in my bedroom dealing with every fear you can imagine. I stopped watching the news because every time something was mentioned, my brain convinced me that I had it, from cancer to flesh-eating bacteria.
Eventually, I was able to work my way out and back into a somewhat functional life, but it was very conditional. I had to know every escape route. I had to show up to things incredibly early. I had to convince myself I had total control over every given situation or it was a no-go. This led to quitting a lot of jobs over the years. In college, I started having panic attacks again and a professor urged me to get on medication. Paxil. This was the mid-90s. No one had really even heard of it at that point. It worked. I was able to do things I had never really done before. It didn’t last. I couldn’t afford to stay on it. But for the most part, in my 20s, I was able to survive and when things flared up, I self-destructed and quit my job and moved on somewhere new.
I suppose that’s enough rambling to paint a picture. That brings us to the here and now. I have a job I like. I have friends. I have a girlfriend I love. Sounds great? Well, every morning, I wake up paralyzed. I decided I had to do the smart things. As soon as my insurance kicked in, I went to the doctor and got some pills, but honestly, I was feeling worse. Today, I went to work, and I started feeling it. I got some hot herbal tea and sipped it to calm my nerves. I muttered to myself I was okay and I could make it. And then I promptly went into my boss’s office and had a fucking meltdown.
I’m actually impressed with how well he handled it. It’s not something you expect when you go to work, this giant of a man blubbering out of control. He talked to me and hooked me up with Employee Assistance to get some counseling and sent me home with as much assurance as he could give me.
So that’s where I am. Home. I called my doctor and she’s switching my medication. I’ve put out calls to a couple of the counselor’s and hoping one can fit me in soon. And even after all these years, I’m still blanketed with the feeling of shame and guilt of it all. Like I need to prove to everyone that it isn’t just all in my head and I’m not just trying to get out of doing something.
I just want to feel normal.