I am consciously trying to figure out who I am amidst social variables and life events. When I was young, I assumed I'd grow up to find a sense of self certainty. I realize now that was just a childhood dream. Self is constantly evolving... I am not even the same person every day. I desperately grasp for ways to feel safe when I'm around people. It's not just that I feel I am being judged. My empathetic nervous system absorbs the energy in the room. So, not only do I feel my own angst, but I sense others fears, and internalize that energy.
Most people have life goals such as striving for career advancement or raising a clutch of children or travelling the world... My life goals are simply to gain control over my mental and physical health and maintain the relationships with people I am close to. I don't have the strength or energy to plan for a busy life that others claim to enjoy. I crave balance and peace. The older I get, the more difficult I struggle with expressing that internal chaos. The volume gets higher and I avoid being social more and more. I want to hide from the world because I cannot clearly explain my head space.
It may not be visible, but it is often the greatest handicap one can have. Mental illness. Anxiety. Depression. Indescribable pains. The mind is a wonderfully fragile thing... so too is the body. Together they can share a prison of infinite proportion.
In December of 2019, I sought out a new psychiatrist, who I'd been waiting for a while because they are scarce in my area. He diagnosed me with a handful of issues. And prescribed new medications... I've been simmering over my thoughts about this update with the public for a while now. I've been writing and editing this post for months and months. How much of my realness should I share? I am still sifting through my own feelings about coping with mental health. Who am I, really, to talk about it?
In February 2020 I decided it was time to accept those diagnoses and learn to manage it. And I added new medications to my repertoire. I see a big difference in my every day abilities. And, I have a better understanding of how my brain works. I know I will never be like the average person. But I really wish the general public would get over the fact that their normal is not the core for everyone else.
I'm constantly fighting with myself. I fear the gauntlet of obstacles that get in my way. I fumble and forget things. I use to often be late and missed appointments. My psyche defaults to an anxious and melancholy rapport. I'm overly cautious and completely unimpressed by almost everything. I engage less in conversation because I can't relate to others. I compromise my need to be heard and practice silence more than ever before.
It's pointless to share my own examples when people talk about their experiences. I am tired of banter. I notice that people tend to focus on their woes while they could be focussed on feeling gratitude for their blessings. Many individuals choose to complain about pain and physical issues they face, but they dismiss the medicines and lifestyle changes that professionals advise. This frustrates me because I have been dealing with chronic pain/fatigue for nearly forty years. I have tried virtually every suggestion out there to relieve my strains. I've gathered a medical team. I manage my struggles with medication, meditation and movement. I try my damndest not to complain about circumstances that are beyond my control.
Most of the time I'm afraid to leave my apartment. Truth. I feel awkward about being seen. Which is bonkers because when I was a young adult I loved the attention of being in the spotlight. I think I was overcompensating like with talking too much. It's a nervous trigger. Controlling the when and where gave me a sense of skipping the situation. Whilst my body perspires profusely and my mouth dries up, I almost leave my body and return after the static is over. And, later I simmer over the things I said or didn't say.
People, places and things stress me out. Even with what I'm calling a "cocktail" of medications in my repertoire. It's still a lot of work to convince myself that I am safe outside of my apartment. It's still a lot of work to convince myself that no one means any harm. Close friends and family want to see me succeed. And, that's what I've been working on. Little successes. Leaving the house just to get out. Making brunch dates on the weekend. Saying yes instead of "I don't know".
We're now at the beginning of 2023. The effects of Covid are still prevalent. Whilst the rest of the world has fallen into a new sense of anxiety, I've been actively attempting to control mine. My anxiety that was there long before Covid threatened our normal ways. I've been working at trying to remove anxiety and depression from my daily life. To no real feat. But, the trick is learning to live with it, rather than against it. Taking the ups and getting as much done as I possibly can. So that I can hate myself less when I'm down.
I take a few anti-depressants and something to help with the chronic pain. As well as treating ADD with medication. It's making for a positive difference in my life. I often wake up before my alarm now. It's still a struggle to get up on time for work. I can't help but sleep till the last minute, even when I go to bed early. But on weekends, since I have to get up to take my morning meds, I can't sleep too late anymore. My body wants to get up. So, I do! Then, later around noon, I take a nap.
So, ya I still need a ton of sleep. But I don't stay up late overrun by emotions anymore. I sleep better and longer so that I'm more rested for the morning. It seems to be working. Being on the day shift has helped fix my sleep schedule. Taking medications has allowed me to get over myself and push to find the real me beneath all the excuses. Some might think it's a crutch. Others, might think it's all in my head. The real deal is that I'm a better person while medicated. I am more reliable. My head is out of the clouds and I'm making active choices rather than dramatically reacting.
I no longer choose to retreat. I have made all these actions to like myself better and to force myself to deal with life, change and all the jazz in between with less angst and more confidence. Actively maintaining confidence is a lifelong venture for a single mind. But as a group, we can get there faster! I know there is a great number of individuals struggling with this issue. It's a big topic. Which is why I plan to lend my story and experience to help others embrace the necessary changes to take charge of themselves and reinvent their behaviour.
Please follow along and share with friends. Leave a comment if you're also working on self-help and finding the best version of you! :)