Anxiety is a stupidly funny thing. One minute you’re fine, the next even the smallest of tasks – like washing the dishes – becomes an insurmountable task that inspires tears, dread, shaky hands, and a desire to crawl into a hole and never come out.
I’ve noticed that, at least for me, my anxiety seems to come and go in cycles. I will be fine for months. No panic attacks, sometimes mild general anxiety, but for the most part I spend my days as a normal, functioning human. Then life slowly starts creeping up on me. First it’ll be something small – a phone call gets rescheduled. Then it will be something a little bigger; perhaps a project got delayed or a client website went out unexpectedly and I had to work all night to get everything back up to snuff. Then, usually, something interferes with my ability to do my job – a personal issue taking too much time, a tech problem, work I wasn’t planning on doing getting dropped in my lap. And before I know it, I’m behind schedule.
At which point my brain literally stops working. The best way I can describe it is that my head feels fuzzy. Like static on an old television. My ability to focus on any one thing just disappears, and I feel like I’m drowning in whatever life is throwing at me – work projects, personal issues, bills, house cleaning. Literally every tiny detail becomes a Behemoth, a giant, terrifying, stress-inducing task that I don’t have the oomph to conquer.
Fuzzy head lasts anywhere from a few minutes to days. After which, I just feel fragile. Hollow. Like an eggshell. I don’t usually feel much during this stage. Physically, emotionally, I’m kind of half-dead. Going through the motions but not really “there”.
Then I get angry. I’ll spend days, or weeks, mad at the world and everyone in it. How dare they ask this of me? How dare they put me in this situation? My shell hardens and grows spikes. On the outside, I’m a not-so-tiny ball of rage, but on the inside I’m still very much soft, upset, and squishy.
Like a bug.
I wish I knew how I emerge from the bug stage, metamorphosing into a functioning person again. It just kind of happens – slowly my spikes recede, I harden up throughout, and get back to life. Until the next cycle starts.
I guess I’m sharing this in the hopes that someone can relate. I mean, I know it’s literally all in my head, but that doesn’t make it go away. When I’m in functioning human mode, I can usually talk myself out of panic attacks, calm myself down.
When I’m not – like right now – I just don’t have the wherewithal to even try and fight with myself.
So instead of fighting with me, I’m going to put my head down, power through the day, get shit done, and hopefully by the end of the day I won’t be considering running away to live in the woods.