I wake up on Sundays with my heart racing, a pit in my stomach.
It’s a habit now.
Another week is coming, but what have I accomplished this week? What have I accomplished this weekend? The obsessions never stop.
Things have settled down now. I know I’m on the upswing, but cycles of anxiety grasp at every thought. The meaningless worries, which used to sit in the back of my mind, seem to have nestled in and made their home. No amount of mental power will make them budge.
I’m trying to take things one step at a time. To appreciate the glimpses of light in every day, but I can’t help but dwell on the negatives. My brain seems to wander in search of the tiniest anxieties I’ve been running around to avoid. Last week, I couldn’t breathe. I thought my asthma had finally heard about LA smog. But it was just anxiety. I guess my subconscious knows, because the nightmares haven’t stopped in weeks. Swarming me every night and with every nap. Ironic since sleeping is how I used to avoid the world.
I’ll be patient.
I’ve gotten to the point where the me I’m trying to hide doesn’t slip out as often. I walk around with smiles, suspiciously positive retorts to the day old “how are you?” Things are seemingly back to normal. And I haven’t cut in a month. But every second of every day still feels like a war. To not get sucked in again, and to forgive myself when I do.
Sundays though. Sundays I aim for survival. Sundays I don’t make plans because I don’t know if I can live up to them, but when the day comes, the loneliness settles in. I walk around with a tightness in my chest, an urge to throw everything up. Sundays I despise, but secretly wish would continue forever.
Today, I’m remembering to breathe, be patient, and practice a little bit of metta.
Recovery feels like finally realizing that the sun is behind the clouds and that its been there all along. But it’s not the same thing as seeing the sun.
Recovery is acknowledging that your life is worth it and fighting like hell every second to remember that. Refusing the vicious thoughts and temptations you used to rely on. Resisting the ease of slipping into a dark hole and lying there because it’s easier not to get up.
Recovery is struggling to remember that there is good in every moment even if you can’t see it right now. It’s being grateful for the ten minutes of every day that you have a smile on your face and it’s real.
But that sinking feeling in your chest is still there. Once in awhile it gets a little bit lighter, but you know that it’s there. You have to remember that those dark habits you relied on have consequences. So now before you reach for your razor, you stop, you breathe, count to ten, think of alternatives. You remember that people care. You remember that you should care.
Recovery is knowing that the sun is there, but fighting every second just to catch a glimpse. And every time you lose sight of it, you’re filled with terror.
Forgive yourself. Be kind. Be patient. Someday, every day will be filled with sun.
When the world seems like its crushing you into tiny bits and bits. When you don’t have the will to get up in the morning. When everything hurts. When you’re alone. When you forget what it feels like to not feel like this. When its too hard just to exist. When you feel like giving up…
Remember how strong you are. How hard you’ve fought to get to where you are now. Remember that each challenge you’ve overcome makes you that much stronger. Smile because you’ve made it through another day. Remember that it won’t always be this way. Know that there is happiness waiting in your future.
Think about how great it is to feel the sunlight on your face. To close your eyes and listen to your favorite song. To have a heartfelt conversation with someone who understands you. To be given a tight warm hug. To lie naked in bed snuggled under the sheets. To sit at home and listen to the rain patter on the window. To go on a long walk to nowhere. To remember that you’ve made it through another day.
Smile. Breathe. Know that everything is okay. Because you’re here right now. This is your life. The possibilities are endless.
When you feel like giving up.
I moved back home from college on Sunday with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be back on campus until 2015. Packing everything up, it struck me that half of my college experience was over and I remembered everything that had happened in the two short years that I had been there. I had built up quite a collection of memories, both good and bad, but I had also grown very accustomed to my life on campus. I was safe there. The end of the semester gave me the realization that time was still moving forward and that was something that I had been avoiding for so long.
Part of it was also the dread of going home. I love my family and spending time with them, but being at home also carries an overwhelming set of memories, something that I didn’t realize until I spent a significant amount of time away. The past few days have been really hard for me. My grandmother’s health had deteriorated pretty rapidly and on Friday she is returning to the hospital to have another procedure done. It brought back memories of when she was first diagnosed with cancer last spring and I had to start on antidepressants because my anxiety began to be debilitating. Just about two weeks ago, I finally came off medication. I couldn’t really take the side effects anymore and I hated the idea of being dependent on drugs.
Yesterday, I had a pretty bad panic attack. I’ve never actually had a panic attack that bad while I was sober, but I was just really overwhelmed. I had been avoiding a lot of things while I was at school, but at home, everything came rushing back. I also don’t really have anyone to turn to when I’m at home, and I hate burdening my family with the idea that I’m not okay right now when they have so much to deal with on their own. Ironically, I get the idea that me staying strong at home is part of what is keeping everyone together. I keep thinking that if only I were still at school, everything would be okay, but I know that that’s really not true. I’m also burdened by the guilt that I’m so much more stressed out being at home and around my parents and I know that that’s not what home is supposed to be and that’s certainly not what they want for me.
I honestly just wish that time would stay still for just a sec. I just need a moment. One moment.
For now, I’m just trying to hold myself together. I’m practicing piano a lot because that seems to be the only time my mind stops designing horrible scenarios for myself and deciding I’m constantly on the verge of a panic attack. I’m also spending a lot of time in bed because it feels safe there. I feel guilty about wasting precious time, but I’m also trying to remind myself that it’s important that I take as much time doing what I need to do to make sure I’m okay.