I’ve changed my tagline to: “living successfully with depression and anxiety, one day at a time.” I don’t always feel the “successfully” part, but as long as I’m still alive to keep trying I’ll call it a partial success.
I spent much of Wednesday frozen with anxiety. I was worried about my pet rats’ health, terrified of my pending piano midterm, unsure whether I’d be able to catch up on schoolwork, and ambivalent about attending an information session.
My mom is planning to have knee replacement surgery on both legs – so all I’ve been hearing from her are her thoughts and anxieties about recovering from the procedure, what she‘s going to need from me, and that I shouldn’t do the overnight walk on June 1. It seems like she keeps finding excuses to invade my space, interrupt me from what I’ve been doing (including schoolwork), bombard me with all this … stuff, and then leave again. I feel like I have no boundaries, no space for my Self: my thoughts and my emotions. The worst is that she’s trying to get me to change my mind about a decision I’ve already made, something I strongly feel the need to do. My walk inconveniences her a hell of a lot less than her surgery inconveniences me, but I’m not trying to get her to change her mind. I respect that she’s made the decision she needs to make. You’d think she could pay me the same courtesy!
To say I feel fragmented would be too gentle: I am being violently torn and ripped to shreds.
I tried talking to her about my anxiety (on the way to the info session) and she got mad at me. The conversation became about why she’s frustrated with me because I seem to be working against myself. Many of my behaviors are self-defeating but that’s not the point – in that moment, I did not need to be corrected. I needed empathy. But all she’s capable of is demanding empathy from me. She had the nerve to say, “don’t embarrass me at the meeting.” Right. The only function my not-so-awesome emotions serve is to embarrass her. Not, you know, to indicate that I have needs that aren’t being met.
On Thursday I took the rats to the vet, who said they were very healthy. They do seem to have caught something, though, so he gave me an antibiotic for them. That helped calm my anxiety about them … until this morning when they refused to take the antibiotic. I really don’t want to force-feed it to them. Worse, I have plans for tomorrow that will take me away from home, forcing me to rely on – you guessed it! – my mother to keep them medicated. I doubt she’ll be any more willing to manhandle a rat and force medicine down his throat than I am.
On Thursday I was also able to catch up on the work for my online class, in which I’d fallen behind – though, less so than I’d thought. I’ve even started working on an assignment that’s due next week! That also does a lot to relieve my anxiety –
though now I’m plagued with uncertainty: should I try to get ahead in that class to give myself more time to do the larger and more challenging assignments to come? Or do I focus on work for my other classes? The “work” for my online class is so fun and engaging I actually feel guilty doing it – like I’m playing a game instead of studying!
Update: I completed the assignment due next week. It was fun and challenging; the feeling of accomplishment is awesome!!!
And always, there is the pending PIANO MIDTERM! (cue ominous music)
It seems like taking action helps me calm the anxiety. For now, “taking action” with regard to Mom means avoiding her, because I don’t even know where to start trying to talk to her about this stuff and all talking to her does is cause me more stress. I don’t have the time or energy to deal with her right now. But I took the rats to the vet and that helped, and I
caught up got ahead on work and that helped, so maybe if I actually practice piano that will help, too!
I’ve also finally started taking the anxiety medication my psychiatrist prescribed. It’s too soon for it to have kicked in, but hopefully it will help – at least keep me from becoming paralyzed.