Tuesday, February 11, 2014

No, not out of the wilderness

I've had an anxiety disorder for all of my adult life.
I had thought I was ok around my birthday in the beginning of December but then as I looked back at the things that I wrote in that time period I realized that I was not ok and I was indeed struggling. I remember saying to my church community that I was hoping that I was coming out of my wilderness experience ... I hadn't come out yet. I'm not sure that I'm out of my wilderness even now, 2 months later.
I started my Christmas holidays on December 24th but by that time I had not slept well in some time and I was racked in anxiety. I had attended worship the Sunday before Christmas and had felt completely disheartened with wondering what the entire point of faith was. I had moped my way to prayers, more out of desperation for some sort of answer as opposed to some great amount of faith that God was there to answer my many questions. I cried because I didn't have the capacity to cope. My entire Christmas vacation was mostly 2 weeks of drowning in a morass of anxiety. Despite that Wendy was wonderful to me. We talked about my anxieties and she offered comfort where she could. I saw my naturopath for acupuncture 4 or 5 times to try and stabilize my mood and I went to the doctor at least 3 times in the 6 weeks that came after Christmas. Acupuncture helped to stabilize my mood a good deal and I had several conversations with medical professionals about how I could be doing my care better.
I couldn't sleep. That was an ordeal for me because I've always been a fantastic sleeper. When I'm on my game I can be asleep within minutes, dare I say seconds, so to lay in bed for hours with a racing mind drove me around the bend a few more times. I'm still not sleeping well but at least it isn't the complete train wreck that it was last month. Last week the simple stressor of changing my caseload around was enough to give me a sleepless night and a sick day the next day. I've always considered myself really adaptable and accommodating but I've been floored of late just how much a little stressor irritates me.
I'd try to do some things to be active but it was also right in the middle of the most brutal cold snap that I recall in my decade and a half in Winnipeg. Most of my activity over the actual Christmas season was the several times (sometimes several times a day) that I was required to shovel out our walkways and driveway. A trip out to go grocery shopping nearly threw me into a full bore panic attack. It didn't help that I was also dealing with some fasciitis pain in my left foot which meant that I'd need to take things easy if I wanted to do anything terribly taxing, like walking or standing.
It even seemed like some of the things that I volunteer for were extra burdensome so that I seriously considered quitting most of my extra-curricular stuff.
No I'm not out of the wilderness.
I've only had 5 cups of caffeinated coffee since Christmas and I miss it terribly. I get tired of herbal tea even though it has obviously helped me to settle a good deal. Several times I've considered that I need to return to things that give me more peace, like playing the guitar but instead I try to fill my time with useless time-fillers like watching an old movie that I've actually already seen. I do enjoy watching old movies so I suppose it's ok for my soul if I'm getting comfort out of that. It's the useless time-fillers that I object to.
As we speed our way toward Valentine's Day, Wendy's birthday right on it's heels and another stay-cation at home, I begin to stress a little about the things of life. I've noticed on the horizon a cramp in my neck that I sometimes get when I'm stressed and I think, really? More?
I really do question why it is that such things happen to people. My neighbour is struggling with cancer so that he's tired all the time and he doesn't enjoy the things that he's always enjoyed. He told me this morning that the best part of his day is his daybreak prayer walk along the river's edge. I asked him to remember me on his prayer walk, because I need it and I still believe in the effective prayers of a good man. If it brings peace to either of us then it'll be well worth it.
I still haven't caught up on my phone messages at work from the sick day I took last week. I just work my way through answering 10 messages when it seems like there are 15 more waiting for me on my phone. The work doesn't stop because I need to take a deep breath and find a better way to cope.
I'm still here though. Still fighting my way along my path. The path is in the wilderness I suppose but I'm also not alone. I have friends who love me. Thankfully so.