The word “anxious,” to me, brings a mostly positive image to mind. Like when you’re anxiously awaiting a phone call from your sweetheart or your test results or that call from the company you just interviewed with. Not to be rude, but “anxious” is way, WAY too, well, “soft” a word to describe my anxiety issues.
If you are one of the billions of people who didn’t catch my last post: Hi 🙂 My name is Kerissa and I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is pretty much a “catch all” for anything that doesn’t fall within the set parameters of GAD’s fellow disorders, which include the likes of OCD, PTSD, IUD (just kidding – oh, for any guys reading, IUD is actually a birth control method), and all the fun phobias you can think of. After learning that 2 of my nieces were also dealing with similar issues, I realized that what I’ve learned since being diagnosed could possibly help one of the millions of people out there, someone who may not even realize what they’re experiencing. I know I didn’t.
OK, now that we’re all caught up, I figured I should start with my story (very CliffsNotes, I promise) as a foundation for this “series.”
I was a workaholic. I would never ever have described myself as one, but then again, I would never ever have described myself or thought I would be a control freak. Surprise! I mean, I wasn’t BORN a control freak, quite the contrary, but I became one because I told myself that it was necessary in order for me to keep up with “my” responsibilities.
I realized I was a control freak about 4 years ago, but I thought it was okay because my job, the vast and varying intricacies and nuances of it, required a very tight reign. So, yeah, okay, control freak, I know, but workaholic? Me? No way. Oh wait. Yes way. I was either at work, at home doing work, thinking about work, at the gym, getting drunk or passed out. Seriously.
The first of the conscious dominoes that fell was the passing of my dad in May 2015. I mean, it wasn’t his passing, he had been in deteriorating health for 14 years and I would never wish him back in the state that he left this world. I truly am happy that he is now without pain and can be and do all the things he was exiled from due to his immobility and other shitty unfortunates. It was my stubborn decision not to deal with my feelings after he passed that led to my having, basically, a breakdown. It wasn’t a “nervous” breakdown, it was an everything breakdown. Not just nerves, not just mental, not just physical, not just emotional; everything. It was not pretty.
Sidenote: Is ANYONE a “pretty” cry-per, like ANYONE in this whole world? Because, I mean, I am not. I won’t subject you to a hideous picture of me during or post crying, don’t worry. But I will share this with you – it’s a screen shot of what I got when I googled “ugly cry” hahahaha 🙂
I don’t know what your situation is with regard to your religious or spiritual beliefs, but for me, I think that God (as I understand Him, completely respectful of all other understandings) looked at me, shook His head, sighed and started pulling the plugs on everything that was overloading me. Seriously. There’s no other way to explain the sequence of events that happened since that first domino fell. Even today, when I look back, I am absolutely certain that it was Divine Intervention. And everyday I thank Him for it.
The actual catalyst for change didn’t hit until just over a year after my dad left. In July 2016, in the first week, I got in 2 car accidents – 2 within the space of 3 days. I was at the end of my rope, I had already run headfirst into The Wall of Overwhelming, but I was still telling myself I had to hang in there just for a little longer. Then on July 19th, my family experienced a huge loss and I experienced a huge barrel full of ice-cold Wake The Fuck Up, Kerissa. (But no one was laughing behind me)
I remember that night. I was trying to finish some crap for work and my phone started buzzing. I looked at the caller ID and rolled my eyes, irritated by the interruption. I’m an asshole because the caller ID said it was my mom. I didn’t answer. I finished that stupid meaningless fucken report for work AND THEN called my mom back. As soon as she answered, I could tell she was or had been crying and I immediately shot into a panic, followed by a plunge into – there’s no other word that works here, but sorrow – as I heard her say that my sweet, albeit troubled, 19 year old nephew, had hung himself that morning. Cue the water works. That was the straw for this camel’s back. A few months later, after another fucked up email from my boss which had me sitting at my desk in tears, I walked out of that office and never went back. Best decision I ever made.
Okay, not financially, but I would describe it like one of the MasterCard commercials. Mortgage: $1,987.00; Car payment: $453; Monthly Costco Receipt: $525; Other bills: A LOT; Mental Emancipation: Priceless.
So that’s what was happening outside, but what was happening inside was even more alarming. I can’t even say for sure when my stress levels reached the red zone, but I’m pretty sure it was way before my dad, I was just too busy to pay attention to myself and just active enough to let off enough steam to keep my stress tank from exploding. I had my first, what I now realize was a panic attack on my birthday, which is in August. The first birthday after my dad passed. I don’t even remember what happened. I felt tingly, short of breath, and my neck hurt. I remember standing up to stretch and that’s it. The next thing I knew, my boyfriend was yelling at me to wake up and I had the worst headache. Oh, and my chest felt – bruised. My boyfriend had been there, sitting next to me, the whole time. He said I was crying and wouldn’t talk to him, just sobbing. Then I started hyperventilating and he panicked but I couldn’t or wouldn’t talk to him and then I collapsed. Oh, and I never got up to stretch like I thought I remembered. Weird, right?
After that dam broke, the migraines joined in. Right above my left eyeball, in the brow bone. They were monstrous and fucken frequent, too. I got one, at least, every other day and nothing helped but taking a walk with my headphones on. Dude, I was miserable. That was the darkest time in all my life.
Okay, I have to stop talking about this for now, it’s totally bumming my trip right now and I’ve learned that I can stop most of the melancholy-ish crap if I just stop thinking about it. Easier said than done. I also learned that singing is my whatever the opposite of kryptonite is. So I’m going to leave this story here for now and go sing some karaoke on my new favorite app – SMULE, Sing it! For anyone who’s also musically inclined in the vocal arena, it’s a free karaoke app. I love it. Oh, and I’m Assirek2L2Q if you decide to check it out.
Take care of yourselves. I’ll be back. (Imagine me saying it in the Terminator- Schwartzeneggar voice, it’s funnier).
Oh, and before I go, remember this: