Dear Interweb,

I am writing to you in the midst of some hefty anxiety.  I thought it might be helpful to get some therapeutic writing done, and for the readers out there to have a look into the other side of things.  What it feels like physically is a vaguely woozy head, like after holding your breath or standing up too quickly.  My limbs feel like lead.  I’m slouched in my computer chair, still able to move my fingers quickly enough to type, but the rest of me is completely still.  When you factor in the ADHD, that’s highly unusual.  Normally I’m tapping or jiggling a foot, running a song through my head and ghost-playing it on my piano.  Right now, though, everything is cold and still.  There is no song in my head.  It’s just the tap dance of the keyboard.  My chest feels constricted and heavy, too, like there’s an Olympic shot balanced on my sternum.  I’m able to take a deep breath if I consciously think about it, and that helps for a moment, but it makes my head feel weird.  I feel exhausted, like I could sleep for hours, but I know my thoughts would prevent that from happening.  ‘Shouldn’t you be working on one of your projects for class?  Why haven’t you started researching yet?  How dare you spend time blogging!  Why didn’t you blog more recently? You’re behind your ideal schedule.’  These thoughts and more run on a loop and almost all of them at once, over and over.  My mouth is dry, but that could be from the medication. 

This state occurs more frequently than I would like, at least a couple times a week.  It takes a while to recover and move on to more productive tasks and thoughts.  I’m a little proud of myself for putting the clean dishes away just before sitting down to write.  ‘Just these mugs right here, then I can stop if I want.  Just a few more pieces of silverware, that’s it.’  Because sometimes I need a pep talk to get through emptying the dishwasher.

This post is not all down, though!  The end of the tunnel is right around the bend (this is the bend).  Additional thoughts in my head are things my therapist has said.  They include, ‘What CAN I do right now?’ and ‘Behavior affects how we feel.’  It’s the old fake-it-until-you-make-it, which for some reason irritates the crap out of me.  I much prefer the other statements.  All the books I’ve read say that even just getting up, taking a shower, or getting dressed can change our mood and our mindset for the better.  I’m writing now because it’s a behavior that has positive outcomes, unlike curling up on the couch staring at nothing until my husband gets back from his jog. 

My desk sits against a wall, and I’ve recently added some sticky notes with affirmations to the wall.  One says, “I am learning and practicing ways to tolerate and move through difficult symptoms.”  I’m making progress.  Acknowledging what’s there, naming it, identifying it, observing it – it’s like turning on the light after a nightmare.  The chair is just a chair.  The heaviness in my limbs is a result of a chemical change in my brain and it will pass. 

I’ve just shifted my posture to be less slumped and my feet are now flat on the floor.  I’m breathing slowly.  A scripture comes to mind, let’s see if I can source it… Here we go, Matthew 6:34.  The King James Version has it as “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  If you prefer modern English, the New International Version says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has trouble enough of its own.”  Again, whatever your (or my) belief system is, this is a helpful thought.  My tape loop has things on it from yesterday, tomorrow, next week, etc.  What’s on it from today?  Well, honestly, not a whole lot.  I’ve made preparations for the future; that verse is not saying to ignore the rest of time.  But it is a reminder to be mindful.  What about today?  What about now?  Where are you right now?  What can you smell, hear, see?  What is the temperature?  What must be done today, and what is a care that may be left for another day?

We can’t change the past and we can’t know the future.  I’m guilty of living in both of those places and ignoring what’s right in front of me.  In front of me at this moment is you.  Hello, human.  Thank you for being here.  Let’s find some gratitude together – what can you appreciate at this moment?  Are you comfortable?  Are you in the presence of someone you like?  Are and am are important.  Not were, not was, not will be, may be, should be, could be.  Are.  Am.  Now.  Thank you for working through this tough moment with me – I appreciate you.  I see your struggle and applaud your efforts.  Way to go!

 

How did you get through a tough spot in the last week?  What strategies did you use?    

Published by Andrea S