I still feel very low. That probably isn’t news to anyone. I had a couple of weeks off work and I went back and everything rapidly turned back to shit. Amazing. How did I not guess it would happen?
Anyway, in the weeks I’ve not been writing, I’ve been thinking. Which is probably not good. But I’ve had some realisations linked to how anxiety affects my body.
It starts with the impending doom in the pit of my stomach. Like I want to be sick. The guilty feeling that I haven’t done enough and I never will. The mental acrobatics, thinking about how doomed I am and how I can never get anything right. The depression that comes in to tell me I never will get it right and I shouldn’t bother trying. Which the anxiety feeds off. This only serves to intensify the guilt.
After this comes the dermotilomania – biting and picking at my own skin. I’m not much of a nail-biter. I chew the skin around my nails, mostly. Sometimes I go for the knuckles. Often the inside of my cheeks. And in serious moments of relapse, I go for my heels. The skin is thick there. It is much more satisfying to rip a chunk of that off. Remove tiny pieces of myself in the hope that something good will grow back.
By this point, the stomach churning is usually producing some awful effects for my bowels. And so the emptying begins. My body must squeeze it all out. It isn’t fully formed and it smells atrocious. Any nutrients that were awaiting absorption aren’t getting into my body anymore.
As the anxiety stays at a low level for days, or even weeks, my skin begins to break out. Here they are, the white head army, to tell the world I Am Struggling.
And to top it off, the stress from the anxiety manifests itself in my endometriosis (parts of my uterine lining have broken off and live in different parts of my lower abdomen). The pain is intense. No more reaching up high for me. Boohoo.
And so I continue to hate myself. I stop looking after myself – I have already stopped wearing make up to work. What would be the point? Nobody cares how I look. They’re too busy picking up every last fault. Oh, look, she’s done that thing we asked her to, now how about we find something new? Why let her have a moment of pride?
So there you have it. Anxiety has some severe physical effects on my body. I don’t suppose they’re going anywhere anytime soon, either.