Anxiety and My Body

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.

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I’ll Never Be Good Enough

And so today I was told, not strictly in these words, that I am not good enough.

I was told some positive things, too, but the entire feeling whilst being spoken to was that I am not good enough. Tell someone they are good at 10 things, but that they are still not good enough, and you have a very upset person on your hands.

I don’t understand what more I can do. I will never be perfect, that I can accept. But I am told so many conflicting things – you need a work-life balance; you should get this list of 100000 things done and we expect you to use your weekend to do it OR ELSE.

My brain is a whirlwind at present and I am struggling to process these demands. I am struggling, in general. I cannot admit to the crippling anxiety, which only makes it worse and continues to intensify my depression. To admit it is to make it an issue. And to make it an issue will only add to the reasons I am not good enough. A vicious cycle, with no way out.

Music helps. I listen to a lot of music. And I mean listen. I like words, so I pay attention to the lyrics of the songs I love. And sometimes I wonder how anyone gets anywhere in life. Nobody is good enough. My favourite lyric at the moment comes from Lower Than Atlantis and goes “I’ve been living life inside my head with no one to turn to, now it’s too late and I’m to far gone.” I think the song is actually about being on tour and hating it because the band have been away for so long, but it is easy to relate these words to depression. Later in the song, the lyric “And if all you need to know is that I’m fine, maybe I’ll lie to save some time,” is used, and it resonates so deeply. So often I just say I’m fine, and I really am not.

This post has been significantly more muddled than my previous ones, but I suppose this is an honest representation of my current mental state. Muddled. Once again, horrible thoughts of razor blades slashed their way through my head, but it was only tears which flowed today, and they didn’t even last as long. I feel a bit better than I have been doing, and I feel a little more hopeful for the end of this depressive period. We shall see.

And maybe one day I’ll feel like I’m good enough.

Drowning

Today it feels like I am drowning.

Drowning is a strange feeling. Drowning in a non-tangible thing feels like a sham. Drowning in thoughts and emotions, as well as drowning in my work. I have nowhere to turn; all around me is this stickiness and I can’t breathe. It seeps into my nostrils and down my throat. I can’t breathe.

I am isolated in my drowning. There is nowhere to go, nobody to help. I try to push up for air, but the more I try, the more intense the feeling. Every attempt to make it better adds to my workload or makes me feel worse.

I am 23 and today I cried because I want my mum. I am cut off by the miles between us and the lack of time my pool of work steals. I want someone who understands and can look after me. But she doesn’t see me struggling. Nobody sees me struggling because I have to appear to be strong. In doing so, I drown further.

Tonight I could have wished for the bathwater I soaked myself in, to try and alleviate the stickiness, to take me. I did not. Death is futile. To literally drown would be to give in. The dread and the guilt that even considering doing so cripples me. I would let so many people down.

And so I continue to drown.

Thoughts Fueled By Anxiety and Self-Loathing

All I do all day is try my best.

I try my best to make it look as though I can totally handle anything being thrown my way. I try my best to be my best self. I try my best.

My best is not good enough.

Today my best intentions were useless. Today I failed. Today I left work with images of a noose around my neck; of a blade cutting my arm; of a world without me in it. And my anxiety and self-loathing fueled thoughts validated these. And as I sit and write this, I am doing all I can not to make any of these reality.

The logical part of my brain understands that sometimes things just don’t go right. But the illogical part says that everything is my fault and I don’t deserve to have the things I have. It also says that I deserve to wear the scars of my faults. That I ought to hurt myself to validate the hurt in my head. Because it isn’t validated until it is visible to other people.

Luckily my logical brain is (just about) winning the argument. It would be stupid and useless to hurt myself. No good would come of it. I wouldn’t be able to do my job. I would let so many more people down in doing that than in any of my other actions. It would look pathetic and it would achieve nothing. It would do nothing to improve my faults. It wouldn’t make it better.

But what can make it better?

Nothing I do is ever good enough. Or, if it is, it is not acknowledged. It is so easy to pick faults in others, but I think it is so much easier to pick faults in yourself. For every one thing other people think I can’t do right, I’m fairly sure I can list at least another 10 things.

I won’t list them, it would begin to get too personal (“paha, as if it isn’t already,” says the voice in my head).

I wish I felt safe. I wish I felt like I was good enough. I wish I was better at my job. I wish I was kinder to myself. I wish things would get better. It’s a constant 2 steps forward and 3 steps back.

I wish I could feel happy again.