Saturday, February 20, 2016

Brain Jam: When Anxiety Throws a Party



This will be a short post because I'm probably too anxious to even finish it. 

I was sitting outside, smoking the butt ends of old cigarettes (I'm trying my best not to buy another pack), when it dawned on me that anxiety is perhaps the least savory part of mental illness. It's not like there are savory parts, really (Oooo, I just LOVE that can't-get-out-of-bed-but-perhaps-a-bus-will-hit-me-today vibe), but some parts are more palatable than others.

Artist's rendition of smoking the old butt ends of cigarettes, actual photo too graphic, especially for non-smokers.


Today I was so anxious I felt like I had the flu. In fact, had I been able to throw up, I would have felt better. Now, being that this is definitely not my first rodeo, I've got tools in my arsenal, like Xanax, that are supposed to help take the edge off when anxiety really gets going. But, for some reason, I am somewhat stubborn at using these tools. Or, I at least like to ladder up to them.

So today I went running for four miles (on a treadmill, still a little too messy for an outside run), and I think between miles two and three I stopped thinking about thinking (thinking about thinking is sort of what anxiety feels like for me). 

But then I stopped running and I went into the sauna and then into the steam room and - I wish I could go back and stop myself now - tried to meditate. I sit on the bench with sweat pouring down my face and I try to think about not thinking. I try counting. I try looking at the various shades of brown in the wood paneling. I think about how nice it is to inhale eucalyptus. And then I start thinking about my car, and my gut, and my relationship, and my house, and my toe nails, and my hair, and my junk food eating, and my dead dad, and my bills, and my future job, and the...and my...and the...and my... and, and, and, and...

The thoughts. They just don't stop.

Artist's rendition of Bipolar Dragon doing jazzercise inside my mind for eight hours straight.


I drove home and moved on to more serious tactics. I drank a beer. This helped for a minute or two but, to be honest I am one of the lucky ones who does not get mental comfort from alcohol. I say "lucky ones" completely non-funny because it's a fact that many, many people who struggle with mental illness turn to alcohol for support and that is bad news bears. 

Once my beer was history and the afternoon light was starting to wane, I decided it was time to give up and take a Xanax. As I mentioned, I rarely take them; I'm not a good "as needed" type of medicine taker. 

So I took the Xanax, laid on the couch to read, and promptly passed out (you are really not supposed to ever mix alcohol and Xanax and I don't and I am just putting that in here in case you were worried).

I woke up on the couch, I cancelled my plans for the night (still have a glowing brain of toxic dump waste Anxiety, makes it super tedious to be social even though, yes, I KNOW I SHOULD BE SOCIAL, so I am writing a blog, duh), and I sat outside smoking the butt ends of cigarettes and decided I would write about this to you.

Ok. Let's call this done. I'm off to buy some Skittles and I will seriously consider not buying a new pack of cigarettes and will continue to try to just stick with using my vaporizer. 

I said "seriously consider"
Susan




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