Monday, 5 August 2019

Twenty Fifteen

I keep starting and stopping posts in my head.  I think through what I might say as I'm lying in bed some nights and then I wake up and hope the time will magically become right to write it all out or that the inspirational moment will POW show up but... it doesn't, or it hasn't and I keep sort of "hearing" the same first line in my head....

About this exact time in the Summer of 2015 I had no idea my life was about to almost completely unravel.

It was a busy summer, which I'm sure I wrote about at the time.  C-Dawg got married, then my parents took my whole family on a cruise (my first), and all at the same time I was getting to know Max (online) and finding myself really interested and hopeful about meeting him and the wedding was right before the cruise and then I came back from the cruise and was heading out to Burning Man not only to meet Max (and hopefully connect the way we both thought we might) but to take one of my oldest, dearest friends and I probably didn't mention but work had been pretty darn difficult the last while (don't talk about work!) and the wedding was wonderful, the cruise was beautiful but stressful and the drive down to Burning Man I was so worried and anxious about Max and everything but that ended up being amazing too.

I was so happy at the end of that August, and then I came back to work and life and the shortening days of the Pacific Northwest and I guess the best way I can come up with to say it is that I got sick.

I got sick?  I got sick.  I got really sick.  I was really unwell. 

I suppose it was one of those things that both did and didn't sneak up on me.  I'm not sure how many illnesses are truly sudden... a broken bone perhaps, although that's not quite an "illness"... so if we say that I became ill I'm not sure we'd put it all on the Fall of 2015, but I would say that that's when things got really acute... really bad enough that all the ignoring in the world wasn't working.

I'd have to look back and see what I wrote about things at the time.  I know I talked about Burning Man and my relationship with Max and I would imagine that as I was recounting all the best of that is when I was doing increasingly poorly in my day to day.

I can tell you now that I was having panic attacks.  I wouldn't have been able to tell you that then because I didn't know.  I just know that everything was awful.  I had to force myself to do things... to get out of the car and walk into work... to do the things I've done for years at work... to keep up that "everything's ok" mask/facade/truth that I apparently do oh so well.

Before that Fall, the only time I'd had anything close to what I now know as anxiety or panic attacks would be when I had a hard time thinking about getting on a flight after getting very ill just in time for a long, cramped flight home from wherever.  Or after my car accident when I had some form of PTSD and driving was really really scary for a while. 

I got counselling (therapy I suppose if we're technical?) at the time after that accident and it helped and I went back to therapy when my Dad got sick with his heart stuff because it was hard facing the mortality of my parents and I've gone to counselling on and off for most of my adult life for this and that... breakups, relationship struggles, figuring stuff out, but I hadn't *needed* it in a long while, I was doing ok, if not wonderfully.

And then I wasn't.

I remember sometime, probably in October (?) thinking to myself that things weren't "ok".  I was getting dizzy (although that doesn't quite describe it)  I was taking herbs that I'd talked to my acupuncturist about (GABA, skullcap) and it felt like I was self medicating and that it wasn't doing enough.  I'm not sure I can remember all the other things I was experiencing but at some point at the end of October 2015, at least a part of me knew I was pretty damn unwell, and I booked a couple of days off and went in to see my doctor.

I must have gotten an appointment near the end of her (my doctor's) day and not even known it because by the time I got out of that appointment (she had a LOT of questions for me and some checklists and I had no notion of time I just knew that I didn't feel good and that I was scared at how my body and mind were acting and how I was feeling) her office staff only had one person left and they seemed surprised to see me.  I might have been in there a half hour?  An hour?  I don't know.  I just know that she all but insisted that I take some time off of work and that, to me, seemed like the worst possible idea and the end of the world.

And this is where things got extra tricky for me here.  As in *here* at this blog.

Because I don't talk about work. For a number of reasons.  And so here I was about to take a break (?) from work (I thought maybe a week?) and I didn't want to and so wasn't able to talk about it here.

I mentioned to Jason that I didn't know what to do about talking about things here and he said that I absolutely should not talk about things, especially not work and the situation with my health so I suddenly had nothing I felt I was safe to talk about.

Fortunately for us here, Max then ended our relationship (without knowing I was unwell or had been told to take time off) and so I was able to write about that for a while but then things just sort of... became off limits.  Again, I would have to go back through archives to see what all came out of my mouth at the time (or ok, not mouth but hands but you get the point) but it was really an added discomfort not to be able to "journal and diary" in the one place I had been for years and years.

I'm not sure it helped, but it's the choice I made at the time.

I wish now that I *had* written about it.  Because I'd like to be able to look back and see how far I've come.  I'd like to be able to read through just how things were then and maybe even how they progressed, but it was all too big and too scary and too potentially damaging to do so.

Which is why I've ended up here, in 2019 with a blog that drifted far away from being my place to talk and vent and think and grow.

I'm trying to get it back.  I'm still scared and wary and nervous of doing or saying the wrong thing here.  I appreciate those of you who've stuck by through the... nothing.  And I appreciate those of you who are around, even if just from time to time.  I know you care.  I both feel and read your support and it is a gift I cherish.

I hope this post is a catalyst for me to talk and share.  I've been trying to for a while now, with hints and fits and starts and what do they call it... meta blogging, and vague...blogging.  I'm still trying to balance privacy and actual literal smarts (because there are a ton of reasons I don't talk about work and I'm not going to start now) with honesty and truth and talking through and journalling.

Life is a long, strange, trip, they say... I'm hoping to get back to talking more openly about this part of mine.


Jason Langlois said...

I wonder what it is about travel that maybe is the trigger for this kind of thing. For me, a similar thing seemed to trigger things... I was on a trip for work doing a course, but after each session I would return to the hotel room and just collapse into what I later found out was a panic attack.

And similar stuff - came home, got therapy, ended up taking time off work, took medication, had a relationship end.

But I got through it, and I have faith you will get through it too.

Victoria said...


I wonder if it's the... *different*, as in you're out of your space and comfort and "normal"?

Travel is usually stressful at best.

Happydog said...

I’ve been dealing with ramped up anxiety this last year. Depression I’ve had before and I get a touch of it now and again but anxiety is new for me. Therapy and meds seem to help but it’s been a journey for sure! I hope you can get back to blogging that makes you happy. In the meantime I’m here bearing witness even if I don’t comment all the time.

Jonathan said...

I guess I'm guilty of being one of those that come and go - but then that's true of me with all blogs these days. I'm going through almost the same adventure with our eldest daughter at the moment - rebuilding her on a regular basis (or at least trying to - it seems to be a huge game of trial and error).

Your blog has always been the one I tell people to go read if they are thinking of starting blogging, because it's been so consistently truthful, thoughtful, personal, and you never sold out - you never went after a niche. You're just you - you've always been kind of my inspiration for my own blog :)

Victoria said...

Thanks HD, sounds like we've got a similar story.... *hugs*

Thanks J, and I do hope that things continue to improve for your eldest, it's not easy!