Resisting The Urge To Run Away
I know I haven’t been posting as much as usual lately. Well, I’ve got a few things I need to admit. First, it isn’t that I’ve forgotten about my blog, or that I’ve just had nothing to say. I have plenty I want to say, but lately I’ve been struggling with words and can’t figure out how to say what’s really going on with me. Part of me is still in denial that this is going on. Even after all the steps, life changes, positive attitudes, self-talks, and yoga poses, I’m still struggling with anxiety.
I just spent a week at home, and my boyfriend James came with me. I spent most of my time with him and my sister, and we really had a fairly relaxing time. And through it all, I still found myself getting anxious about silly little things and at odd moments when I knew there was no threat. And still I felt fear course through my veins as my mind started to whirl. I would get light headed, and have to plant my feet firmly to try to ground myself and keep calm. I would try to distract myself from my thoughts, fighting the urge to run away. Always the urge to run away.
If you don’t have anxiety, this probably sounds insane. Why would a person suddenly start panicking when there is no clear threat to them? What makes my head spin and the ground feel like it’s about to slip out from under my feet? Why am I plagued by feeling of inadequacy and guilt no matter how good my life is or how much I accomplish? I don’t have the answers to these questions, and I’m still trying to learn more about myself in hopes of finding a lifelong cure.
Tonight has been the roughest day in a long time. My stomach has been in knots that developed into sharp pains, and I feel sick. My head is achy, my back is sore, and I can’t decide if I’m boiling or icy cold. I feel like my body is physically broken. And even though I’m worried about getting sick, I know it’s all from anxiety. Anxiety is impressive in how terrible it can make you feel. And no matter what I try, I can’t seem to make it go away. Sitting here writing to you is helping me, though, so if you’re still with me, I’d like to take a second to explain why I’m so anxious.
If you haven’t been reading my story and are just checking in now, this might seem like a massive overreaction to life. I don’t know why some people can handle huge amounts of stress and others become anxious and panicky. I don’t know what the last straw is that turns anxiety into a full-blown panic attack. I’ve had panic attacks, and I’m scared of the next time I’ll have one. I’m no stranger to fainting, having fainted about 20 times in my life for various reasons. Mostly panic attacks, I now see, but when it was happening only once or twice a year since I was about 13, it was never diagnosed. It wasn’t until I moved my whole life to a new city far from home to go to school and live by myself that it got out of hand. And even though it was scary to feel much worse all the time, my constant state of fear eventually led to a doctor telling me I sound anxious and should look into anxiety treatment. Giving my fear a name was scary to me, but it allowed me to look into solutions. And through those solutions, I’ve found some relief.
I’m in the military, but that has never led me to unreasonable amounts of anxiety before. September will mark my fourth year of service to Canada. That in itself should be considered an accomplishment. Still, it’s not all roses. Tomorrow I’m flying to the East coast to start my military contract, and I probably won’t be coming home until the end of August. It’s going to be a long contract, and to be honest, I’m fucking terrified. Last year I fainted during one of the shows because it was hot and I was dehydrated. Now every time I’m out on parade I get anxious, worrying it will happen again. I know logically that that is unlikely, and I make sure to always eat and drink water before a parade. Still… the fear lingers…
I can’t let anxiety run my life. I’m ashamed to admit I have a problem with it, but I do. I haven’t told my parents about my struggles because I don’t want them worrying about me. I’m scared of my upcoming contract, but I refuse to back out. Running away won’t make me less fearful. I’m glad I have James to talk to when I’m anxious. He lets me cry into his chest when I need to, but at the same time he encourages me to get back out there and face my fears. I don’t know how this contract will go, and I don’t know if my anxiety will be an issue for me. Still, I’m trying. And I will continue trying no matter what, because I love my job and the pride I get out of it. And I’m looking forward to an awesome summer with amazing people. I just sometimes need someone to remind me that I can do this, that I deserve this, that I’m enough.