I haven’t written here in a long time; mostly because I don’t get the urge to write or express myself at all unless I’m in some sort of emotional downturn or I’m really upset about something. Perhaps that’s something I should change, as I have always found writing to be therapeutic if not cathartic. I should preface this entry with the fact that I am struggling today.
Stress has overwhelmed me or ebbed and flowed into my life the last couple of weeks which has wrought hell on my brain and pushed me to levels of overstimulation I never thought possible. It has made me feel weak and useless as well as a failure in my relationships. I guess that’s the combination of learning how to cope with the world over the last two years with way less medication and life choices resulting in a complete alteration in my life. I do not handle change very well. Anxiety is one of the hardest things for me to control.
Waking up this morning feeling like I had been in a car accident probably hasn’t helped my current disposition; or maybe I’m just feeling this way because I’m overstimulated and I’m just feeling the physical manifestations of stress as it affects my body. My shoulders and neck are tense and sore; I feel like I cannot stretch enough to get the range of motion in my body back to a comfortable range. I’ve taken my daily 1mg clonazepam I keep on hand for break-through anxiety now.
Part of me is angry because, as someone who has had to self-advocate for several years regarding mental health, the amount of media attention the suicide of Anthony Bourdain is triggering all sorts of emotional content I can’t process and its overwhelming what little cognitive ability I possesses to camouflage in an office full of neurotypicals. My body temperature is rising, there’s almost a sickness in my gut, and I’m fighting back tears.
What I haven’t told a lot of people is, when I get completely overwhelmed or overstimulated, I cry. Full-on ugly cry. The strange part is I feel no emotional component behind it. I have described it to my SO as like releasing a pressure valve in my brain. Right now, it’s taking all I’ve got not to have a meltdown in my cubicle. I’ve learned in the last few months that I can keep it in check for the most part until I get home. I’ve found myself a few times in my bathroom with the shower on for white noise just letting go.
I’ve mentioned this in blogs before but there is a psychological term pertaining to relationships called “importing scripts”. It’s a cognitive jump-to-conclusions map your brain uses to predict possibly harmful stimuli which a lot of people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and attachment/abandonment issues such as myself develop to protect themselves from being hurt. Also, being high-functioning Autistic (Asperger’s) does not help this because I cannot rely on external cues or an ability to read emotions in others, often leading to projection of my own emotional problems on others. This also raises my anxiety which pushes me towards overstimulation and meltdown.
What’s a meltdown? It’s when I can no longer control whatever storm is raging in my head and I can no longer mitigate the information my brain is unable to filter, which can be any stimulus. Being around people is a huge source of this, but it can also be emotional content. I can fast-track myself with a combination of anger and anxiety and that’s sort of where I am right now. I tend to obsessively think and, when combined with the catastrophic thinking that comes with anxiety, it’s just a bomb waiting to go off. I must ration myself out around people and then I must take time for myself. I hate it because there’s quite frequently a part of me that never wants to leave my apartment again. This makes managing a relationship rather difficult but my SO is very understanding. However, our relationship is not exempt from my chaotic brain. Previous relationships have me believe I’m set up for failure and there are always obstacles with my difficulty with emotional feedback but I’m trying.
I feel like I’m rambling. The point of this post was to get out there how angry I am with myself right now and how angry I am with the population at large for mourning the loss of yet another celebrity suicide when there are plenty of people, including myself, who live with mental health issues every day and our lives do not make headlines. Those I know who have attempted suicide don’t make headlines. Those who have died from chemical dependency don’t get plastered all over Facebook and every news outlet imaginable. They may get a little square in the obituaries section in the newspaper. Those of us who are surviving it all do so with very little praise or encouragement and we shouldn’t have to.
Our country doesn’t care about mental health. It’s not a priority. Half the time, the people close to us don’t really want to hear about our struggles and, when they do, they think you want to be fixed when, in fact, it’s not something we can repair. We take medications that we don’t tell anyone about; we have breakdowns and isolate ourselves because we don’t think anyone will understand. Every day can be a fight or it can always feel like defeat regardless of our efforts.
I have fought my entire adult life for my health, my sanity, and equal treatment as well as my rights as I’m afforded them. You’ve been given a sneak peek into the things I think and endure daily. What are you going to do with that information?