Thursday, September 01, 2016

Midlife crisis, seasonal change and other causes of crisis.

It's an interesting moment when you realize, "Hey, I know what this is. This is a mid-life crisis." It's like all these factors are combining into a white-knuckling, grinding-of-teeth perfect storm.

Or maybe it's that fall is beginning. I love fall. I love the smell of decaying leaves all around, the school supplies — "bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils." However fall brings with it some sort of memory that I don't remember. Out of nowhere there is a pit in my stomach and it feels like my heart is breaking. I don't fight it off, that's just an exercise in futility. I accept that, for a couple of weeks out of each year, my brain goes into fight-or-flight mode at a higher level than usual. My BPD switch is easier to flip and if I start crying, I may not stop.

I'm grateful for movie theaters and other distractions that release this feeling of an anvil on my chest. I work hard to stay mindful, to soak up and enjoy every hilarious thing my children say and do, and hope they can't read my eyes and see what is happening behind my surface grin.

I now realize that exercise -- in addition to being something I should do for a variety of important reasons -- is as necessary to my mental state as my Lexapro. I'm officially making a schedule for workouts and sticking to it. Two weeks of exercise (about 3-4 days a week) keep my anxiety at bay. I get "too busy" with life and after 7 days, I'm a fucking mess. Total fucking mess.

I over analyze every goddamn heartbeat (was that too fast? too slow? to close to the previous one?), every ache and pain (my throat feels funny, am I getting sick again?), every weak feeling (do I have a heart condition? is this a stroke coming?). Want to know what anxiety is? It's knowing full damn well that nothing is wrong, but constantly being reminded by your brain that something COULD be wrong. And if that's the case, your brain will not let you think of anything else. Your brain will not let you focus on the grocery list or the sink of dishes that are not washed or how much time you are wasting, worrying. You picture the worst happening. You picture yourself collapsing, the older of the two children in the house grabbing the phone and calling 9-1-1 (you have a landline specifically for them to use in an emergency). You worry about your youngest, who has just endured a year of crippling anxiety and what this will lead to. You worry you won't be there to lead her through her next bout of crippling anxiety.

And all this happens before breakfast.