Dear readers whose stardust is hopefully well contained within them,
This weekend I was incredibly productive…well, sort of. You see, anxiety is a strange creature. Often times it is crippling and leaves me practically petrified, unable to function at even the most basic levels. As I often describe, it feels like my brain is short circuiting. Severe anxiety causes me periods of excruciating mental and physical pain and even on rare occasions triggers my Vasovagal Syncope (click the blue stuff if you don’t know what that is), which as a result causes me to lose consciousness. I was relieved a few years ago when after a syncopal episode, I was talking to a nurse and she described it the exact same way. “Your brain is short circuiting and then restarts, literally like your computer,” she told me, to which I wanted to reply, “oh thank god, someone actually gets it.”
On the other hand (or other lobe, since we’re talking about a mental disorder I suppose) my anxiety can also make me feel as if my body is overflowing with energy that I have no way to expend. While I am forever thankful that I am self ambulatory, my body is very fragile and somewhat weak, even when I feel like Dr. Frankenstein himself has put me on his operating table to electrocute me back to life. My mind is overwhelmed with energy yet I cannot be as physically active as I wish; I can’t jump around and dance like I used to, let alone walk medium length distances at once. Though believe me, I wiggle with ferocity.
When my mind is screaming, “let’s compete in a triathlon!” and my body replies, “bitch, please,” I am left alone with my anxiety and frustration. On my better days I do yoga and try to be as active as possible, but on the worst days nothing ever seems to be enough. Some days I am bedridden completely. Though I try my hardest not to, the feeling that I have too much inside me that I can’t get out makes me feel like I’m ready to explode. In order to prevent myself from turning into Negasonic Teenage Warhead with perpetual resting bitch face, this weekend I took the route of doing as much as I was capable of until I burned myself out. However I somehow became so anxious and restless that even Methcarbomal, the muscle relaxant I take to ease my nerve and muscle pain, couldn’t get me to sleep.
Saturday morning, I woke up at 8 a.m, cleaned out my fridge and did the dishes. Then I folded the laundry, did Yoga, painted my nails and after Aaron came home, we set sail to one of my very favorite events in St. Louis: The Strange Folk Art Festival. We walked about, I got a few adorable thingies, we saw our friends, and we returned home. by 4 p.m. I thought I was done for as I plopped into bed. My body ached and I could barely keep my eyes open. All I wanted was sleep, yet despite my “Time to Chill” playlist and the fact that I had burritoed myself with my blanket, I could not sleep. I wiggled, I squeaked, I plumped pillows and rolled all over the bed to find a comfortable position. Nothing.
Once I lost my battle with sleep I got up to make dinner, then cleaned the rest of the kitchen and the bathroom. My physical energy was entirely depleted, yet my mental energy was still at an all time high. No matter what, I could not win. Finally at about 11:30pm, after another hour of tossing and turning, I was finally surrendering to the Sandman (not the Neil Gaiman one, the cute one from Rise of the Guardians…just to be clear). I was pleased about this, until I woke up at 6:30am Monday morning. Balls!
I cannot tell you how often I’ve done this exact routine, and it never gets easier. I feel similarly to Jean Grey from X-Men, fighting to contain power that I wasn’t made to hold. Dramatic, right? I’m certain I’m not the only chronically ill person to go through periods such as these. It seems in this situation there really is only two options. You can physically exhaust yourself to the brink of destruction in hopes that your mind will become exhausted as well. Though if it doesn’t, you’re usually left feeling more anxious and frustrated. Or, you can constantly go up and down; you do a little here and there, rest for a bit, then do a little more and repeat. However, I’m starting to notice that option can be extremely mentally aggravating to me more often than not, and it causes me to be more sluggish and discouraged rather than productive.
Sometimes I imagine myself as a robot with a computer in my head that is incompatible with the rest of my hardware. It is endlessly exhausting to be at war with my entire being at all times. Even when I do figure out what’s best for me, the routine is often interrupted by sudden illness and unexpected pain that lasts anywhere from days to months. I’m infuriated even more when I overexert myself, thinking that I am capable of more than I really am only to be fraught with pain by the end of the day. What’s a sick girl to do?
Of course there are activities I partake in to try to quell the madness. Reading, video games, writing, and other less physically tasking things, but even still my mind feels insatiable. Suffering from chronic illness can make me feel as if nothing I do is ever satisfactory, because no matter what it is, I still feel like I should be doing more. I’ve never known a day that wasn’t painful. I may never experience a day like that, but if anything I keep hoping and striving towards a day where I’m living my best and am at my happiest despite my pain and inability to get out my energy. I think that’s entirely possible, even if I’m not sure how exactly I’ll get there.
Chronically ill humans, do you ever feel like you have more energy than you can release? Do you ever feel like you’re going to just burst? How do you handle it? Do you ever feel like a plastic bag? Wait…that last one was Katy Perry, not me. Leave your comments below!
I guess what I’m trying to say, is I need the deep end,
Keep imagining meeting, wished away, entire lifetimes,
Unfair we’re not somewhere misbehaving for days,
Great escape, lost track of time and space,
She’s a silver lining, climbing on my desire,
And I go crazy ’cause here isn’t where I wanna be.
And satisfaction feels like a distant memory.
And I can’t help myself,
All I wanna hear her say is are you mine?