This is the most pleasant part (read: in a NOT kind of way) about Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This non-specific anxiety that I’ve been feeling lately is directionless and causeless. I run through the Rolodex of Potential Issues in my head – money? Family? Work? Friends? School? Everything seems to be handled, for the most part. Certainly nothing to feel anxious or upset over, and being busy is actually GOOD for folks with GAD.
The thing is, anxiety throws all of my other emotions out of whack. Laughter can edge over the line into hysterical, tears are closer to the surface, annoyances pop up on the rage radar. I can flip from one extreme to the other with the slightest provocation, and all the while the pterodactyls in my midsection are maintaining the backbeat rhythm.
Music is the push that is swinging the pendulum, at the moment. I was unhappy yesterday (again, nonspecifically), to the point where I could feel pinpricks behind my eyelids. As I’ve learned to do, the little part of my brain kicked in that is reserved for clinical examination and analysis of my emotions, separate from and observing the moment. I realized it kind of felt like homesickness, but I hadn’t been thinking about home… until that thought did make me think of home, and then my nonspecific feelings focused and aimed, which escalated the whole mess… anyway, you see what I’m dealing with here.
I needed to belay that as soon as possible, so my boss wouldn’t give me that look that he has, informing me that my little ways have baffled him once again. Nothing like collapsing in a sobbing mess in your cubicle to make folks question your level of competency.
I’ve uploaded my iTunes library into the cloud (“laaaaaa”) via Google Play (which is AWESOME, so check it out if you haven’t had the chance). This is the first song that played.
I kid you not, within the first five notes my mood swung back to ecstatically happy so fast that I felt the wind in my hair. Again, the clinical part of my brain registered the fact that this mood probably wasn’t any more “real” than the one I had been in just five seconds prior. But since happiness is infinitely easier to tolerate than sadness, the analysis stopped there.
(As an aside, if you haven’t checked out Fun., you should. The band name includes the period, which combined with the banality of their name makes them hard to reference or write about. Their album “Some Night” is completely, utterly awesome. And their music is, actually, fun.)
There are days when I deal with this anxiety better than others. Sometimes that gets narrowed down to the number of hours that I’ve successfully “handled it”, and a “good day” constitutes one in which there are more calm hours than manic hours. There are days when I just throw up my hands and wallow, drink (probably too much) and eat things that are very bad for me, bury myself in a movie or a book, and ignore ALL THE THINGS. I can’t just let it go like that, though, because the anxiety train gains impetus the longer I ignore it. Then THAT turns into WORRYING ABOUT WORRYING, which is just batshit crazy.
I’ve been to therapy a couple of times for GAD. Contrary to what some folks may think about mental health care, you don’t at any point become “cured”. There is no “fix”, you are strictly there to learn coping mechanisms, better ways to avoid your triggers, and get medication if things are bad enough. Then you are released back into the world to put those tools into place that your therapist so carefully tried to get you to instill into your own psyche.
When she told me, quite a few years ago now, that one of my “tools” should be to write about what I was feeling, I laughed and told her it wouldn’t be an issue. Apparently, many folks balk at the thought of keeping a journal… well, hi there. Going on twelve years, my lovelies! With a lifetime of composition books before life began on the internet. So, no problemo.
And it does help. It does. I feel more grounded now than I did when I started this entry. And that’s the point. There is nothing to “solve” and nothing to “fix”.
Re-balance and move on. That’s my mantra.
I should make T-shirts.