Fear of Relapse

Yesterday was shit.

It started well enough. A dream that made me laugh as soon as I woke up, which instantly created a good mood.

Then seeing my husband’s self-inflicted pain made me sad. Even though I steeled myself to ignore it, the damage was done and the good mood, lost.

A friend that lives in another state was having something of a mental health crisis related to her chronic ill health, which I couldn’t help alleviate, comfort or distract. She receives medical care, but facing the symptoms and how much work she had to do just to function at a minimal level was making her feel that existence was futile.

This whiff of suicidal ideation from her triggered the worst anxiety I’ve had in months. By the time she seemed to be back on a more even keel my anxiety had settled in for the rest of the day.

I don’t experience panic attacks, which is a silver lining, but the chest pain and feeling that there’s some threat I need to run from, while anywhere I run will only lead to doom, is still very obnoxious.

The day then proceeded to hand out a thousand papercuts of annoyance and frustration, and none of my usual sources for at least some minor happy chemicals were panning out.

A group I recently joined on FB did not appreciate my gallows humor. It’s unlikely I’m going to be a good fit there, and the feeling of loneliness that came with that realization certainly didn’t help.

My crush didn’t talk to me at all yesterday, which wouldn’t matter if I didn’t have a crush in the first place, making this whole ‘happy chemicals from interacting with a crush’ thing a double-edged sword. Cue more loneliness and anxiety.

My older sons went to the pool in the afternoon, which meant I couldn’t leave and spend time by myself because there was no one else to be present for the girls. It sure helps a feeling of being trapped and needing to run to actually be trapped by circumstance.

I tried writing, and that didn’t help, either.

My husband felt oppressively present. He calls every day while on his break, which I hadn’t really minded before, but now that we’ve got smartphones he also messages me throughout the day. While home, he’s constantly wanting to know ‘is this okay’ about everything.

I’ve told him repeatedly that normal, every day interaction is okay. Constantly asking me if I’m okay is not okay, could you please knock that off? He has yet to knock that off.

I’ve realized one of the reasons it annoys me so damn much to have him inquiring after the state of my health – emotional, mental or physical – is because it makes me feel like he’s asking ‘are you better yet? When can we go back to the way things were? When can I feel comfortable again?’

I thought it was pretty clear when I first delivered my ultimatum that things can’t ever go back to the way they were, that we both have to find a place to exist together, where both of us feel some comfort and happiness, for this to have any chance of working.

Given how often I’ve been clear in the past, only to find out he failed to listen or understand, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised if that failed to get through.

After my husband arrived home, he immediately migrated to the bedroom to hang out with me. I let him know I was planning to listen to music and rest, but he stayed and napped, adding the stress of his presence.

Closing my eyes and listening to sad, despairing songs helped give me the jolt I needed to stay just above paralyzing despair, though. I know it might seem strange and counter-intuitive, but I’ll react badly to happy songs while I’m anxious, stressed and depressed – songs that match my mood can actually be calming and even, in their own way, uplifting – as if for a moment they’re taking and holding my sadness for me.

Desperate to get out of the house and away, after supper I ended up heading to Goodwill to shop for jeans. I’ve slowly lost a little weight – the silver lining of stress reducing my appetite. It’s created the equivalent of portion control for long enough that now I can’t eat as much as I could. It’s also left my pants & shorts annoyingly loose.

There have been times in the past where I had to try on 20 pairs of jeans just to find a couple that fit and were cute. This time, 3 of the first 5 I tried worked, and I was in and out in 20 minutes. Going from a size 12 to a size 10 felt good, though still bad, because I was a size 6 before four pregnancies ruined my amazing metabolism that let me eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. (I’m bitter about that, too.)

Ordinarily, getting shopping done that quickly would have been fantastic, but I had wanted the errand to be lengthy and keep me from the house longer than that. I hadn’t planned for any other stops, and anxiety was making the idea of a spontaneous trip to some other location sound as bad as just going home.

I closed out the day on a note of solace, though. I took my youngest for a walk after 9pm, and she was awed and appreciative of walking after dark with all the fireflies sparking in the night. Beauty has always been very important to me, and I’m happy to see my offspring capable of seeing and appreciating it, and being able to express that appreciation.

After returning her home to go to bed, the older three went with me to the edge of the park to watch the fireflies as well. The solace of loving and appreciating my offspring as people is bittersweet, though, because I’m keenly aware that if I choose to end my marriage, it’s going to cause them pain.

They won’t be able to understand why this life has been so tormenting to me.

I’m not feeling the chest-tightening anxiety today, but I am feeling quite a lot of sadness, still – with nothing in particular to look forward to that might alleviate it. We’ve got dental appointments this morning, and a social outing with my husband this evening.

I guess I’m just going to be treading water, so to speak, and will hope that my brain has the capacity to rise above this before I end up in another major depression.

I’m so close to major change. I just need to hang on.

2 thoughts on “Fear of Relapse

  1. Is there a specific type of group you’re looking for on FB? Because I just so happen to know of a really great community that’s based around all things geek but everyone is incredibly supportive, kind, snarky, and accepting. There’s also quite an abundance of us that deal with mental health issues; it’s really helped me quite a bit.

    ANYWAY it’s called Geek Chat 1 if you’re interested. Also, I swear it’s not a cult, I just really love the community 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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