That is what my therapist told me. He said I had the tools now to handle life, and the nasty tricks my brain plays on me. I hope he is right, because I can tell I am headed towards a rough patch.
Funny how quickly my brain can turn on me. Just a few days ago, I was filled with joy and happiness, galivanting through France. I celebrated my birthday by feeling bone-deep gratitude for my life and my friends and family. Just 3 sleeps ago, I spent a sunny day at the pool watching a bunch of 4 year olds and their silly shenanigans (seriously? how do children do it? They found HOURS of fun running around a fountain and playing with foam toys in a foot of water!) and I thought my heart would burst with the simple sweetness of it all.
And then the reality of my life kicked in. Anxious about my performance at my job, feeling swamped like I can’t successfully tread water, always getting sucked down by deep currents of a work-flow I can’t keep up with but ought to be able to. I clench my Ritalin bottle, and pray those pills do their magic, and wonder why they don’t – maybe I am stupid, afterall. My room is a mess. My dating life is “interesting”. I feel my personal life start to slip out from under me – too many important errands that I can’t seem to get to, anxiety piling up like the piles of unfolded clothes on my bed. The aftermath of Brexit, the horrors of Trump’s utterances, Turkey. No happy puff pieces in the news – only pics of Kim Kardashian’s cleavage. I used to pride myself on appreciating the simple moments in life, like those kids playing in the pool, but its been 3 days and I can’t see any happiness anywhere. Worse, when I look at little videos of those children playing, the same videos that made me so happy a few days ago, I am filled with apprehension of how badly our planet, with its all its problems, will wreck those childrens’ lives. Talk about a flip-flop in world-view!
I recognize the signs – my is brain throwing all the colorful filters out the window, and drenching everything in shades of grey and anxiety.
So I look into my tool box:
- Ritalin. To regulate my concentration, and impulse control. It isn’t working, or else the side-effect of increased anxiety is undoing any impact on my ADD.
- Exercise. My therapist told me to never go more than 2 days without exercising – to view it as seriously as medication, that without it I would eventually need to medicate my brain’s inability to keep my emotions in check. Funny that when I need exercise the most, I feel like doing it the least. I get paralyzed by all that I have to do at work, and working out feels like a vanity. I blink, and 3 hours have gone by with nothing to show for it other than crippling anxiety about my unproductivity, and I stay late at the office to try make up for it, and skip my workout.
- Diet. A well regulated diet, without too much sugar, helps keep my mood swings at bay. Like any female, anywhere, when I am emotional, I live off of bread, chocolate, and alcohol. Not because that is healthy, but because my soul demands it in exchange for not burning the world to the ground.
- Friends. When I get into my funk, the last thing I want to do is to inflict my moodiness on any of my friends – besides, they are all so busy with their lives, they don’t have time for this.
- Writing. I have writer’s block.
- Sleep. Anxiety takes care of that, real good. I flip-flop between insomnia and overwhelming fatigue, and needing 12 hours a night.
My tool box looks feeble. I wish it looked like Batman’s bat cave.
So I am going to knuckle down, and make a list, and do breathing exercises to stop myself from crying at the sheer length of it. And then I am going to tackle one thing at a time. I will go exercise one hour a day, even when I don’t want to. I’ll eat a veggie or two. And I will pray that this will pass.