Perhaps it's wrong to say I didn't see this one coming; a more correct assessment would be to say what I thought was a thunderstorm turned out to be hurricane. It's been a long, tough, painful week at work. What folks who do not suffer from the sort of anxieties and depressions many of us battle do not understand is that we also tend to guilt-sponges. For as long as I can remember, whenever I sensed that people around me were upset or angry, my immediate assumption has always been that I must have done something wrong; that somehow this disturbance in the peace is my fault. Now, sensible people would see that, if something were indeed their fault, they would be directly approached about it; if no one is telling them they are at fault, sensible folk deduce that they must not be at fault and move on with their lives. Not so with me. No, in my warped world, the very fact that I'm not being directly confronted about something only serves to make it clear that I am indeed the problem. That Social Anxiety Demon who keeps me believing that I am forever at risk of being set up for embarrassment, humiliation, or ridicule, whispers in my ear that everyone must be talking about me behind my back. Paranoid? Damn right you should be paranoid! They're out to get you! I hate that demon with every ounce of my soul. That demon holds me back more than any other I battle.
That demon had me convinced this week that I was the cause of the issues that made it a difficult week, but the week seemed to end on a reasonably high enough note. I was feeling better about things and headed into the weekend ready to begin anew. Saturday went by uneventfully, as did this morning, but by mid-afternoon, my internal world was in shambles.
I can't tell you when it happened or even how it began. I realized I was sitting on my sofa in the living room staring blankly out the window with neither the TV nor the stereo on (a rarity indeed!) in silence, wanting to scream, to cry, to beat my fists against the wall. My head had begun to hurt, as if my skull were being pressurized from inside and likely to blow apart at any moment. My stomach lurched and I felt physically weak. Since about 2:00 this afternoon, this is how I have felt. The physical discomfort is not constant, other than the headache, but the want to just cry and scream in some sort of primal release is very strong. As I write this I am simultaneously holding back tears yet wanting them to flow.
And the worst part of it all? I can't tell you why. I don't know why. I don't think there is a "why."
Sure, there are things that are wrong in my world, as there are in anyone's. Yes, I am fighting to regain the sense of security I once had before the economy collapsed and I found myself back to living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to stay above water, but so are many people. I have a plan for those things, a strategy to rebuild, and it is working, slowly but surely.
Sure, there are the life choices I wish I would have made differently, such as never learning to drive or never marrying and starting my own family, but those situations are what they are, and they are certainly not new issues that just arose in my mind this weekend.
So what is it? Why is it? Why do I feel like this, and why does it happen so often? Especially when it hadn't happened for such a long stretch?
To be clear, this is not a panic attack I am experiencing. I know those very well, unfortunately. No, this is a depression attack, and I am smack dab in the middle of it. Funny, though, that the "rational" part of my brain realizes this much, and is allowing me to communicate it through writing. I just want it to stop - I want this episode to stop, and want this all to stop happening ever again. I want to be a normal, regular person. I just wish I were normal.
I will get through this. I always do. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?