Yes, I’ve been having a break. In fact, a series of breaks from the blog; it does seem to come in waves. Does this post mean it is over? I am hoping it is the beginning of the end. Again.
Might be a funny headline but the actual matter is not so much. Even though it is not the first time I talk about it, it is the first I offer an explanation for having irregular hiatuses from something I love so much: my blog.
Sadly, when things get tougher, and days a bit darker, SMLT is the first thing that will suffer. It feels the only expendable activity to help create some head space. Hell, most of the time I cannot even find it, and that “space” is taken by the sheer apathy and deep exhaustion that comes with my anxiety disorder.
Usually at those time, my writing mojo also vanishes. And cue to the “impossible task”. Or taskSSSSSS.
I have been diagnosed with chronic general anxiety disorder (with some added bonus ones, such as health anxiety) and obsessive compulsive disorder (which seems to reach its peak form when anxiety is high).
It has been my dark companion for many years and earlier this year I got a memory of Facebook that really triggered more memories of the darkest of times. It was March 2014, and I remember being at my most despairing state, but still trying to smile and do things. But it was so empty – I was withdrawn, avoided going out, socialising and (believe it or not), was NOT drinking.
Therapy helped a lot, but the work outside (or inside yourself), relentless as it may be, is what will really build you. Aerial hoop, I joke in a serious way, saved my life.
The continuous support an understanding of those around me carried me through. And still do to this day.
And shift in attitude is what keeps me there.
I often tell my nearest and dearest I live a day at a time when it comes to my mental health. Current status: mostly well.
Good days largely outweigh the bad ones, and the bad ones are safely put away as being “over”, with an opportunity of a great day coming tomorrow. If another bad day comes, we deal with it. A day at a time, as they come.
Most triggers I can avoid and work through. Some I can identify but they will throw me off me anyway, and it takes me some energy to shake them off.
Rare are the others that are just so deep rooted that will consume me and all I feel is symptoms: that knot in my throat, the sick pit in my stomach, the tight pain in my chest, the dry mouth, the slight dizziness, that racing heart, the staring at the wall for hours, the procrastination, the escalating thoughts, the relentless checking, the irritability, the anger, the guilt, the frustration at the tiniest of things. Breathe.
Sometimes culminating in the dreaded, hopeless panic attacks of blinding tears and breathlessness. And the weeks it takes my body to recover: the IBS flares it brings, the lower back pain, the nausea, the sheer exhaustion.
So that’s what pulls me out and makes me go on a break. I write when I feel joy, and sometimes I struggle to find joy. The pandemic has refocused quite a few things for me, and I am trying to redirect some of my joy in these weird times. It is tough.
I am fortunate to have been in a good position throughout all this: healthy, in a job I can do from home, with a supportive manager and a fair employer, amazing friends that even at a distance were there. A boyfriend who REALLY helped me keep it together, a home I love and makes me happy, a hobby that looks after my body and soul. I count all those blessings and am forever grateful.
So, I might just be back.