Sometimes it's difficult to see just how pervasive a mental illness is in your life until you realize you have it. Things that you used to chalk up to being raised a certain way or being female or just being fucking weird all of the sudden fit under a new umbrella--anxiety.
Now, this isn't my first I'm-not-right-in-the-head rodeo (and I can use that saying because I'm from Texas and I've actually been to several rodeos). I've dealt with depression and trichotillomania since puberty and have had loads of fun trying various meds and supplements for the last two and a half years. In that time, I also learned about the evils of withdrawal, which I focused on in several prior blog posts but I'm going to just link to this one because it's the only one that's content doesn't make me cringe.
Looking back--on much of my life, honestly--I can see the signs of anxiety. While on meds for depression (which are often used to treat anxiety as well), the symptoms occasionally bubbled up to the surface, but even then they were tame. This past year, they've become apex and evolved into something approaching rabid.
The symptoms have ripped apart my confidence and severely wounded my ability to go out and do the most mundane of things. They've run me to mental exhaustion, which then translates to physical exhaustion (and I'm just so tired of fighting myself about Every. Single. Fucking. Thing.) They've injured and tried to bring down some of my most precious relationships.
It finally got to the point where I realized I couldn't do it on my own. Since supplements had helped me maintain stability depression-wise, I started trying some for anxiety and somehow totally ignored that whole MAINTAIN stability part, i.e. that depression meds got me stable and supplements kept me that way. I tried to go straight to supplements because, well, I was stressed and scared and worried and anxious about going back to the shrink.
I swear, what IS it about these kinds of illnesses? It's not enough to just decide you need help, because THEN you have to fight through the actual illness just to get yourself to GET help. I found out my psychiatrist had changed locations and nearly cried. I spent the next day or so freaking out, sure that she was going to make me either try a medication that had already broken me out in a rash or put me back on the medication I hated the side effects of and vowed to never take again. Then, my appointment happened on a nice, rainy, I'm-going-to-fucking-die-driving-to-my-shrink kind of day. I spent the whole 45 minute drive there trying to breathe, ignoring the unholy tenseness in my shoulders and back, and compulsively changing the speed of my windshield wipers (can't have them going too fast if the rain has slacked or else I'll look like an idiot BECAUSE PEOPLE TOTALLY PAY ATTENTION TO THE SPEED OF YOUR WIPERS AND THEN JUDGE YOU ON IT, THAT'S TOTALLY A THING PEOPLE DO AND NOT THE RAVINGS OF A PARANOID MIND).
When I finally reached that office, I nearly fell asleep in the waiting room, because I just didn't have anything left. But I had made it, and sent up a silent "fuck you" to whatever part of my brain was going whackadoo this time.
And things went well; hell, they went great. I even managed to not stop at any of the liquor stores on the way home . . . but of course, that may have been because I've never been to any of them and the thought of going in to a place like that gives me mental hives because I don't know where anything is and I'll look like an idiot wandering around and someone will ask me if I need help and I'll say "no thank you" even though I totally do and I'm just afraid that if I do ask they'll be thinking what an idiot I am and then after they've helped me they'll just STAND THERE WATCHING ME AND NOT GO AWAY AND I'LL END UP RANDOMLY GRABBING FIVE BOTTLES OFF THE SHELF AND SCURRYING TO THE REGISTER SO I CAN GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE AND THEN BAWL IN THE CAR BECAUSE I ABSOLUTELY HATE EVERYTHING I BOUGHT.
So now it's back to meds. I've got my fingers crossed that the first one I try works out, but I'm also well aware that the pharmacological science of the mind is far from exact. (And let us not even speak of my body's tendency to break out into a rash when introduced to an ACTUALLY helpful medication.) No, I'm not telling anyone what medication I'm trying; I'm also not allowed to google it. I wikipediaed it, but that was primarily to get a bit more info on it and potential interactions . . . because I apparently think that my doctor will ignore all the stuff I listed as taking or MAYBE SHE FORGOT AND SOME SUPPLEMENT WILL COMBINE WITH THE MEDICATION AND GIVE ME EVEN WORSE BRAINSICKNESS AND I'LL BE WORSE OFF THAN I WAS BEFORE BECAUSE I STILL HAVE SOME CRAZY LEFT TO GO BEFORE INSTITUTIONALIZATION AND I DON'T WANT TO GO AWAY.
It takes a while to kick in, just FYI.