writing

4am Anxiety

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It’s hard to put into words what it feels like when I can’t get my mind to just quiet down. To pace around our apartment at 3am like the ghost of Christmas past.

I move from the bed, to the desk chair, to the couch, and back to the bed. On heavy rotation, and more like a broken record I can’t seem to throw away. I close my eyes and the visions behind them play over and over like a silent film. Visions of things I have done or said long ago or things I have yet to do or say.

My eyes fly open and I decide I need some water. I drink and think that maybe it’s better if I just stay awake. If I am awake I am prepared for whatever the world has to throw at me. Asleep I’m vulnerable.

Then come the tears. I cry for no reason at all and sometimes for a million reasons all at the same time. It’s exhausting and exhilarating, it’s depressing and motivating. It’s something different every time.

My body is tired of course. My brain is well aware that I need sleep, but it’s too aware of everything else that I struggle with on a daily basis. I could list things that bother me. Things that trigger me to panic but some days that list will be empty and I will still feel it all building up deep within my bones. It’s a messed up spidey sense I never asked for.

I over think and underestimate just how much I can do. Some days I do nothing. I sleep and think and then sleep some more because it’s the only way I can keep the thoughts silenced.

I can conquer the world one day and barely lift a finger the next.

People don’t understand and people judge what they don’t understand.

Anxiety is not just a little feeling in the pit of your stomach. Depression is not just feeling sad.

It’s all consuming and tremendously frustrating. Your mind is a tangled mess and you spend all day trying to untangle it and you spend all night trying to think of why the tangles happen in the first place.

I write this as the clock strikes 4:00am and I can’t sleep because I wonder will the new day bring me more to worry about or will I be able to function properly?

And that generally sums up these feelings. I worry about worrying and it’s never ending.

But never say never.

life

A Little Louder for the People in The Back – A Look at Mental Illness

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I feel tired.

I feel tired all the time.

Anxiety and depression can do that, but having to explain myself a million times also does that. I get tired of getting skeptical looks, and strange waves of anger from people because I don’t and CANNOT fit into their mold of what a sick person looks like. Because I am not running a fever, I cannot be ill. Really there’s so much more bullshit that I have dealt with through out my struggles with anxiety that I felt the need to once again talk about it.

Everyone who deals with mental illness deals with it in their own way, not only that but not everyone will have the same feelings and symptoms even when they deal with the same illness. That’s always something that many people can’t seem to grasp. I cannot tell someone else’s tale of struggle, but I can tell you mine.

I was always a really shy kid. I also cried A LOT. When my parents would say that they would pick me up from say the babysitter at a set time, and they didn’t show up at that exact time, I would instantly start to sweat and I would begin to pace and ask a million questions because my mind was imagining the worst kind of car crashes in the world. At the time most people chalked it up to me being an emotional kid, but looking back I think that was just the beginning of my anxiety. I was definitely always known as the weird quiet child who liked to read. I was never a super talkative person, to this day I am not a talkative person, UNLESS of course I feel comfortable with you.

Let’s get a little darker now. I remember a time when I wasn’t aware that what I was feeling wasn’t just normal anxious feelings. In high school, I was told that I definitely had social anxiety. But it wasn’t until my early twenties, that at some point where I was having trouble breathing, I was crying nonstop for what felt like decades, and I dug my finger nails into my face that I finally realized something was really wrong with me. Since then I have sort of learned to manage it but it isn’t something with a cure. I have my really good days and I have my really bad days. I don’t hurt myself anymore, but I do still deal with panic and anxiety attacks.

The thing is, sometimes my anxiety is exacerbated by all of the negative shit that has been thrown my way in the past or even recently. I talk very openly about my struggles for a number of reasons:

  1. I want to be open with the people closest to me and also to the people I work with. Not for pity, but for understanding. There can be days where I have a hard time functioning.
  2. I want other people who are fighting this to know they are not alone.
  3. I want people who are completely ignorant about this, to learn how to deal with someone close to them and their anxiety or depression.

I also do it, because I always get asked weird shit, or talked about in a negative light because people just don’t understand. When I cancel plans with people because the thought of having to be around a group of people or public transportation is just terrifying that day, I don’t need to be told that I am flakey. I am not flakey, I am putting myself and my mental health first. I don’t feel that it is necessary to possibly be alone on a train, having an anxiety attack just to meet up for a drink. That’s not what I will ever do. Many friends stopped inviting me to places in the past, and many people were extremely rude and aggressive about me canceling plans. So when I find someone who understands without missing a beat, I try to hold onto those people. My advice to anyone who has dealt with this is to let go of the ones who tear you down over your struggles, and keep close those who let you take care of yourself first.

Recently someone said that they knew I was trouble when they first met me because I couldn’t look them in the eye when I first met them. This angered me greatly. Not because they don’t like me, not everyone has to like me, I really couldn’t give two flying dicks about that part. It angered me because when I first meet people, I tend to have a hard time making eye contact. Meeting new people causes an alarming amount of stress for me and I have a hard time making eye contact. They took that as me being –I don’t know…some kind of vixen? An evil queen wannabe? Don’t know. It’s just one of the many times someone has misunderstood something about my anxiety and twisted it to make me look bad. It’s not new for me.

evilqueen

When someone has a physical illness everyone is ready to be helpful, supportive, and show empathy. As it should be. I am quite grateful that physically at the moment I am healthy. The thing is that many people don’t see anxiety and depression as a real illness. They seem to think we are all drama queens who can’t get our shit together. I wish I could be that good at acting because I would probably have an Oscar sitting on the mantle of my big ass house on a hilltop in Portugal. I hate when I have a bad moment in front of people I don’t particularly like or trust because I know from experience how they will use that against me. I also hate getting “advice” from people who have never in their lives dealt with anxiety or depression themselves. Stop telling me to do yoga or to drink tea. I’ve done those things and they don’t work for me. Everything you can possibly name, I have tried it. I already have my ways of dealing with it, but again there ISN’T a cure. You get better with time, and then you will still have a few bad days here and there. It’s just how it goes.

None of us want your pity. We want your respect and yes a little bit of empathy would be nice. If I feel so tired that I need a nap, then let me nap. My brain doesn’t function like yours. It spends hours and days sometimes trying to untangle my thoughts, and that in itself is really exhausting. Pretend my brain is running a bunch of marathons through out the week there comes a point where I just can’t take it anymore. I am drained of all energy.  I do not nap on a daily basis, but if there’s someone out there that does and needs it, then let them. This is another one of those moments where we get told that we are being lazy.

So when I am asked why I constantly talk about my anxiety, my response is because people still think I am being rude, lazy, stuck up, or generally awful all because I choose to do certain things to better my mental health or I do them because my anxiety sort of makes me do things that people find strange. I shouldn’t have to constantly explain myself, but because mental illness is still a topic that many people ignore, I HAVE TO explain myself so I can hopefully make a break through with some people.

Know that this is a REAL illness, and millions of people are struggling to move forward every single day. Stop treating us like we are liars and stop telling us to relax. I promise you, it really doesn’t work that way.

writing

Unwelcome Feelings

Anxiety

I don’t jump into my personal life on here too much and I am not really going to change that aspect, but I am going to give you a glimpse into what feelings have come over me within the past month (more or less). This is MY place to come and write whatever I want to write. If I were to sum it up, I would say that I am exhausted. And yes I am well aware that I am not the only person on this earth who feels tired. I know that plenty of people are going through worse, but at this very moment, I can only talk about my feelings and my story. As much awareness as I have of the struggles other people are facing, I cannot be their voice and tell their stories properly. I can only tell my story, and so let us begin.

Since the beginning of June I have been ill. If you are a reader of this blog then you are well aware of my problems with anxiety and depression. THIS though was a physical illness. I had a horrible ear infection that turned into an even worse throat infection, that just spiraled out of control. 3 doctors visits and a specialist later and I am told that my sinus on the left side is being a bitch( in medical terms of course) and that I have bronchitis. He prescribes me an inhaler; if only all those asshole middle schoolers could see me now! Anyway, luckily after a month of feeling sick and tired, I am getting better. My anxiety is high and all, but I am pushing through.

But this past week, I have come face to face with some feelings that I have not felt in a while. I encountered a xenophobe and I feel that because of the fact that I am white, it’s why it took so long for someone to get offended by my presence here in Germany, and yet someone did. But yesterday something BIGGER occurred, and I don’t feel like rehashing the details, but it made me realize that the entire time I have been here some people close to me and my boyfriend have been faking their open arm attitude towards me. While I observed a couple of instances of this, I tried to push them down, but yesterday sadly they became quite clear to me. They had their walls, fences, and masks up this entire time.

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So where does one go from here? Well I feel a sense of sadness, and I know I am not the only one. The thing is, I have this really strong support system around me. My boyfriend, My best friend Anna, and MY FAMILY are holding me up. That is all I need. I would like an apology, but if that never comes then let me explain something about who I am. I have been through some rough moments in my life, and you disliking me for the simple fact that I am not German doesn’t even rank high on my list of “shitty moments”. You want to be a horrible person, by all means be one, but you won’t be one towards me. You walk around like you have the smell of shit constantly wafting into your nose when I am around, and I am over it. I have never in my life allowed people to walk all over me, and I won’t start now. I have enough to worry about, without also having to worry about assholes. so on that note…

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Book Reviews, Books

Finding Audrey – Book Review

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I bought this book because it seemed like a good short read for my flight to Portugal. Well it was short, but it wasn’t really good. I usually try to keep my reviews spoiler free, but please be WARNED: THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW. I had a lot of issues with this story, and they need to be discussed.

I’ve never read any novels  by Sophie Kinsella, and maybe this wasn’t a good starting point. The writing wasn’t the problem, but the plot and the characters certainly were. I will start with the parents. The mom was just over the top. Her anti-video game brigade against Frank was just too much, considering the kid had good grades, and didn’t seem like a bad kid at all. The dad was just in the background, smiling and nodding at everything the mom would say or demand from everyone.

And here’s the point of the story that really just pissed me off. As someone who struggles with anxiety, and had been put on Paxil for Social Anxiety in high school, Audrey did not feel like a genuine character with the same struggles. Especially since she’s having “such a hard time” to the point where she can’t go anywhere and can barely handle human interaction. ENTER Linus. The magical cure to social anxiety according to Kinsella. I HATE HATE HATE when female characters become “better” simply from meeting a boy. That shit doesn’t happen in real life, and IF suddenly there’s some kind of sense of euphoria from meeting someone new, it doesn’t last long. The way Audrey drastically changes after meeting Linus actually made me want to stop reading the book. I finished it, but there were a lot of things sort of just left hanging in the air, and I felt that Kinsella could have fleshed out the story a little bit more.

I give Finding Audrey 2 out of 5 Metal Horns.

Metal Horns

 

life

The Hardest Mountain I Will Ever Climb

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I cannot speak for anyone else. This is my story, and as such it will probably be difficult for others to understand. I decided to write this because all day I have felt really excruciatingly tired. About half an hour ago, I felt the back of my neck feel like it was underneath an open flame, I started to sweat profusely and suddenly I felt like my chest was caving in like this is it, this is certainly the time I go. I know what’s happening with the subtle signals my body begins to give me, but it has never made it any easier. I had another panic attack. In fact I am still coming down from it, my eyes still slightly blurry from the sobbing that ensues. First and foremost, I am not writing this for pity. I just needed to write it down. I follow Jenny Lawson and her two books have inspired me to share an aspect of myself that most people are aware of but that they probably don’t quite understand.

I sometimes still feel that when I have panic attacks in front of strangers that they are thinking “Oh god look at this drama queen!” I gotta say that I have even gotten it from people I know, so I can’t exactly expect strangers to understand. I honestly wish I was that good at acting. Sobbing on cue seems like something that could get me an oscar. Unfortunately, I cannot control it.

How do I explain it to you? Well for one, it feels like my mind is a giant mess of wires. You know you probably have a box somewhere with a bunch of different kinds of wires that have different purposes, but they are currently tangled together into a giant useless blob. Well, my anxiety/depression issues are me spending entire days trying to untangle those wires. I could be laying around looking extremely lazy, but the reality in my head is much much different. There I am, day in and day out trying to untangle the wires, and when the end of the day comes along, I feel exhausted. For an outsider it looks like I have done nothing at all, but now you know what it looks like. It is a frustrating situation.

The thing is, I don’t want to stop. The only time it really affected my work, was when I was given Vicodin for pain and it sent my brain chemistry into a frenzy. I was away from work for a week, and I think that might have been my worst moment. Currently, I am dealing with some serious anxiety. I feel okay, and then I don’t, and when I don’t that is when I have a hard time focusing on anything other than those damn wires. I think what helps me is that I genuinely love my job, I also know that I have understanding coworkers. School is getting tougher, but that is to be expected, and I am pushing through, and getting pretty good grades. I think of those things, and there’s always this slight moment of clarity as I panic, where I KNOW I am going to be okay. I just wish that would compute for more than a split second. I think what I really need is to be honest with myself, and get new meds. When someone has a physical ailment no one even blinks when they take medication. So I think I need to be good to myself and just go and figure out what’s best for me.

I decided to share this because like Jenny Lawson, I have decided to be Furiously Happy. Even through this struggle, I tell myself every single day “You are, and will continue to be Furiously Happy” yes, panic attacks are scary, but I am stronger every time I go through it.If you’re reading this and are having a rough time as well, just know there is no shame in asking for help. Go to a professional, and really get the help you need and deserve. Be furiously happy, because we are all climbing this mountain together.

Games

Life is Strange – NEEDS A TRIGGER WARNING

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I haven’t written about games in a while. Even though I have been engrossed in The Last of Us remastered and some apps on my phone. I haven’t gotten the chance to write about them. Well I felt the need to write about Life is Strange again. While I know it is a game, I would now use quotes around that…so lets call it a “game” as I think it would have been better as some kind of mini series or a book.

My main concern with this “game” came about when I finished the most recent episode, Episode 4, titled “Dark Room”. I will try to avoid Spoilers but here’s fair warning that some of what I have to say may very well ruin the plot points for you.

Many people in the world suffer through mental illness, honestly I include myself in that group. I suffer from anxiety. This game had me feeling really uncomfortable this last episode. A lot of discussion is happening about this game, and now that I am looking at it, I really feel that it needs to come with a Trigger warning. What is a trigger warning? A trigger warning is a statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc. alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material. This “game” contains some pretty distressing material. While I dealt with it fairly well, I can see how some players might have difficulty dealing once the fourth episode is done, and there’s even some distressing scenes in earlier episodes.

Trigger warnings are a kindness to those who do not handle some hard topics well. So while the companies don’t seem to be putting trigger warnings on this “game” in fear of revealing plot lines and twists, I am going to write trigger warnings for Life is Strange here. Be warned that if you play Life is Strange and you suffer from anxiety, depression, or any form of mental illness that there are topics of rape, kidnap, murder, death, and suicide in this game. If you typically cannot handle these topics then please do not play this game. They should have provided a Trigger Warning to begin with because from the first episode you are inclined to believe that this is where the story is headed. You may be trying to save your precious plot line, but you should also be concerned with someone’s mental health and making sure your game does not cause unnecessary emotional distress.

Those are my two cents.

MATG