Sunday, February 21, 2016

What's Wrong With You?

I’m not sure why we don’t talk about when we’re not well. I mean, we will complain about minor illnesses –colds, flus, stomach flu, headaches – but we hardly ever talk about serious illnesses. We’ve only recently begun to discuss cancer (recent in the grand scheme of things), and even more recently we’ve begun to discuss mental illness.

I get it though. We don’t want people to worry about us or fuss. Sometimes that causes added stress. Unless you like attention, then you probably talk about  your hangnails you get on a daily basis.

There’s a lot of stuff going on with me most of you have probably seen via Instagram, Snapchat, or otherwise. There have been hints on Facebook. But only a handful of people know what’s really going on. And normally, I’d prefer to keep it that way, because nothing stresses me out more than people asking me if I’m okay every single day, or every other day, or every hour.

So let me start off by saying I will be fine. I am working on everything, with medical professionals.

The reason why I’ve decided to open up is because, well, I don’t want anyone else to go through what I am going through. I mean, we are all unique in how our bodies deal with illness. And some people talk about their illnesses for attention. The last thing I want right now is fucking attention. But that’s part of the reason why I’m in this mess in the first place. 

My official diagnosis is anxiety-driven hypertension. If you are an intelligent person (and I hope you are, if you are a reader of my blog), then you know that diagnosed anxiety is not just someone kvetching about a hangnail.

But how did I get here? Can I pinpoint the second? That’s part of the stuff I’m working on. When I find out, I’ll let you know. But I can say this much. My hypertension is a result of a few things that I used to pride myself on, but were leading to my demise:
  1.  No sleep – when you have creative ideas burning a hole in your brain needing to get out of your fingers, and you have no time to get to the page, you save it up until you just about burst before you let it out. I believed I did my best creating at night. I was getting maybe 3 hours of sleep a night or less for at least five years. Yes I wrote several novels, but only one of them is finished, and we won't talk about what's happening with that just now. 
  2. “You want something done, give it to a busy person” – I wouldn’t say no. I could always take more on because I can get through a lot of things quickly. I could always relax later. Later ended up being in the emergency ward with an IV drip on my arm, staring at a BP monitor spiking to 225/118.
  3. “You’re such a strong person” – said everyone. And I would always say I wasn’t. And in that very polite way we have, people would say “Oh yes you are,” and go on to tell me how strong I was, because they thought I needed to hear it, or perhaps they needed to say it. In fact, I need to hear the opposite, because all I have ever wanted it to just be weak. To feel okay to not hold it together. Everyone made that out to be so negative – “we admire your strength”. Don’t. I was just doing what had to be done, and I have needed to collapse and be supported by someone other than myself for a very long time. See point 2.
Not only that, but my mother and my son suffer from high anxiety. I was in an Anxiety Sandwich. There was no escaping, really.

So my words to you are, if you aren’t dealing with your own anxiety or hypertension or both, and you feel like you’re invincible, because you’re young, you’re smart, or you’re old and you passed by middle age without encountering a breakdown, you eat well…be careful. Watch that ego. Watch that you don’t take on too much. But most of all, watch that you don’t try to escape yourself OR immerse yourself in too much. Balance to life is key. Be strong but be weak. Be smart but let there be times where you do stupid stuff. Always do your best, but accept that there will always be someone better than you. Ask for help but don’t clamour for attention.

Take time to breathe.

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