When people argue; Panic

It’s incredible the flood of anxiety I feel when people begin to argue.

These two people do not shout. These two people do not throw things. These two people do not hurt animals. These two people do not give each other the silent treatment later or love each other any less tomorrow.

But they do get intense with their voices. One of them is forceful and the voice raises, not in volume but in pitch. The other gets forceful and uses “YOU” statements that I find very rude. “YOU” are not listening. “YOU” have switched what you are arguing.

These arguments always end peacefully and they love each other the same immediately after. For them, the effects are null. They argue. They debate. It’s part of what they do. Frankly, I would go so far as to say it is part of who they are as people.

But for me, the effects are longer lasting. I will be afraid of them for days. It was not directed at me; nobody is arguing or debating with me. I have already put in my noise-isolating headphones and escaped up the stairs. I have already blared music directly into my earbuds.

But the flooding of anxiety is so strong and so immediate. It’s an emergency for me, when two people argue. It is danger. It is red alert. It is unpredictable and unsafe.

They will not hurt me. The worst either of them could do to me, based on who they are and what I have seen, is to use an insulting tone of voice and say “YOU” don’t understand what I am trying to say. Or something like that. That’s the worst I’ve seen or heard from them.

But my body goes straight to fear. My body says, the monsters have surrounded me. I am prepared to run. I am prepared to hide. I am prepared to face the streets in the dark at night amongst strangers. I am prepared to kill to protect myself.

My intestines prepare to evacuate immediately. I need to run. Outdoors. I need to be one speck in an infinite darkness, alone. Unknown. Safer.

Instead, I am trying to prep for bed. I brushed my teeth. I’m listening to my music, blaring into my ears. I can hear the voices. They are calm but still firm. It’s only a difference of opinion and grilling over various scientific studies to prove one side or the other. My shoes and coat were already on (because me and one of them were about to go on a very short walk). I am ready; I want to run. I could take anxiety medicine that will help me sleep. It’s been 30 minutes, right? I could take off my shoes and coat without offending. … Or I could slip past and go on a jog into the darkness.

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Mixen’ up

Today was all right. I went to classes. But at home, I didn’t go to the grocery store (desperately needed). And I haven’t done homework. I did practice Spanish a little bit, for fun. And I ate a bowl of freeze-dried noodles and freeze-dried vegetable chunks. I then ate soy yogurt and homemade GF granola, to which I added cocoa powder with mini chocolate chips in it. And a drop of maple syrup.

Now I’m drinking a supposedly-vanilla-scented sleepy-time tea. My bf wrote that he’s on his way home. That’s when I realized I hadn’t actually done any homework nor have I started to pack. Nor have I done really anything, and that’s exactly when my anxiety SPIKED again. I mean out of control. I’m weak again, my heart is fluttering rather than beating. I can’t think or process or do anything. I’m scared and gray.

Why? Because once he’s home, the lack of having packed up anything becomes real? Because once he’s home, the lack of homework gotten done becomes real? I did make some quinoa. It’s cold now, on the stove top with a lid on it so it can be reheated. But I no longer feel like it. He’s been having to work really late lately; that’s why we haven’t gone to the grocery store. I love that he has such an immense work ethic. Last night, I was doing homework and he was doing work from home until I couldn’t anymore and I fell asleep. He kept going until midnight and then we went to bed.

I guess it’s not that late here yet but it’s so dark outside. It feels late. And I have an exhaustion beyond words. It’s this anxiety. It’s wearing me down.

I have to make a change. This isn’t working and it isn’t a life. It isn’t MY life.

  • I looked at a lot of job listings today. There is one in particular, with a well-known animal rescue organization, that actually sounds doable for me. I will need to fill out an application, cover letter, and alert my references. I should still have a resume copy laying around from a few months ago. I need to submit for this job because it would be very good for me. The main downside is that it is weekends, which I wanted to avoid.
  • But frankly, my partner & I have been having an issue with our conflicting executive function difficulties as of late. It’s making it hard to be productive on the weekends as is. Last weekend, I did my damn best to write down a list of possible things we could do, as requested. I gave it to him and expected he would choose several and place them in some sort of order for the day. Instead, we just sort of did some things at random and then he was really frustrated at the end of the day for having had no feeling of progressing toward anything. We hadn’t communicated well. When I had given him that list, I expected him to take the next step. He was expecting ME to decide the order of events I wanted to do, and tell him what to do. I want him to tell me what to do. If I had the skills to choose my own damn schedule, I wouldn’t be in this mess of a life in the first place.
  • I’m gaining weight, particularly in the face which I hate. Next semester, I am going to sign up for an exercise class. I suspect I’ll do weight-lifting, because my mom thinks that’s supposed to help prevent osteoporosis, which I have a higher-than-average likelihood of having when I’m older.
  • Weekends. Do away with weekends. Do away with the potential for conflict. I want us to do our own, separate things on at least one day of the weekend. That way if our one day together is a flop, we can each salvage what we can separately. Scheduling for self alone isn’t as challenging as scheduling for two.
  • Food. I’m not going grocery shopping anymore because it gets darker earlier. Also, I don’t always have the internal motivation to leave my apartment. But I could use savings money and hire a company to fucking DELIVER groceries to me once a week or two. That would surely be cheaper than eating every meal out. I just. can’t. keep doing that.
  • Cats. I picked up a cat tonight and started crying. I’m going to miss this trouble creatures. I’m going to miss the nosy one so much. She’s always in my stuff. She’s always on me or with me if I’m out of my room. She loves me.
  • This weekend. He has a conference this weekend, it turns out. I learned it twenty minutes ago. Why won’t this anxiety medicine hurry up and kick in? I took a little bit just a bit ago, when the panic set in. I thought we were going to be moving our stuff to his mom’s place this weekend. I guess that is not the case; but we will do packing. Somehow. I suppose I’d best just hire someone. I can’t stand the thought of him seeing my lack of packing. He’s offering to skip the conference because moving is more important. But I somehow don’t think that’s the biggest issue.
  • It isn’t timing. It’s … the executing. Can someone PLEASE come out and help me???????????? I’d better hurry up and hire someone from online. I have two old contacts from TaskRabbit. I’ll ask them both if there’s any way they can help me because I just can’t get this started on my own.
  • What the hell is so hard about getting started? The panic! It’s really unbelievable. The gray and the fluttering heart. I don’t think my heart is even beating anymore – it’s just a mere whisper of a tremble. No pulse. I can’t reply back to bf, I won’t be able to smile or say hi to him when he does enter the apartment (soon). This night is going to be really rough if this anxiety medicine doesn’t hurry up and kick in. I’m scared to death.
  • Woops, I have to go now. Thanks for listening.

Anxiety medicine FTW

Well. Mysteries of the universe solved.

I’m still on the remnant half life of the dose of anxiety medicine I took last night and I feel woonnnddeerrful. I’m able think, I’m able to leave my apartment, I’m able to walk around, I’m able to do schoolwork.

The thinking is important. My brain is actually turning, slightly. Not like on a great day, but on an almost-human day.

What a relief.

I’ll forgive myself if I end up needing anxiety medicine from now until I have located a new job and have moved. This is my last week in my belovedly awesome apartment, btw.

I am actually in a class right now. I just asked a question. I love that after I ask a question, usually someone else asks a question, too. I think sometimes people are afraid to interrupt lecture but the prof doesn’t mind. She’s super nice. I like that I can be an ice breaker for others.

My extreme anxiety and depression lately has really poisoned things between me and my partner. It sucks. I hope that after I get a new job and after I settle into his mother’s house, I hope we can salvage things. Because he’s a great guy, I don’t actually want to scrap this. I’d like to see about working on things again. But it’s been hard when I have no smile inside of me, no motivation to get out of bed, and nothing that is a positive or hopeful for me. That really messes with a relationship.

But on the very last remnants of this clonazepam, life looks easier again. Things make more sense. I don’t think my panic had really hit until the last day of work happened and I moved everything out. I’ve been fallen apart since then. I didn’t even know it was my last day of work until I got there. So that was like, not a lot of transitional time. Me & sudden change? Not so hot.

My self-identity was tied up in that a bit. I didn’t realize it, but I’ve been in a lost, gray world since then. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted or what this was all about. I was just floating and lifeless and gray and foggy and fuzzy and in a gray nothingness in a way I can never hope to explain to someone not presently or recently experiencing it.

Moral is: Anxiety medicine will be my friend this week. Don’t feel shame. And don’t judge me, you. I don’t need it.

I need to be able to think clearly enough to apply for new, part-time work and pack up my stuff from the apartment.

Peace out.

Log: Jun 10 + 11 (Wed + Thu) Anxiety + Meltdown

Jun 10 (Wed): Work
Jun 11 (Thu): Work, go to uncle’s after work

Wednesday: Got up easily enough, although I’d had insomnia for much of the night. Got ready and left early with Peter. Showered but skipped breakfast, thinking I still had a muffin at work. Wrong. But I had brought 2 PBJs so I had one of those for breakfast.

Jeweled plant

Jeweled plant

HIGH ANXIETY LEVELS. This is the day my web registration was open for me to apply for the new college. At the same time, i had received many tasks for work, all time-important. So with high, high anxiety, my hands shaking much of the time, I did some work, then would try to figure out my class schedule again, then work, then scheduling, etc.

In the end, I did get everything I needed to get done for work. But I was only able to register for 3 of my classes successfully. One of them has an English requirement, so I have to submit paperwork for that. So I contacted both of my old schools and have official transcripts on the way out now, which isn’t needed, but I felt more comfortable doing it that way, so the new school has them on file and I will just have to make myself actually get a major so it wasn’t a waste of money.

Anyway, I did the matriculation paperwork (took forever). I had to prove my residency (took forever, but I have already heard back from them that I was accepted as a resident and thus get the MUCH MUCH MUCH cheaper tuition! YAY!!!).

I still haven’t submitted my matriculation paperwork because I think I’d better send a copy of my divorce certificate to them as well, seeing as one of my schools is going to send a transcript with my maiden name on it, and the other school will send my transcript with my previous married name on it. Oy. I hope they can figure it out.

But I want to get this done as soon as possible because the course I didn’t get to sign up for yet only has 1 timeslot that would work for my schedule, so if it fills up, I’ll have to rework every class again and try to get it to fit together. It took so much time. I won’t have a copy of my divorce paperwork until this evening, so I could then submit my matriculation paperwork tomorrow.

Okay. So HIGH ANXIETY. I can’t stress that enough. I almost had to take anxiety medicine but I try not to if I can survive without it.

The rest of the evening was okay for a while. After work, I went to a grocery store and picked up some groceries. When Peter got off work, he joined me there and we walked back together. Dinner was amazing, thanks to him. But then something happened.

Jeweled plant

Jeweled plant

He was contemplating companies for the sake of picking out more companies to invest in. He asked what companies I like as far as services and whatnot, just to try and get more names to think about. I mentioned an online site I used to buy my horse supplies from. I said I used to only trust that site and Amazon with my credit card information.

That led to him asking me how I feel about Amazon. I said I like them a lot because they send a fraction of money to the horse rescue I love so much (log in through Amazon Smile instead of regular Amazon to support whatever rescue/charity you want to support). So that got us on the topic of charities. I don’t know why he said it but he said he didn’t think he would ever donate to a horse rescue group. Something went off in my head. Alarm bells. Horror. Tragedy. I asked if he meant it like, -ever-, under no circumstance? I was like, sometimes when people have asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I ask them instead to put whatever money they’d have spent on a gift for me and send it to that equine rescue instead. I asked if he’d send them money if I asked him to as a b-day gift to me or something. He said no.

While he started to explain which are the charities he donates to regularly and supports, I found it hard to hear him. My entire body was faltering. The tears started to flow. By the time dinner was finished and we went back down to the room with the dishes (we’d eaten up on the roof), I had to take a minute away. I went to the unlit bedroom and just cried and cried and cried.

I came back to the kitchen to help with cleaning up but I still kept crying on and off. I finally talked about it, I said I had no idea that rescue was still so important to me. My horse has been there many years now. I cried more.

So what this tells me is a couple of things.

  1. It tells me that what I ate yesterday for breakfast and lunch was not sufficient and I did have a blood sugar episode. I only get super emotional when I’m having a blood sugar episode.
  2. But it also sends me up a red flag for this relationship. Do I wish to be in a long-term relationship with someone who would override my own request because of his own standard for worthy charities? Did I feel disrespected personally because my wishes wouldn’t be respected?

At least after I was finally able to say why I’d gotten so emotional, that the rescue meant so much to me still, he actually offered to use them next time he shops from Amazon. So that means it wasn’t a black-and-white never-ever statement after all, but it took a complete meltdown for him to relax the black-and-white of his original statement? Or was it the meltdown that then enabled me to verbalize how important it was to me, that I wasn’t joking around when I was asking those questions?

I don’t want him to use them for his Amazon; that wasn’t my point at all. I just want to know that if I ask something of a person, they will at least consider my request. A, “perhaps there could be a possibility of it at some unknown point in the future, depending on the situation,” would have satisfied me. A “No, never,” brought me to a screeching halt.

At the same time, I hadn’t heard from my mom all day, so I was worrying about my grandma out there. Signing up for school is freaking me out. I hadn’t had much sleep. I didn’t eat well.

So that was a rough night. He apologized if his words were hurtful for me. But my mood doesn’t bounce back quickly; I was too upset to fall asleep. (He asked why I wasn’t falling asleep, I said I think my right shoulder is too tense, I can’t get it to relax, and asked if he could pinch that muscle. He said that sounded painful and he didn’t want to torture me. He lightly ran his fingers over the spot, but I asked again if he could pinch the muscles there. He still didn’t want to, saying it sounded painful. He said he had a better idea, why don’t we go to sleep. He flipped over and fell asleep instantly. I got upset all over again; request denied! Major insomnia. I got up, did stretches to try and get the muscles to fricking relax. I had taken 1 mg of clonazepam when I’d first gone to bed but it did NO good at all, not one bit. I should have taken some pain medicine, but I did stretches instead. I finally read a book by the light of my cellphone screen, and eventually fell asleep. Mood Ranking: 2-4.5

Sky and clouds

Sky and clouds

Thursday: I don’t know what today will bring. It was a bad morning! When the early alarm went off, I think I was in a bit of a sleep-drug-haze and he decided to reset the alarm for a little bit more time. Then we got up, I didn’t shower, got dressed, and we made breakfast. Ate breakfast, had tea, then, while I thought he was packing (to be explained), I held back one of the cats so the shy cat would eat his breakfast. He’d gotten spooked and so the other cat was done eating already and he was not. Then I also brushed my teeth again. Meanwhile, I don’t know, maybe Peter was ready to go, I was ready but in la la land, just doing whatever. Turns out he was getting frustrated because he could tell we were close to being ready but we weren’t leaving and he wanted to catch a certain bus. He never said a time. We made it to the trains but knew he’d miss the bus he wanted. He said we needed to work on our morning routine. I said it would really help if he could tell me verbally what time he wants to leave the apartment in the morning. He says he tried that when we were first dating and it didn’t work. I pointed out that now I have a watch, and I believe it would work now. Don’t think he agreed. We said goodbye but it wasn’t done as closely as usual. Not sure if we even hugged, although we might have, which is okay because I’m in a mood and can’t connect emotionally right now. He rushed to the bus stop and he did catch the next bus, not too much later than the first, but then he wrote that he was sorry about getting frustrated, it was just the seeing time pass where we weren’t really heading out the door but seemed to be ready that was frustrating for him, it was like wasted time. It was okay that he caught the next bus. We’ll work on communicating better in the morning.

But fuck that. I have lived long enough. He doesn’t understand me and the executive function issues. He doesn’t. I can’t ask him to baby me through the morning. It’s time I either learn the skill to get myself out of the door in the morning without external stimulus, or I hire somebody. End Of Story. I can’t rely on him to let me know when to leave in the exact format I need the information. NOBODY ON THE ENTIRE, FRICKING PLANET HAS BEEN ABLE TO GIVE ME THE INFORMATION I NEED IN THE EXACT FORMAT THAT IS USEFUL FOR ME.

Nobody.

What I need is this:

  • When the alarm first goes off, I need to hear (AUDITORY) several things, in this order:
    • Mandatory: The upcoming activity “Work day”
    • Optional: What time the activity begin “Work starts at 9 a.m.”
    • Optional: What train I’m trying to catch “Train leaves at 8:32 a.m.”
    • Mandatory: When to leave the apartment “Leave apartment at 8:20 a.m.”
    • Mandatory: What time it is right now “It’s currently 7:30 a.m.”
    • Mandatory: How much time I have left before leaving “You have 50 minutes to get ready.”
  • As I get ready, I need again to have an audio that tells me what time I am planning to leave the apartment, what time it currently is, and how many minutes I have left (I cannot do mental math in the morning).
  • When it is within 5 minutes of being time to leave, I again need to have an audio that tells me that I have 5 minutes remaining to get out of the door.

So, today has been sad for me. I feel things slipping out of my hands. But I don’t need him and I’m not going to let myself need him. Maybe he and I break up. I still need to find an apartment near my new school, with different roommates if that’s the case. I’ll be okay. Today’s Mood Ranking (subject to change): 3

Log: May 11 (Mon) First night alone

May 11 (Mon): Work 10:15a – 5:30p; Bring my aunt the jam from “Peter’s” mom, as well as a few flowers and a slice of watermelon, if they look good at the store after work; Vacuum my aunt + uncle’s house; Laundry; Rest; The following:

Dinner Plan:
*Complete Protein: Canned salmon …ALTERED
*Non-starchy Vegetable(s): Romaine lettuce, tomato …ALTERED
*Other: 

To Buy:
*Trail mix, to bring to work
*Lettuce + Tomato
*Flowers for my aunt …SUCCESS
*Watermelon slice for my aunt …SUCCESS

To Do:
*Any time: Update bottom paragraph of resume; Finalize references; Submit along w/ cover letter …UPDATED BUT haven’t submitted
*Any time: At least 2 Accounting lectures

*Any time: Apply for Music Workshop scholarship
*Any time: Write and send thank you letter to my aunt & grandma

*Any time: Update budget …SUCCESS the next day
*Any time: Schedule dental appt …SUCCESS

Log: This will be my first night alone in a surprisingly long time. I haven’t had much alone time lately, so I’m looking forward to it. If my uncle is in a good mood, I’ll probably chill with him tonight. If he’s not, I’ll be in my room, alone, doing alone things like filing some paperwork I’ve fallen behind on, and catching up on some emails and whatnot. Maybe I’ll read. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll sketch. Maybe I won’t. Maybe or not. 🙂

So we woke up this morning and made breakfast. He made me more quinoa so I’d have a complete protein available today. Then we had a little extra time so we ended up making some eggs and bacon anyway, but I have the quinoa and some home-grown carrots (his mom’s) for lunch. I didn’t put any thought into lunch for today, so it’s just that. I see that I have a PBJ leftover from last Friday in the fridge, too. I’ll be good.

((The “cut” goes here))

UPDATE: After work, I took the train home and grocery shopped for myself and the pick up the watermelon and flowers for my aunt. I made a dinner for myself that wasn’t too tasty until I added sunflower seeds to it. But it looked fancy. It was shredded baby cucumber, green onion, and bell pepper. Then I added some olive oil, rice vinegar, salt, a mix seasoning, and some fresh lemon juice. It was all right but improved with the unsalted sunflower seeds.

Then I cleaned up after myself, washed the dishes that were already in the sink, and ran a load of laundry. Then I sketched (I posted one of them). I went to bed by 11p. I had a terrible anxiety attack while waiting to fall asleep. It started from replaying an innocent conversation I had with Peter or his folks or something, but rapidly spiraled into thinking about my ex and and then remembering the time of the falling apart and then came the emotional torment of the knowledge of things gone wrong and how it could happen and how things were when we thought we’d end up together forever, etc. Moment of panic and being almost unable to survive it. If you’ve never had a panic attack, it’s hard to explain the moment of feeling like you will literally not survive it. A moment of terror like there is no escape. It was not too bad as far as that goes; I still felt able to breathe at least. I don’t know how I stepped out of it fast enough that I was able to calm back down and sleep within another 45 minutes. Today’s Mood Ranking: 4 – 5

CUT FOR SOME TMI GROSSNESS (my throat is not healthy)

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It began with an anxiety attack

Flowering tree

Flowering tree

Well, I crashed last night. I went to bed early and fell instantly to sleep. But I also had turned off my cellphone for the first time in many months.

This morning came and I could not bring myself to turn it back on. Yesterday’s anxiety attack had begun at the moment of glancing at my cellphone so naturally I couldn’t glance at my cellphone this morning. As much as I wanted to play music from it and assure a couple of people that was in fact still alive (one of whom I was supposed to meet at 11am), I couldn’t touch it or look in its direction.

When I got out of bed, I left it off, got ready for my day, and crept upstairs to eat breakfast. *caught*. My uncle pounced and tried to grill me as to why he could hear my alarm going off for two hours and what was I thinking. Add in other stuff I’m too tired to type up but y’all know how it goes.

Okay. Bin parts of yesterday, bin parts of today (already). TOMORROW, I’ll try again. TOMORROW, I will aim for some sort of forward or at least plateaued momentum. (Hey, at least I was out of bed before 11am again.)

But I am concerned that if anxiety attacks become a norm, I’ll end up back on the Wellbutrin. I know, it’s only been 2 days of it, but enough that I’m concerned.

Poem: The Wolves

You’re running
Your feet beat the path
One, Two, One, Two
You can do this
With your chest tightening
And your stomach burning
You have no choice but to succeed.

The wolves pad softly behind you
Working out a method, rounding a corner here and there
You can’t chance a peek behind but now and again, you hear a twig snap and the dead leaves rustle at their feet.

One, Two, One, Two
Your lungs scream for air
You’re focused like never before
Pump your arms forward
Pull yourself forward with every swing of your legs
Your heart hammers *it’s too much, it’s too fast!*
You will succeed because you have no choice.

–innerdragon