So there's an about me meme going around, and it occurred to me--as I skipped all of 2017 on DW--that some things happened.
The first cut is a plain summary if you don't want to delve into My Epic Feelings About Anxiety Let Me Tell You About It. Trust me, it's a lot of words and I had feelings.
The second is the tumblr post I made and God was it hard to find, aka My Epic Feelings About Anxiety Let Me Tell You About It. There may be an earlier one? If anyone sees it, do tell.
(I also found my Story of Many Rabbits tumblr post! It will be posted as soon as I match up some pictures!)
In July 2017, I was walking to work when abruptly, I couldn't breathe. My mom came to pick me up and took me to work, but the problem continued. So doctor, albuterol treatment, and a diagnosis of asthma. Okay then. It was fine.
In late August, it happened again while I was at work, but worse. Went to the doctor, but the albuterol didn't seem to help. Nothing helped, actually, except a half dose of xanax and sleep; when I woke up, it started again with related hysterical crying and terror of kind of everything going wrong that I could imagine and I couldn't stop imagining.
This continued for a horrifying week where I came home to feed my rabbits once a day and sobbed hysterically or slept (a lot) in my mom's spare bedroom. My regular doctor told me it wasn't asthma; it was anxiety disorder. At some point, fuck knows how, this happened.
I could also have asthma; as it turns out, there's really not a good way to know, and as I have severe allergies anyway--to everything, apparently--congestion from that could also be the real problem.
I'm kind of rolling with it, by which I mean I'm angry half the time, scared of taking long walks or getting out of breath (could be asthma, could be my fucking brain, who the fuck knows) and doing it anyway and yes, its easier every day but I remember when 'easier' didn't apply to 'take a Pokemon Walk for fun'. It also fucked up editing teh last two chapters of Game of God, because funny story, I wrote an entire book based on the concept of people contracting a geas that causes flight/fight/freeze in response to their fear.
Yes, I wrote a book about people having magical fucking anxiety attacks that make them sometimes kill others and/or themselves. Because dramatic fucking irony isn't dead. I'm still editing it, but it has to be in tiny pieces and it still causes me--uh, problems.
On the upside, Book Five and Six got a lot of editing work done and I wrote a novel in between about a escaped mentally ill felon dealing with his mental illnesses, including panic disorder and anxiety disorder, while on the run with the serial killer he put in prison who is Stockholming him into being his new partner (or the other way around, IDK). There's also lots of murder and a cannibal; for reasons probably fairly obvious, it's very cathartic.
Date: March 29, 2018
Original tumblr post: http://seperis.tumblr.com/post/172399239670/the-dune-mantra-doesnt-work
The single most valuable piece of advice I ever received was from Te when we were chatting one night; she told me write what you fear.
I just didn’t realize it then.
I thought she meant like, for art’s sake, authenticity, so I’d be a better writer, so I wouldn’t avoid topics, so I’d make better stories...and it’s only now I think it wasn’t about being a writer at all. It was about being me.
I’m afraid my depression won’t change. I won’t cycle back out, I won’t get better, I won’t get worse. I’ll just be here, in this featureless, doorless, windowless room with nothing worth existing within it, until the day I die.
I’m afraid the anxiety attacks will keep coming. I won’t be able to breathe and I’ll be trapped in my bed or on my couch and do nothing worth doing, until the day I die.
I’m afraid of my own medication and I don’t know why, but I can by sheer accident work myself into an anxiety attack trying to take a half dose of fucking Zoloft. I’m afraid when it gets better that means it’s going to get worse; I’m afraid when it gets worse it won’t stop. I’m afraid it will be July and August last year where I thought I was going crazy in my mom’s spare bedroom when I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t stop crying and no one could tell me what was happening to me, what was wrong with me, what to do.
Depression and anxiety run in my family; until last year, I’d never had anxiety. I’d just had a well woman check, my stress was fine, there were no triggers, but I felt my depression coming back, and I did the responsible thing and talked to my doctor and we decided I’d go on anti-depressants; I have a life I love and I really wasn’t interested in giving that up.
One month later, on my walk to work, I abruptly couldn’t breathe. They thought it was asthma and that, I could deal with; that’s a thing. I’d had two bouts of pneumonia years ago, it’s been on the table for years. As it turned out, it wasn’t that.
One month after that, I was sitting outside reading at work and when I got up to go inside, I felt short of breath; when I got to my desk, I used my inhaler and settled back for it to work; it didn’t. Half an hour later, I was in the doctor’s office on breathing treatments that didn’t work; there was nothing wrong with my lungs.
For four fucking months, I couldn’t take a walk alone. For two months before that, I didn’t want to walk anywhere at all, alone or not. For a month during that time, the only time I left my apartment was for work. For a week, I couldn’t get out of bed in my mother’s guest room.
I told them: it can’t be that. I don’t have triggers, I don’t have that kind of stress, I’m not repressing some fucking trauma here. I was just living my life, nothing changed, nothing happened, not until this. There’s got to be a fucking reason.
My doctor, my practitioner nurse, and my psychiatrist all said the same thing: we don’t know. Sometimes, it just happens. The brain just does that.
This is my life; it’s going to chase me, I’m going to run, and sometimes it might catch me and it will never, ever stop. Worse, what’s chasing me is me; I’m never, ever going to get away. This is my life until the day I die, and that’s a long fucking time to run. I’m so tired already, but it’s not like I plan to stop.
So yeah, I figured it out; write what you fear. Give it shape and form on the page, look at it and see it and then do it again, and again, and again; it’s not that you won’t get it right the first time, it’s that there are a lot of ways to be right. I’ve written a hundred thousand words and there’s no end in sight; on a guess, this is going to take a while.
So right, let me be clear here: this doesn’t take away its power. I’m still afraid and still incredibly angry–-I could write a goddamn novel expressing how fucking angry I am with fuck as noun, verb, adjective, adverb, gerund, and prepositional phrase if I’m feeling ambitious–-and I’m still running. When it catches me again–-and it will–-I’m caught, no way around that. Luckily, I didn’t count on that happening; it won’t go away because I faced it down with resolution, willpower, coffee, and a keyboard. This is life, not a story.
But the stories I write? I make the rules, and there, that just might work. Sure, that doesn’t sound like much consolation, but actually, it kind of is.
…okay, but you know something weird? Could be wrong, so don’t hold me to this, it’s not like I”m objective here, but…every word I write, I feel a little less tired.
This has been a PSA from someone who just clocked forty thousand words of a deeply unsettling and rather pornographic roadtrip across the greater Midwest by a serial killer/rapist and the psychiatrist he kidnapped who testified against him in court, was later convicted of manslaughter via drug dealing and then double murder by creative lobotomy during a medication related psychotic episode and now has some issues and panic attacks because sometimes, you’re really fucking literal giving your fears form and sometimes, you decide to combine it with hand feeding, piercings, sex, and creatively recreational murder.
Right now, I’m not tired at all.
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