about me · Coping with anxiety · life · mental health · therapy

The Good and the Bad

I wish I could say that I felt inspired to write a post right at this moment because I have positive vibes and nothing but great things to share. That’s not it. Instead I felt the itch to write because I am in a bad mood and desperately wanted/needed some kind of outlet to get it out.

I don’t know who I am angry or frustrated at. Myself? The world? Other people? Or am I just pissed off because I hate life and I feel entitled to hating it since there is always something pushing me towards that dark place where everything seems f*cked and any happiness I’ve felt in the last few months is fleeting and never without anxiety coming into focus once again.

Living is so very hard. Many times, many days I honestly think I can barely take care of myself and that’s why I always circle back to a big HELL NO at the idea of having a pet or a child of my own someday. Recently I had to babysit my brother’s dog for 2 nights while he was away and that was exhausting enough; I would not want that job 24/7 all year. I also believe I am simply too selfish and set in my ways to make room available in my life for a significant other, let alone a child. I have a very limited amount of tolerance for socializing. After a few hours spent in someone’s company, I feel physically and mentally drained that I really need time to get away on my own. If this is not fulfilled, I find myself getting anxious and grumpy.

I’ve been continuing therapy via Zoom once a week with my therapist. Every week has a different feel to it. It is still jarring sometimes to be virtually face-to-face with another person and to have a conversation for a whole hour. There have been days where I think I can’t get through it for whatever reason; nerves, doubt, and even thoughts of self-loathing like, “Is this even helping me or am I just wasting the other person’s time?” I’m so afraid of being judged for everything and anything I share during therapy. Not only does my therapist knows about my reservations, he has told me that he understands and sees how hard it is for me and that he knows I have been doing my best, even months back during our sessions when the only way I felt comfortable participating in therapy was on Zoom through typing on the chat with both my no video and audio turned off. I never knew until I got this verbal confirmation from him how much I needed that kind of assurance from someone to tell me in actual words that they have compassion for me.

Thinking back now to the very first therapist I saw many years ago, I believe that’s why my time with that particular therapist went downhill. There were an abundance of things I wasn’t comfortable saying during therapy due to my fear of judgement from her, and many a time, my silence or non-verbal response to some things she said only exasperated her, which only reinforced my perception that any reaction I was giving would result in a negative reply. I also didn’t have the vocabulary at that time in my life to say, “I’m not sure how to respond” or “I don’t know how to express what I am feeling.”

I still take my medication (Lexapro) every night before bed. It has become part of my daily routine; so much that it feels like it has melded into the background noise of my life and become as easy and mundane as brushing my teeth. I am past the “lab-rat” stage where I had to self-monitor myself for side effects from the medication.

On my “bad” days, I struggle against the myth that medication is supposed to be a cure-all to numb me from experiencing any and all anxiety. Sometimes I do wish it were a cure-all even though that is impossible. Lexapro has given me more mood stability and less persistent depression. The combination of regular therapy sessions has also helped improve my cognitive skills in how I respond when I feel anxious in situations, but now I am not sure if some stuff I experience now is because I am continuing to harbor poor cognitive-response skills or if there is something more going on inside of me on an neurological level.

What has been nagging at me is the question of whether I could be on the autistic spectrum or have some autistic traits. I took a 30 question quiz online that apparently showed I have a “strong likelihood of Asperger syndrome or autism”. One question on the quiz that stood out was if certain types of background noises bothered me.

I remember having lots of sensory noise issues throughout my whole life. As a child, the ticking of my bedroom clock that counted every second of a minute gave me so much anxiety that I took out the clock batteries just to stop the noise so I could sleep peacefully. Or that time my ceiling fan was set to high speed and every time the fan blades whirled around to spin, the fan made a faint squeaking noise that terrified me to tears, to the point I imagined a mouse or some bug-like creature might bite me in my sleep.

Into my pre-teen years, I was often struck with terror over not being able to fall asleep because I was bothered by the sound of my neighbors across the street talking outside on their porch during the summer evenings. There was even a time when I couldn’t handle trying to lull myself to sleep through the constant low humming of my bedroom air conditioner.

As an adult now, the worst is the days (or nights) when I retreat to my room to have seclusion and I hear other people coming upstairs or moving down the hallway to my room. I especially hate the sound of my mother’s slippers on the wood flooring as she walks (sorry, Mom). That happened earlier today after dinner when my mother came up to start vaccuming all the rooms, including mine while I was in my bedroom. It wasn’t her that annoyed me, it was the noise of the vaccum and the pitter-pattering of her slippers as she was moving from room to room to clean everything. I had to fight the urge to close my bedroom door after she was done vaccuming and she had gone to vaccum a different room because that’s how much I hated the noise. To a person that doesn’t have sensory noise issues, this might seem like an extreme reaction but it’s one I have on a regular basis.

Featured photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash.

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