Me, at Odds with…Me

For three weeks I haven’t looked at my manuscript. It wasn’t a planned hiatus. That’s a sign that something is definitely out of kilter. My racing thoughts are back, I’m not sleeping, and my poor, poor Realm has had to listen to me blubber about all the insane, second-guess worries that pop into my head and grow to incredible proportions. It’s been a gradual discovery over the past three weeks, as I’ve weaned off what I’ve been on for seven months. Controlling what feels like my brain on hives isn’t purely a physical exercise. I exhaust my body and my mood by trying to ‘lift’ the tendency of my racing thoughts, redirect them, step back from them and see I’ve lost focus, etc. all day and late into the night. It’s not productive. There may come a time when I don’t have the option, but right now I have the means of slowing down the misfires in my head. I’m going to take it.

I’m not going to lie: This is a very disappointing discovery. I want to do this without medication. I want to treat it with exercise and healthy eating and meditation, with prayer (and lots of it!) and patience and mature reasoning. I don’t drink or smoke. I have a super supportive family. I’ve been doing everything I know to do.

Heart surgery at the Clinical Center
Heart surgery at the Clinical Center (Photo credit: National Institutes of Health Library)

It’s a clinical issue, like a stone-filled gall bladder or hearing loss. I’ve got to accept that. I’ve got to accept the medicine, as well, because it’s clear God doesn’t work through miracles today. He works through the natural laws He designed and upholds. He works through physicians and nurses. He chooses a much more complex path to provide aids and solutions that make illnesses, diseases, and disorders manageable in our world of entropy. Well, maybe it’s complex to me. Not for Him.

I accept surgery. I accept hearing aids. I’m having a hard time accepting this because it’s something I can’t explain. When did it start? When did it become too much to handle? Could it go away? Is it the result of something in the food I eat? The water I drink? Hey, wait! What about the antiperspirant I use or the shampoo I wash my hair with? Can’t I find a natural remedy for it, take an herbal supplement or drink some kind of medicinal tea? I’ve asked all of these questions and so many more, researched my options, gradually made changes, and seen no improvements. Yet, the medicine works. I don’t like that I’m reliant on a pill, but it works.

Pill tablet
Pill tablet (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

So, now you know where I am right now, and why you’ve heard nothing from me in the comments of your posts lately. I’m frustrated with myself, and I might take that out on you unintentionally. So I don’t comment. I ask for your patience while I sort this out. And you know I can use encouragement, if you have any you can give.

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Past the Crowd to the People

People jostled against her as they passed. The music from half a dozen different bands engulfed her. She felt smaller than ever. Smaller—and more vulnerable.
***
The groups of people on the street were too loud, too large. What had, moments before, seemed a good-humored crowd of San Franciscans enjoying a weekend street fair now seemed a threatening mob. A man stumbled against her, and Violet gasped as if the contact had been an assault. I’m lost, she thought in sudden panic.

PaperQuake by Kathryn Reiss

Violet Jackstone’s fear really gripped me as I read it. I’ve felt this way before… and I wasn’t lost. I’ve felt like this in a store or at a party. I deal with social anxiety. I don’t do well in groups of people, and the more they invade my personal space, the more unresponsive I become. Confronting so many in one setting overwhelms my natural tendency to want to get close and know what makes a person special. So I clam up. I don’t respond readily when someone addresses me. During one of these overload moments, I trip over the simplest conversations. It’s like my brain has hives.

I’ve been treating my anxiety for six months now, hoping I can learn to be more responsive. Now I’m more relaxed, and that seems to bring more opportunities into my life, more interaction, more—I hate to say it—drama. I was oblivious to a lot of it before. Is it insane that I kinda miss being oblivious? It was so much easier! Now I’m learning how to respond patiently to drama.

Quiet time
Quiet time (Photo credit: Lel4nd)

So I’m not the anxious introvert anymore. But I’m still an introvert! I’m pleased that being myself in groups is easier, but part of being myself means stepping out of the crowd and taking a breather. I’m not unhappy with being an introvert, I’m unhappy with the pressure put on me to react like an extrovert. It affects me when I am perceived as cold or dismissive, or undemonstrative, when I’m oftentimes trying to give the space I would want someone to give to me.

In the book PaperQuake, Kathryn Reiss writes about thinking laterally, connecting the dots in a different configuration than the conclusions we jump to. She isn’t discussing human interaction, but I think it’s great thought to carry over. It means giving each person the benefit of the doubt. I shouldn’t interpret someone’s actions according to my experiences or my personality. I want to make thoughtful decisions about how I relate to those I love and am learning to love more deeply. Then the crowd stops being a crowd and becomes a great big family.