people always say the hard times will pass. they tell you that the bad memories will fade. i can’t remember a time or a problem when someone didn’t offer up those expected words of wisdom: it will pass; time heals (if you let it); things change.
it’s hard to believe that, though, when you’re down in the pit with all of the ugly; bound up tight in the grips of anxiety. the kind that takes you over body, mind, and soul. the kind that makes it impossible to remember or believe that there ever was or could be anything different.
my anxiety level has been climbing for weeks; from an awareness of it lurking in the background to an in-my-face, almost intolerable presence. it grew to the point where i was willing to do almost anything to make it stop. “anything” here literally means anything. i have done a great many harmful things – bingeing and purging, self-mutilation, cutting, substance abuse – to try and ameliorate my anxiety over the years. there was nothing i wasn’t willing to do to try and make it just go away.
the anxiety was as severe as it has ever been this past week and yet, i didn’t fall all the way. this time, i was able to hold back from behaviours that were too severe. i’m not, however perfect. i did some fairly negative and unhelpful things. my skin picking picked up, as did my smoking. so too did my withdrawal from the world and the things that keep me tethered here. yet, i didn’t fall over my line in the sand.
i haven’t binged and purged as yet. i didn’t engage in significant self-mutilation. the fact that i can quantify the levels to which i self-harm is alarming. it makes me sad. it helps me remember i don’t want to go back.
i’ve found that remembering to focus on what is and isn’t in my control is important. all i can control is me, and mostly all i can control are my behaviours. my thoughts have a mind of their own.
i’m the only thing standing between myself and a serious relapse. it’s quite the challenging position to be in. i didn’t really have much faith in my ability to resist.
however, i’m starting to get this “live in the moment” thing. i’m not bingeing and purging right now. that’s all i’m aiming for. it’s all i can control. it’s been six months of abstaining and i’d really like to not fall, but i’ve stopped thinking about tomorrow or even later today. i’m trying really hard to stay in the moment and hold onto the power to choose; it’s miserably uncomfortable not giving in but i did it.
i noticed today that my anxiety is starting to ease. it’s beginning to abate. even though i didn’t do the things that i used to believe i needed to do, it’s starting to pass. it’s dispersing without my harmful interventions. my chest is loosening, my thoughts are quieting, and my head no longer feel like it might explode.
i’m calming down. i’m pulling back from the edge, just by waiting and riding it out. who knew? of course, it may not go so well the next time, but that’s then, and for now, i feel a little hopeful, and a little proud of myself. i’m calling this a win.
there is, of course, a voice in the back of my head pointing out all the times i gave in to my urges and all the times i didn’t let it go but i think i shall tell that voice to shut up.
it too, will pass.
(april 8, 2018)