After every bout of depression that I overcome, I end up with anxiety issues. At times they’ve been crippling and become serious problems of their own as they lead to panic attacks and social phobia. This bout of depression has been no different and I’ve been lumbered with trying to get past the anxiety and ‘habits’ that have developed during this period. And just like this bout of depression that has manifested itself differently in the physical sense, so too has the anxiety.
I’ve not had the racing heart that leads to a panic attack, nor have I really had the social phobia. Instead I’ve developed some sort of anticipatory anxiety. I think it’s something I’ve always got (I’m a worrier by nature), but can usually control it without too much effort.
Every single day I wake up and I’m worried about how I will manage the day. I worry that I didn’t get enough sleep or the quality of my sleep was poor so I’ll find it difficult to function and stay awake. I worry that the slight pressure I feel behind my eyes or stiffness in my neck is going to become a full blown, crippling headache that will spiral out of control and lead to days of endless headaches followed by a headache hangover that will last several more days. I worry about aches and pains, and are they going to lead to other serious bouts of physical incapacity like I experienced three years ago.
And so I take it easy. I play it safe. I don’t want to rock the boat so I rest, and I rearrange meetings and readjust my working hours. I forgo social invitations and even basic self care like eating well and bathing. Of course this leads back to those feelings of guilt and that I’m lazy, which means I don’t actually rest because I’m too busy listing all the things I should be doing but I’m not.
I feel trapped and paralysed by this anxiety. I can’t break it’s spell. I tell myself that if I just get up and get going everything will be OK. Getting bathed and dressed and fed will make me feel human and like nothing is wrong (and this is quite true). But some voice bubbles up from underneath all of this and tells me no, lie in, go to work later, take the strong painkillers and rest of the aches and pains. And I give into this voice because it is effortless to do so and I feel like everything takes more effort than it really should. It means that every night when I turn out the light and tell myself that tomorrow will be different, that tomorrow I’ll get up without any fuss and bathe and eat, I’m inevitably lying to myself as nine times out of ten, the voice tells me to take the easy road.
And the cycle continues. Unbreakable.