Holiday stress – Hell Yes!

I felt sick yesterday. Couldn’t eat, just wanted to sleep. I thought it was the flu but I’m not so sure. In the evening I thought more and more about why I might be feeling ill and then it clicked.

I’m freaking out!

This time last year and the year before I’ve been holed up in the psych ward, suicidal but safe. This year I’ve been doing ok but no matter how positive I am I can’t help but recall flashbacks and fear going back there again.

I’m also slowly trying to get my house tidied up as my Awesome, super-lovable Mum-in-law is coming to stay for a bit. I’m really excited and I know she just wants to see us but I still want to make things special for her of course.

I’m trying to do some meal planning and feeling guilty I don’t do any of the baking I used to do before I fucked up my back. I want to make French-Canadian Toutiere (meat pie) as I have for many years like my Mom and my Grandmother but I’m cheating this year and not making pastry from scratch like I used to.

There are a lot of things I simply haven’t got the energy or mental wherewithal to do anymore and saying this at 38 because of mental illness and chronic pain is crushing no matter if I should be used to it by now or not😢 Lowering my expectations was never a goal I thought I’d make. Lol!

My social anxiety seems to have kicked into high gear lately which is super great because this is the time of year for visiting. Yeeeeeah!

Anyway, ignoring all these feelings and worries and then over thinking them sent me into a full panic attack last night. Luckily my husband was able to talk me down a bit and make me laugh. The anti-anxiety meds helped too😉

But good things are happening also, I visited a close friend and her adorable baby and we decorated cookies, and chatted, and played with the babe. It was really a nice way to spend an afternoon. I even tolerated the first Christmas music of the season.

Happy Greetings & Season’s Holiday!

K

Today’s Special: Anxiety 

At risk of sounding whiney I’d like to express my experiences from earlier today. Sometimes it seems anxiety is a beast and I am its, long-suffering, bitch. 

It crept in this morning like a slow-moving fog, suffocating me before I realize how thick it is. I try to breath deeply and focus on listening to my headphones but the anxiety continues to bloom and blossom throughout my body.

This is the sketch I worked my anxiety out on. I think, for a practice piece, she turned out quite well. So glad I have access to such satisfying creative outlets.

I roll from my bed long before I need to be up, long before I’ve had enough sleep, and I stretch out my aching and tense muscles. The more anxious I become the more my pain increases…or is it the other way around?

I wrack my brain for a cause, pain management, upcoming appointments, over-booking myself, setting my expectations for myself too high, or some other myriad of possibilities. 

Could my anxiety be from baring my soul in a tell-all blog? I’m not used to offering up my life as story fodder in such a manner. Usually if I appear in one of my stories I am much more abstract or part of a composite and no more than a sidebar. 

Am I actually having an impact or is this some self-serving, narcissistic project only intent on garnering pity and pardon from everyday life? Is it worth giving it all away like this or should I continue to hide my mental health issues as is common practice?

I take a scalding hot shower and let the steam and water leech some of my aches and pains away. Next I head downstairs to a place of sanctuary. I click on an innocuous TV show and pull out my drawing tools. 

The smell of pencil shavings, erasers, and soft wax pencils all begin to sooths my jangled nerves. I immediately begin working on portrait practice. I find this skill difficult but difficult is what I need in order to best distract myself.

Soon I sink into a peaceful trance while I choose colours, begin shading, and try to rough in shadows and light. I add in my own touches and subtle changes. I let my imagination run wild.

Soon I am calmer and revel in it. I then head out the door to see a Dr. Just another day in paradise. I embrace the calm and get on with my day. 

K