I’m still going through shitty things, so why not write about shitty things?
But I’m tired of talking about apartments and how none of them will rent to me because I have bad credit and an 8 year old misdemeanor on my record.
Times like these mean anxiety has been a constant companion. My only companion, most days. (Though last night i had the most wonderful drunken Skype call.)
Along with BPD and cyclical depression, I have also been diagnosed with panic disorder. This is the diagnosis that gave me 8 years of disability checks. Now, I’m a lot better than I used to be. Rewind 10 years and you would find me dry heaving on the side of the road because the two mile drive to the grocery store was too terrifying to endure without a break.
Even though I have improved since then, there are things that my brain has not yet allowed me to do without great difficulty. The voice in my head can be paralyzing with its intensity. It’s not saying, “Oh, I’d rather not. This is hard.” It says, “If you do this thing, you will die.”
Will I die from calling someone on the phone or reaching out to a family member when I need help? No.
Will I die if I live in an undesirable place? No, unless I jump out the window, and then it’d be my own stupid fault.
Will I die behind the wheel of a car? That one is actually a maybe. But the fight or flight response in my body tells me that whenever I do something on the “trigger” list, I will die, 100% guaranteed.
I can describe the feeling best with a movie scene. In the 2003 British historical drama Henry VIII, we see Catherine Howard at her execution. After her speech, her maid pulls the blindfold over her eyes, but before the ax can strike, she grabs the maid’s hand and pleads, “No. Stop. I don’t want to die,” then screams, “I DON’T WANT TO DIE. PLEASE LET ME GO. I DON’T WANT TO DIE. I’M SORRY.” She dies anyway, and she’s still crying when it happens.
I’ve read plenty of sad Tudors novels but that scene affected me deeply because I realized, that is the same voice that’s in my head. That’s what I hear when someone puts a phone in my hand, when I’m in the middle of nowhere and feeling isolated, or when I’m just beginning an unmedicated car trip. What looks to other people like a business call or a relaxing country road or a quick night drive, looks to me like a weapon covered in blood that I cannot escape from.
A “silly phobia” looks worse from the inside.