***Disclaimer*** I am going to attempt to make this a less rant-esque post but will likely fail. Anyone who’d like to pay fo my Focalin since insurance won’t can step up and then I will stay on topic and less rant-y.***
Fairly uneventful day but not without challenges to my mental health issues.
Primarily, the generalized anxiety and panic disorders.
I recently watched a show where some ass clown character declared ‘generalized anxiety disorder is crap, grow up, it’s called LIFE.” “But, Morgue, it’s a tv show, FICTION, you do need to grow up!” Except while this particular portrayal was fictional, it is, unfortunately, the norm in widespread societal thinking. “We all have stress, we all have anxiety, hell, I fear public speaking/spiders/snakes, I suck it up.” Sad but true.
The reality is…It’s not a normal level of anxiety. It’s excessive and extreme and crippling 70% of the time, and worse when combined with multiple mental health diagnoses. It does not know reason, it does not respond to bullying by others or yourself. Not to belittle, but in some ways, anxiety/panic disorders are similar to PTSD. Not the same, but similar. It’s a condition that can turn otherwise strong, intelligent people to behave in a way contrary to logic or even their own identity. None of us choose it and the fact is, many of us don’t know why we have it, there is often no constant trigger. It’s random thus generalized.
Life with severe panic disorder is itself a hell no one should have to contend with. Many of us do have to deal with it.
This week alone, I have had several panic attacks. To my credit, I have learned to manage them, as there really is no controlling them most times…But they were episodes severe enough to stick in my brain instead of sliding off like teflon as many of my bipolar issues do.
I had a week of nightmares about losing my child to the system, reason unknown, and the other day…she was 5 minutes later than normal coming out. My brain instantly started thinking, OMFG, they took my kid, she’s not coming out, they think I am a monster, I can’t survive losing my kid to the system, I try so hard! Illogical? Perhaps. No less terrifying. And mind you, this has been a constant since she started school 4 years ago. Any time the routine deviates and she comes out late, my go to thought is, OMG THEY TOOK HER AWAY FROM ME. Honestly, it’s legit what with society’s view on mental disorders. It only takes one “well meaning” or “vengeful” person to start the ball rolling. Or a volatile fickle child who didn’t get to play until 10 p.m so she claims I am ‘mean’ to her. I stand there at the fence, waiting and watching for her to come out, year after year, and if she’s ten seconds later than the days before…Panic sets in. I become paralyzed and the terror couldn’t be more extreme or real than if being chased by a chainsaw wielding madman.
I have, over the years, learned to save any major “march to the principal and demand to know where my kid is” overeactions by reminding myself…”Susie Q is in Spook’s class, she hasn’t come out yet, so maybe the teacher kept that class late or they are just slow pokes.” It doesn’t quell the anxiery, nothing does until I see her and she is by my side, but it does give me enough perspective to NOT act like a complete ass clown. Living this way 5 days a week is miserable. Not to mentioned the crowds and the parking (lack of) and now they changed their policy and bus in the kindergartners (they used to be picked up at the office they attended) so the parking and crowds have gotten even worse…It’s a daily battle to not be an overreactive ass clown.
It doesn’t matter to the world that I have a LEGIT disorder, agreed on by no fewer than 10 doctors, since I was 20 years old. Nope, just mad as a hatter.
Another thing that set off the panic disorder/paranoia/panxiety (paranoia mixed with anxiety) is renewing paperwork for our food stamps. I finally cleared my head enough to fill it out and it said I have to interview with a caseworker. Last time I just took the papers in and they said, “Thanks, you showing up was your interview.” This time, some prickly dude at the desk decided on the spot, “Take a seat, you can talk to a caseworker” and I told him I needed to make an appt because I had ten minutes before getting my kid from school…He seemed pissy and claimed to have a caseworker call me. Whether after the deadline for losing benefits or not remains to be seen but now I feel glued to my phone.
And I am fairly certain why I suddenly need to do the in person interview. I’ve been receiving benefits ‘too long’ and they are going to demand to know why I haven’t managed to get a job and get off food stamps. The state has long been broke and my sister just had her medical and stuff cut off but hey, after 19 years with a physically and mentally able husband who won’t work but smokes his weight in pot and your kid now of legal age and not in school…Maybe in that case it’s legit.
In my case, my disability is legitimate. I WANT to work. Unfortunately, I can’t a single employer who finds a manic depressive anxiety ridden sporadically functional single mom a ‘good’ job candidate. I’ll write greeting cards, do balloon porn (oddly, yeah, it’s a thing, weird, but not as weird as foot porn), pretty much anything with a flexible schedule to work around my disabilities. In this area…Those jobs don’t exist, especially when you burned every bridge you’re qualified for years before getting a diagnosis that would explain your flaky behavior to potential employers. And considering my mental state is so precarious I can’t even bathe reguarly or wear undergarments or even take my kid to a bloody carnival cos the crowds make me spaz…I’m not touting myself as stable or desirable.
Again, the world does not care.
So here I sit waiting for public aid to call and set up an appt to lambaste and further shame me just so I can get benefits to half ass buy food for my kid. This isn’t swallowing your pride, this is cannibalizing your own soul. This was not supposed to be my life. But then, I was never supposed to be on a medication that caused brain damage, either. Which wouldn’t have happened had our local hospital been competent enough to contact my doctor (and they were presented with the bottles of my psych meds with the doctor’s name on them) so I could have been treated sooner before the mini stroke and brain damage.
Sometimes, it really IS a chain reaction of shitty events that lead you down the rabbit hole.
To anyone who says anxiety and panic disorders are ‘bullshit’…I wish it upon you not out of spite but out of a desire for empathy. You don’t know until you’ve been here and your judgement says more about you than me, or others with this malady. You wouldn’t presume to be so rude and dismissive of a cancer patient’s battle but mental health issues are fair game?
Makes me grateful that “rude and cruel” are not synonyms for “chemically imbalanced”.
Even imbalanced, I can muster up empathy.