February 11, 2018

Ritual

Anxiety, to me, feels like drowning. It's exactly like a very vivid memory I have from being a child, swimming in a pool at a friend's house. We were going back and forth to see who could get as close as possible the bottom of the deep end - I touched it, but felt myself unable to hold my breath for much longer with still several feet to go before surfacing. It was a split second that felt like ages, where I looked up through my goggles and saw the distance still to go, and felt certain that I would not reach the top again. I did, gasping, and never, ever forgot that very distinct feeling of being so close yet not having the strength or power to pull through.

Last week, I went into my Weight Watchers meeting and started crying as soon as the leader, Cassie, asked how my week had been. It was more than the scale - it was my anxiety, long-boiling and now spilling out in sobs.

I told her I'd run out of my anxiety medicine a few weeks earlier and I was deeply struggling. I told her I had finally found a local doctor who was taking new patients and scheduled an appointment, but it wasn't for another few weeks, and in the meantime, my ex-husband had just visited and my dad was back in the hospital and the new semester had just started and just all the usual stuff was overwhelming me.

I calmed down and regained my composure enough to get on the scale, and while filling out my member booklet, Cassie asked if there was anything else I was open to trying while I waited for my appointment to come - any herbal remedies or anything like that, like teas.

I was ready to try almost anything.

After the meeting, I went to the store and found something claiming to "promote tranquility" - knowing full well not to expect miracles, but rather, just hoping to carve out a few moments every day for myself with something warm and soothing. I know with entire certainty that being back on medicine is the best plan of action for me, I'm doing the best I can to create a bit of peace in the meantime.

So far, it's been nice - I don't know if it's the tea itself, or just the ritual of winding down with something comforting. I'm very much someone who soothes with food, and this feels like making peace with that. It's indulging my craving to consume, while still keeping in line with my goals.

My appointment is a week from Wednesday, and I am trying to find a peaceful place between the hopefulness of a calmer mind with the reintroduction of medicine, and the lingering anxiety of the side effects I'd experienced in the first few weeks after first beginning the medication. The worst of the side effects was profound apathy - to go from obsessing about everything to caring about nearly nothing was a huge challenge. After a couple of weeks, I balanced out, and found a good groove of where to sort my attention and how to properly distribute my worries. But getting back to that point is nerve wrecking.

Another thing that has helped tremendously is Headspace, a meditation app. My friend Marisol recommended it and I absolutely love it. The first few days I struggled a bit - without fail, a few minutes into the meditation, I'd fall asleep. But talking to folks helped me come around to it. If falling asleep is the calm peaceful quiet my mind needs right now, then it's working, even if this isn't necessarily the ideal meditation goal.

Again, I don't know if it's the tea, the meditation, or what, but I think everything together as an evening ritual has helped quiet my worries, at least at bedtime, and I'm deeply grateful for that.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Consider - 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan). It usually takes the curb off my anxiety. I hope your appointment with the doctor goes smoothly.