Imagine having a web browser with about 500 tabs open. You know what each one is open to; website, email, banking, work, a chat. LOTS of chats. But you're handling it for now. Some are important but others you can let go. Overall you're doing okay. You're getting work done. Sure there are 500 tabs open but you're handling it like a pro. And this is your life.
Then one morning, a tab blinks with an alert to tell you that whatever is happening in there is extremely important. So you click on one to resolve. And while you're doing that another blink catches your eye an you quickly work on the first tab you're on and move to the next one.
Another tab blinks.
Okay sure you'll just check on that now and see...
There goes another tab.
Soon, your entire browser is blinking all at once and you don't know which tab to click. Klaxons start wailing from your speakers. Each task is insisting they are the most important and needs to be prioritized. You need to send that email. You need to check in with your mother. You need to remember to send your nephew his birthday gift. You need to revise that chapter.
You need to.
You. Need. To.
It has to happen now. All of it now.
YOU NEED TO DO ALL OF THIS NOW!
But you can't. You're just staring at your monitor, slack-jawed and sweating. Your stomach knots and you can taste bile. Your hands start to shake. For a split second, you consider writing it all down, making a priority list. That worked the first time you tried. But you're so damn heavy with thoughts that you can't even think about which task was the most important.
Because they're all important. At least that's what your brain is telling you. Every last one of those tasks are important. But you'll never get to them. You have no time. The sudden panic has zapped your energy and every blink of the tab makes you exhausted. Laying down is the only option.
Then the spiral happens.
You failed at today. So you think about all the other failures that riddled your life; that one time you were insensitive to someone and hurt their feelings, what a little shit you were to your dad that one time. And now he's dead and you wonder if he still remembered that one time you were awful on his deathbed. You think forward to times where you will probably come across as an awful human being. Are you really awful? Have you been fooling yourself for decades? Chances are you are awful.
So you close your laptop, because whats the point? You go to the couch, turn on Netflix, and you cry. You eat ice cream and you feel like a stereotypical mess like in the movies. You go to bed but lay awake thinking of all those blinking tabs.
Its going to happen again tomorrow.
You're going to get overwhelmed tomorrow.
You can't do this.
You can't keep up.
You'll never keep up.
This is your world forever; a mobius strip of endless blinking tabs that will never leave you alone.
This is where I have been lately. And it sucks.
Ever since my dad passed away, I've been having those days. Grieving is exhausting. It's an energy vampire. And there are days when I just can't keep up with my tabs and let them blink while I flip my internal monitor the double bird.
Back to the couch I go.
But I really don't want to end this post on such a downer note because its not always like that. Since I was diagnosed, I found coping mechanisms. I make lists, even if they don't always work. I try to set reminders in my phone when my brain functions enough to remember to do so. Long walks with myself. Long talks with myself. Shouting at my brain to chill out. My stubborn streak to succeed is stronger than my anxiety, thank God, and I can usually push through with one, some, or all of those methods. I'm one of the lucky ones. My anxiety is mild compared to some. I can curl up at the bottom of that emotional pit and know, deep deep down, that its temporary.
Someone once told me that everything is temporary; you job, your life, your moods. That used to terrify me. Everything is temporary? Death! Destruction! Mayhem! Noooo! Temporary felt like such a scary word when in reality, its a peaceful truth. Because even when good things are temporary, so are bad. That includes panic attacks, and the depression that follows.
Now, its my mantra. Its temporary. I'm not always going to feel like I failed. I'm not always going to be trapped in a dark room filled with blinking tabs. Eventually, things are going to calm down and if I just hang on and take care of myself (sleep, eat well, meds, etc) I will break out of that goddamned room.
If there's one thing to take out of this rambling blog entry of mine its this: when you're trapped at the bottom of the pit always remember, its temporary.
Its always temporary.