Even though I've been under a ton of stress, I feel much more in control of my bouts these days. And the boyfriend has gotten better at handling me when I'm like that. He still falls short, and we still argue, but I've come to realize when it's just ME and he's come to realize it as well. We're getting mentally healthier together, and it's been a long road, but for the first time I have true hope for our future. I feel like we have a ton of love and also that we are learning to make things work. The balance is blissful. This week he was so patient, and when I had my episode, he simply held on. He listened when I vented and didn't take it too personally. He listened when I said his comments were getting to me, and he noticed and stepped up when I was showing that I was overwhelmed. He didn't throw a tantrum; he gave me space, and I recognized that I needed the space, distanced myself to reflect, and didn't take it out on him. When I finally came back down, he saw the moment, kissed me, and said "There's my girl! She's back." And while we giggled about it and I sheepishly apologized for my sour mood, I'm both happy and saddened that he would say such a thing... It's bittersweet in so many ways.
This week I had anxiety for two full days. I could feel it, but I was having an issue getting it back to the point where I was ME again. I was simply overwhelmed and overworked and was not getting enough rest, and I cracked. It's weird because I can handle myself at work and in public. I can drag myself through the obligations that I have, but my sparkle isn't there and people notice. People make comments about how I'm "not myself," and the kids ask me a lot of questions about how I'm "feeling" and stay quiet when I retreat to my room to be alone. It's sad to me that I retreat to my bed. That's exactly what my mother has always done, and as a kid it upset me so deeply because I knew when she was closed up in there in the dark that it meant she was sad.
It's funny how now I recognize my episodes for what they are now and find ways to handle things. I've basically embraced that this is who I am and have learned to deal with it instead of freaking out like I have in the past. I used to look for the root "issue" of what was making me worry and stress and blame it on a person or thing. Now I just focus on the fact that it's me. It's my own horrid crushing anxiety taking over my brain and thoughts and putting me in a mental place where I don't want to be. A place where every problem is unsolvable, every mountain is too tall, and nothing I do will ever be good enough. A place where the world is full of obstacles and deadlines and people that hate me and there is really nothing to smile about. But now I tell myself there is plenty to smile about. I pray and meditate and figure out what my mind needs. I talk to people who love me, I make jokes, and I set myself realistic deadlines. I contemplate what I have to do, and I do it. My mood catches up eventually, and when it won't, I medicate with weed. That's the only thing that makes me a little disappointed in myself is the weed. It helps me mentally, but I don't want to be dependent on a drug to calm myself. And when I don't smoke, I am definitely physically healthier, which is always a goal... I'm planning on cutting out the weed beginning January 1, namely because I will have other mental and financial obligations that I need to focus on at the point.
I got into graduate school. In January, I will start classes to earn my masters degree... Me... Who would ever have thought? And I feel at this point like I'm being given a huge new opportunity to fix every problem I created from 2006-the present. I want to go through school without smoking weed. I want to be able to balance my job and classes and family and friends and have it all and do it well. I think I am capable. I know it will be difficult, but I have never been so willing to put in the work it will require to make my life better.
Three short years, and I can have a job that helps people, financially makes sense, and provides stability to start a real family with the boyfriend.
All I have to do is find balance and make the things happen that I want to happen. All I have to do is not get overwhelmed and focus on my goals. It seems so simple, but I know it will be a challenge. It's simply a challenge that I will have to overcome.