On Returning to Self

Hello darlings. I still exist.

CW on this entry for frank discussions about covid fueled anxiety and depression. Some not great mental health stuff. If you start to feel bothered please feel free to bounce.

Okay.

Full disclosure I have not been well. At the best of times I’m a shitbucket of anxiety and feelings and twitchiness. Everything added to my regular shit really knocked me down. I’ve been so anxious and weird. I’ve been too overwhelmed by my own feelings about Teonna and the protests and stay home.

Back in April I knew I didn’t feel right. Generally in life I already do a lot of the protocols that have been recommended. Mask wearing has been a challenge but I got it figured out but, in my head I felt like everything was too precarious. I was terrified of the endless possibilities for everything awful to happen.

The way my anxiety works sometimes is that I percieve there is a threat or danger. Then my brain goes 100 mph with gigabytes of solutions that range from simple oh hey I can help myself with X by doing X. That is a good adaptation of using my anxiety for good.

And then there’s the bullshit.

Money is or seems like it is tight, my brain starts calculating how much less food I can eat/buy for work and which of my vitamins not to take. I get obsessive about stocking up but also not spending money. Poor kid trauma is fuckin real.

And let me say a word about economic trauma. I have been slept outside because I didn’t have bus fare home poor. I have been afraid about not being able to feed my little fam more than splitting ramen packs. Counting change at the dollar store for 1 pack of ramen and a tin of tuna poor. That is real. Right now, we are not that poor.

Through moving, budgeting and whatnot we are not in reality doing bad financially right now. For my worry, that part of my life is actually going well. That’s part of what got me so fucked up. Other than the rona life isn’t terrible. And then my brain went on a real bullshit ride to fucktown.

One of the first things I noticed about how I was feeling is I lost interest in make up and my clothes. I find a lot of pleasure in how I use my meatbag to express myself. I love my lil casual office goth outfits. I love make up. I love skin care and I just stopped caring.

That was a high sign to me that I was feeling more fucked up than I admitted. Also I was/have been having just a lot of trauma response and the stress of that kind of wrecked me.

So, what to do?

The first thing I did was to allow myself to go through it. I know that is very antithetical to a lot of going discoruse but, for me disallowing myself that humanity is too much a reflection of the misogynoir I live on a daily basis. I wrote a piece a while back about the ways in which Black women are denied humanity and I refuse to do it to myself.

I’ve kept myself safe but I have been struggling.

I started a few weeks ago trying to do what I know how to do. I rely on my self-care methodologies (more on that later) to help myself.

I got back on to my skincare routine. I deep conditioned and oiled my hair. I ordered some faux locs. I started doing research to level up my skin care. I’ve been wearing my cute summer clothes.

Does it cure shit? No.

The reason I’ve been working on my self care this way is because I think I’ve finally learned that sometimes, I’m just gonna be like this. I also started a new journal complete with some great stickers cause I love stickers.

[image description: photo of a black journal with stickers on the front. From the bottom: pink Daddy sticker, a heart shaped Pride sticker with a power fist, upper right the Death tarot card upper left, a round sticker with a black cat]

I’m not doing great. I am improved. I’m not weeping at random moments. I haven’t had a meltdown in the shower in a few weeks or been stuck on the toilet crying. I’m still not right but I’m working on it.

If you made it this far thank you.

And I want to tell you this. if you are struggling you are not alone. Please don’t be afraid to reach out for help. I used some telehealth emergency therapy. You don’t have to perform “strength” because you believe or feel like you’re not allowed to not be doing well.

Don’t wait until it is too late and too hard.

Now my loves. I’ve missed blogging so look forward to some clothing reviews. A hair update. And some other fun stuff.

I love you friend. Please take as good care as you can of yourself okay?

Oh the Chaos.

Oh my darlings.

The move aftermath keeps on going. My life/home are still fairly chaotic and y’all, I ain’t with it.

Given that I’m already a very anxious constantly freaked out person, trying to get my house in some order has just wrecked me. I’m nervous and upset, we are eating a lot of garbage food and trying to figure out life has been hard.

That said- I have figured out some stuff.

I have rediscovered the joy of some small luxuries. There is a little bodega downstairs in my building and I bought a big bag of ice. Seems like nothing but, our previous house the freezer was weird and small so I rarely had ice at home. I made myself a couple of jugs of fridge tea and having that on hand is pretty ding dang great.

I’ve also tried out being intentionally cozy and making myself rest. I don’t recall if I mentioned it but a few weeks ago during the most intense part of the move, I rolled my ankle pretty badly. My foot and ankle swelled up, it hurt a lot and since y’all know life gotta go on sometimes I did not stay off of it.

Once we got all moved in, I got myself into bed, I had my current crochet project, a giant mug of tea and I just got cozy. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but, I have a habit of GO GO GO until I fall out or until my spoons are WAY into the negative, doing this intentionally was nice. A lot of the time, I resent rest. I always feel like I have SO MUCH to do.

I have freelancing to work on. Patreon to work on. I have my hustle to work because the move ate all our money and I’m stressed as fuck.

Now I know good and goddamn well (SHIT I WROTE A WHOLE ASS BOOK ABOUT SELF-CARE) and yet, there I was burning the candle at both ends and not allowing myself to heal at all. I wasn’t giving myself a chance in hell of really being able to settle into our new life and I started getting sick and everything went downhill.

So, I committed coziness. And it was okay. If I’m gonna keep things 100, I’m not good at it. I NEED to fix and put away and try to get things in order. However if my body was a person it would be trying to fight me and screaming CAN U FUCKIN NOT.

Like BRO COME ON FUCKING STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHP.

Ahem.

That has been a struggle.

So this adjustment is a lot more than I anticipated. I also figured out that I built up the life change with this move and I guess I was expecting it to be easier? Or that I’d be able to superperson it out a lot more and I’ve fallen into some old harmful patterns of expecting myself to manifest super powers and do ALL THE THINGS.

I really expected a lot more of myself than I am capable of and having to face in my inability has been crushing. Again I find myself having rejected the idea that my able bodiedness is just not a thing anymore and expecting able bodiedness from myself in a way I would NEVER from anyone else.

Dealing with my terrible internalized ableism has just been the hardest part of all this. I hate that sometimes I treat myself so poorly and justify it because, shit has GOT to be done. I have set myself back in terms of the work I’ve done on this and I’m trying to deal with it without being a fucker to myself.

It is hard.

That said, I’m ready for an improvement in the quality of our lived life. I’m ready to be able to socialize without things being so hard and I’m ready to learn to be cozy.

At the suggestion of loved ones, if you are so inclined find our ever growing housewarming wishlist on Amazon here. 

Next post will be some updated skin care, some hair wins and whatnots.

Reasons why I am anxious.

Right now I have anxietied myself to near tears and lately apparently that’s what my brain is gonna do.

So yes, hello your fave Auntie has some major anxiety problems and many of them have been life long. I’m working on being more open about this because the things that can cause a panic attack or this kind of mid-level hard to breath I want to cry anxiety embarass me. The more shitty part of my brain says, what the whole fuck is wrong with you?

For instance, y’all know (or if you don’t now you do) that I am a writer. I had a piece published last week and it has legs and people have said really great things to me about it. Granted there has been some pushback, some pepe wielding dickholes have been trolling but that doesn’t bug me so much. What did make me have an actual panic attack was that some folks said SUPER nice things and yeah.

Sometimes   frequently, when great or good things happen to me I panic. Compliment? Panic. Someone I admire says something low key praise like, lost shit. Offered an opportunity? FREAK OUT.

This flavor of anxiety almost always elicits a fear response. Bug eyes, sweating, fight or flight. Terror. I start sweating, I might shake. I don’t cry normally but I am scared as fuck.

Why?

I don’t fucking know.

My brain is full of fuck.

Other reasons I’m anxious today:

  • I woke up
  • My bus was late
  • I was late for work
  • I can’t find a dance class I can afford
  • I really need new underwear
  • I have to finish a new piece.
  • I didn’t make ALL the blog posts I wanted to.
  • I’m kind of overdressed for the weather.
  • I wrote some new poems.
  • I am not sure what si

Um along with other things this is what’s on the hamster wheel of my brain.

The worst thing about the way I experience anxiety is that it exacerbates my fatigue problems. Am I exhausted because I slept like shit or because I’ve been so anxious all day I’ve felt like I might shit my pants.

I can hear my brain grinding away and I have shit to do. I have art to make. I am tired of my own crazy* hamster wheel brain that won’t just let me live.

A lot of me wants to battle this. A lot of me wants to deny it, stonewall it and power through because that is how I learned to deal with my mental illness from a young age. I wasn’t depressed, I was whiny. I wasn’t having problems, I was just not pulling my bootstraps hard enough.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

I also don’t want to just be a shitty pants, sobbing mess.

It is a fine line.

Some of how my life works requires that I don’t express outwardly how I’m feeling inside. I can’t sit on the floor at work ugly crying. I can’t throw myself on the ground in public.

This coupled with being struck with a 6 day cluster headache attack that I worked through 5 days of has made me not great.

I’m recovering but y’all, shit has been fuckin rough.

And I’m not trying to push myself to work beyond my limits so blogging is not gonna be as regular as I hoped it to be.

I’m working on it.

Also my friend Katie has a podcast and if you want to hear some folks talk about how this shit feels, listen. It is great.

Live From the Dollar Store-CW: mental health, panic, shame spirals.

I am not literally at the dollar store right now but my heart is there.

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of work on identifying anxiety triggers. Part of me trying to deal with the reality of living with my flavor of mental illness and trauma involves a lot of me sitting with my anxiety or panic and letting it happen and then trying to figure out how I got there.

Another thing I’ve been slowly learning to allow myself to do is express what’s on my mind mid-freakout. Once upon a time, I was barely capable of telling my best friend over IM. I spent years supressing any outward signs of having emotions much less of having a panic attack that now, my deepest desire is to let it out.

So look here for what I was tweeting in a nice storified way. And then come back to this tab so I can tell you what was gong on in my head.

What set this off on Friday was that I was already feeling very nervous about what/how we were going to eat through getting my paycheck, paying the rent/bills, and until my partner’s EBT refilled. Typically the end of one month into the first week of the next is really difficult for me. I’m partly relieved, and then I’m angry all over because my paycheck barely covers my rent.
By that point in the month, we are always on the dregs of what we’re eating. My partner has health problems and I know how much of a difference a better diet could make but, we have some intersecting things that make doing that extra hard.
I know that I would feel better overall if we could eat better. I know that I feel the best when I use a less “diet” based way of eating and just eat what I want when my body says I want it.
That is expensive. I can’t afford it.
And last Friday, I was hit up for money to be taught marketing and the person used a lot of negging to do it and it caused me to have a panic attack and subsequent bout of pure rage.
The anger was mixed with my panic because, boom I had an instant cascade of food insecurity.  And what do you know, afterwards (and after eating thanks to some gracious donations) I was able to figure out and pinpoint that food insecurity for either myself or my Lil family, sends me deep into panic and anxiety and shame.
What does that have to do with the dollar store?
Our neighborhood dollar store is slightly small, cramped and usually hot as hell. The staff is pretty friendly and they have food.
Generally speaking, I always have a jar of change, I have my emergency dollars stashed and I know if I can walk up there, I can feed my little family.
It is not the best food.
But it is sometimes what makes the difference between eating and not. Between, getting some protein and eating plain ramen.
Sometimes when I’m panicky about making sure my partner has something to eat in the house if he’s unable to get out or when I realize I don’t have any lunch, the dollar store is there.
And for that, I am terribly thankful.
[<a href=”//storify.com/Weebeasty/the-external-meltdown” target=”_blank”>View the story “The External Meltdown” on Storify</a>]