Trigger warning: Intrusive thoughts and discussion of suicidal thoughts. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please text ‘HOME’ to 741741 and chat with a crisis counselor.
Today you’re getting a bonus post. It’s been a particularly rough few days.
I’m learning as a new mom that my clueless-ness is a new trigger for my anxiety.
And it’s not pretty.
I do love a good meme, however. I stumbled across this one on ye ol’ Facebooklandia, mostly because it’s true. Very sadly true.
Over time I’ve come to realize that anxiety is not a ‘one size fits all’ type of
demon asshole disease illness. The typical presumption is that if you’re anxious, you’re simply scared of everything. That a panic attack ‘looks’ like the Hollywood depiction of a person hyperventilating, with tunnel-vision until they faint.
Except… it’s not always like that.
I spent the better part of the last year learning a lot about what my anxiety is, and what it isn’t. And days like this are a sobering, painful reminder of what it is. I will admit that the last couple of months have been calm and I was enjoying forgetting what it was.
Today’s trigger (or the last four days) was my son being sick. Really, it’s not that in and of itself – but everything else that took place as a result. He was too sick to go to a sitter’s house while I worked. So he was home. My husband was working, so I wasn’t getting as much help as I very desperately needed, so the house is now a mess. The baby has been clingy because he’s sick, so I haven’t had time to care for myself. It’s been chaos, but one thing was very clear – I was ignoring all of my triggers (lack of help, starvation, ignoring self care, not grounding myself).
And then it happened. I found myself smack dab in the middle of an anxiety attack. But it wasn’t your stereotypical attack.
It was anger. Despair. Rage. The feeling of impending doom. But it was also tightness in my chest. My mind was racing. I could feel my heart racing and the blood running through my veins. My brain felt like it was on fire. I became hyper-aware of the need to control every movement so my anger didn’t take over.
And then my old friends showed up. The ones I fought so hard to eradicate.
Intrusive thoughts. Thoughts of suicide.
These always pop up when my anxiety is at its absolute worst. They’re called intrusive for a reason, because they are entirely unwanted. From my point of view, intrusive thoughts are widely misunderstood. “If you have suicidal thoughts, then you must want to die, right?”
Wrong. Very wrong. I don’t want these thoughts. I don’t want to die. Truly, in my heart of hearts, I don’t want to feel this way. It’s terrifying, exhausting, and uncomfortable to have these thoughts.
“Just end it. That’s the only way to escape the pain.” “You would be better off dead than to keep trying to fight this.”
They’re like a black cloud that you can’t out-run. They show up unannounced like your relatives when your house is a mess. They’re the distant aunt who overstay’s her welcome and eats all your food, and tells you you should consider losing a few pounds. The ancient relative that pinches your cheek at holiday dinners even though you’re a grown ass adult.
Point is.. they’re the worst. And you can’t do anything about them besides hope and pray you are strong enough to ignore them.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please text ‘HOME’ to 741741 and chat with a crisis counselor.