About a month ago, I had a semi-traumatic experience that effectively lowered my threshold for anxiety, meaning it’s become a lot easier to set me off with stress and triggers. I’ve worked pretty hard to develop coping mechanisms for the symptoms of my disorders over the years, but this past month I felt like I’ve regressed and been losing my strength.
I had to go to my psychiatrist, for an unscheduled visit, where we decided that for the next month or two I need to be back on the meds I used to be on a couple years ago when things were pretty bad. Between that and the physical pain and stress I’ve been experiencing with a toothache that lead to a tooth extraction, I’ve kind of been a mess lately. I’ve been curling up in my room with Bug, not wanting to leave.
Things seemed to be slightly improving. I came to visit Joe, did some work on my laptop that just thinking about before provoked anxiety, and went out to eat some solid food for the first time since I had my tooth pulled. As I was leaving the restaurant, I spilled my to-go cup of orange soda all over myself, the table, the floor. Everyone was super nice about it, got me a new cup, and told me not to worry about it with friendly jokes, but as soon as I walked out the door I burst into tears.
It’s just been feeling like I can’t do anything right lately, and it blows. I know it’s all little stuff, and I know it’s all fixable. In the grand scheme of things, these complaints and issues don’t matter, but I want to be real with you.
I write this sitting in Joe’s shirt while my dress dries, next to the half-drunk plastic cup of orange soda. These feelings are fresh, this news is current, and I’m doing an exercise as we speak to make myself feel better. This is an exercise that I recommend to each of you if you’re feeling shitty, if you’re questioning your self-worth, or if you’re just going through a tough time of any kind: talk to yourself like you would to your best friend. If my best friend came to me and told me the recapped story I just shared with you, I would tell her this:
“There’s no use in crying over spilled orange soda, babe. Some days suck. You did a good job by going to see professionals about your anxiety and your tooth pain, and the medication is going to help in the time being. While that helps you out, you can work on building your coping skills back up. You did it once before from a much worse-off place, and there’s no reason you can’t do it again. In fact, the meds you’re taking are kind of messing with your basic motor skills which is probably why you spilled the drink in the first place! You’re still awesome, and you’re doing great things despite all this. Take time for yourself, but keep your goals in sight. I love you.”
That feels a little better now. I hope you’ll try that trick in the future, because it works. It’s always easier to be harder on ourselves than someone else, so be kind! I love you, make sure you love yourself, too.