So I’m nauseous. And the other night I was up for more than an hour with severe stomach cramps. I just don’t feel right. And when I don’t feel right, especially when I’m experiencing non-specific unwell symptoms I start to get nervous. Am I just letting the crazy too close to the surface? Is it taking over my body? Because I want to get pregnant again soon I’m trying to keep the chill pills to a minimum. I can’t take them at all when I do get pregnant, so I’d like to not be relying on them in the meantime. The pills are a major safety net, and just having them close by when I’m doing stressful stuff like traveling helps and sometimes it is enough and I don’t have to actually take one. When we were at the beach last weekend I’d notice my dad and my sister would get antsy about getting out of the condo and doing something, anything. Sometimes I feel like I do a pretty great job of blending in and acting normal and then I realize things like I would do anything to come up with an excuse not to leave wherever I feel safe. My weekend would have been perfect if I had never had to leave the condo.
Our family’s reunion was last Friday night. Since we were a big group going to see an even bigger group we needed to take two cars. T and I ended up riding with my parents. When we were almost there I told them I needed to say something, “Mom and Dad, I am really excited about seeing everyone, but large groups traditionally make me very anxious. I really want to be able to do this, but I need to know if I start freaking out one of you can drive me back to the condo and then return to the party.” That speech never gets less embarrassing, but at least I’m able to verbalize the terror I feel before entering social situations now. Before the fear would build and build until I’d bail in the middle of gatherings. If I’m able to tell people I’m scared there seems to be less of a chance of a full blown panic attack developing.
Currently I’d say I have an enviably excellent relationship with my family, but this doesn’t prevent me from going into anxiety overdrive when I’m around them. My sister is very successful, I’ve mentioned she is Type A, she is also downright skinny, she takes after my slender mother. Dad has been gaining and losing the same 25 lbs for 40 years. I take after him. When I was young I was slender, but as my mental health deteriorated I started packing on the pounds. And Zoloft really turned me into a porker. My family hasn’t been critical of my larger size, but I grew up in a house where there were major issues surrounding food and size and because I am bigger I feel like a bad person. It is just another way my black sheepiness announces itself.
I’d like to reiterate that my family doesn’t do anything to make me feel ashamed of myself, in fact quite the opposite; they are amazingly supportive and kind to me. We took a lot of pictures this weekend and as I looked through them with my dad I asked him when he saw pictures of me if he thought, “There’s an overweight person.” He looked at me like I had two heads. I hated myself for asking the question, but I just couldn’t stop myself. Because when I see a picture of myself I see an obese person. And after a few days around family I catch myself thinking I’m physically repulsive, I’m disgusting, I’m an embarrassment. And it scares me. If I try and separate myself from my crazy I can do a decent job of evaluating myself physically. I’m an extremely average looking gal with a below average body. But when I start feeling anxious I can’t remember that. I feel like everyone who looks at me feels repulsion and pity. It starts, or it is part of (I’m not sure which) a spiral wherein I have trouble leaving the house I’m staying at, I wake with the nausea and lightheadedness, there is often a pain in my left arm which makes me sure I’m on the verge of having a heart attack, I am fatigued, I constantly apologize for the stupidest things because I am sure people around me can’t stand to be in my presence.
And all this stuff has been going on since I left my parent’s home when I was 18. As I’ve been in therapy I’ve become more aware of it, but now that I have T I really feel like I need to examine it and figure out where it is coming from so I can try and get over it. I don’t want the person I am now, with massive self esteem issues, to raise him. I hate how it affects every part of me. I hate that friends and family down here are waiting to hear from me with solid plans about when I’m going to see them (Hi Tracy, Sara, Cynthia, Monty, and many others!) and I’m not making the phone calls or sending the emails because I am paralyzed with anxiety. I hate that I live in constant fear that people I love will not understand the paralysis and think I am lazy or that I don’t care about them. Most of all I hate me. And I know that won’t do. It’s how I almost lost my marriage; I believed I was so unlovable that I became unlovable. I never want to alienate T like that.
And again I feel like I need to reiterate that I am not fishing for compliments here. When I feel bad about myself the worse thing in the world for me it to receive a compliment because I think the person paying the compliment is flat out lying and thinks I’m stupid enough to buy the lies. I know it isn’t fun to read stuff like this, so why write about my self esteem issues yet again? Maybe it will help people who haven’t suffered from mental illness to get a glimpse of how it can feel, and selfishly it certainly helps me to clarify how I’m feeling. There is also the part of me that wants to shame myself with my honesty. I feel like I should be punished for my obsession with my appearance. It is its own kind of vanity or narcissism.
The video from yesterday didn’t seem to upload properly, so here is a photo from the cuteness I was trying to share.
More Gram and T.