Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anxiety Overload

This is another post-dated blog, written March 1, 2012.

I sometimes blog about my anxiety disorder and my SAD.  This one is about my anxiety.

I'm directing the hardest show I've ever attempted, and we open in two weeks.

Most people would be nervous.

There would be some stress.

But my body chemistry functions on overload.  And so here I am.

I am writing about it for two reasons:

1.  Because it will help me to calm down if I can put my thoughts and feelings on paper.

2.  Because I think it's important for people who have never experienced this type of anxiety to know what is happening when someone close to them does.

It has been two days since I've slept well.

There are multiple stressors here.  Not just the show - but the show is pushing my disorder over the top.

I often have anxiety with regard to conflict, and with a cast of eighteen creative people, conflict happens at almost every rehearsal.  Lots of personality issues.  Lots of new actors who aren't sure why we're working so hard.  Lots of questions that indicate a lack of trust in the director (me).  So there's the conflict.

There's also my issue with perfectionism, and I am at the point in the process where I feel like I'm not sure there's much more I can do.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink - even if you shove it's face into the water and shake it hard...

And so, since I don't have control, I sit at home and worry, and think, and worry.

It's not so much a conscious action.

When I worry like a "normal person", I think about things consciously:  What if x happens?  And I make a plan.  Or I feel sad.  Or a bit nervous.

This is different.

This is a constant state of high alert.

My body is tense. My neck hurts so much from holding stiff all day and all night that when I go to bed I toss and turn - there is no comfortable position.  Only pain.

My insides shake.

I drink chamomile tea.

It has no effect.

My stomach is tight.  Tender.  Floating.

My heart beats fast, even though I'm sitting or lying down.

I check my facebook compulsively.  I check my email compulsively.  New news?  Does anyone have questions?  Did anyone respond to my latest email?  Did anyone comment...  And I close it.  And then I check it again.

I am on edge.  I explode at the slightest provocation.

I need to run, but I don't have the time, or the babysitting money.

At night, my brain floods with thoughts.  They pour over me.  They envelop me.  I cry sometimes.  Sometimes I don't.  Sleep doesn't come.  My legs crawl.

There is a sensation of heat from my lower abdomen to my shoulders that never goes away.

I grind my teeth.  I clench my jaw.

I feel exhaustion...but there is no rest.

I have one pill left in the bottle of my anxiety meds.  I don't take it, because as long as it's there I know if it gets too bad there is something to save me...but if I take it, there will be nothing, and I am too agoraphobic at this point to go to the doctor for a re-fill.  I don't want her to ask questions.  I don't want her to ask why I haven't been back in three years.  I don't want her to ask why I kept the pills even though they were expired.  I don't want her to know...

I am needy.

I want someone to hold me all the time.  I want someone to rock me and sing to me and whisper that I am good enough, that I am a good person, that I am loved, that I am fortunate, that I am blessed and healthy and that they will take care of me.

I pray.  I pray for answers.  I pray for hours about giving up control - but I can't do it.

I pray that God will TAKE control from me.

And then I worry that things will get worse before they get better.

I tell myself that whether or not the show is good is not a reflection on me as a person - that directing is not Who I Am...  but I want to please people.  I want to please them.  I want to be perfect - and I can't.

I know this is a lie.

I know this is not What I am Worth...

But I don't know how to fight off the demons.  They are tangible in my kitchen.  They are surrounding my bed.

I go to extreme measures to relax.

I stop eating.

I feel nothing.  No pain.  No hunger.  Just...


And I know it is eating me alive.

And I know it is affecting every aspect of my life...

And I can't give it up.  And I can't let it go.  And I lose weight (I have lost 5 pounds).  And I hold my children.  And I let them go.

And yesterday it rained...

And I felt relief.

But today it is sunny.  People is the first day of spring.  And all that is in me screams for the Fall.
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