It’s 3:55 am, and everything is very still.
My de-stress playlist* is playing gently.
My boyfriend is over, dozing nearby, so kindly, so peacefully, just keeping me company. It’s been a fun day, an unproductive day – you might say. I am behind in school. I am behind on all my courses, with doctor’s notes for the anxiety.
And usually? I feel SUPER MEGA EXTREME GUILT SUPREME about this situation.
But not tonight.
Because tonight? Tonight I got a little thrill from organizing a paragraph in one of my papers that is due. I am a person who loves learning, and lately my anxiety had stripped all of that joy of my school experience, had made of it an impossible test, a loaded die made so that I cannot win. That little thrill means that maybe spending my days purposefully relaxing and trying to reconnect with friends and exercise ARE what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Not a shameless indulgence, a necessary health practice. Maybe I’m getting a little bit of what I lost of myself back.
This morning was rough. I woke up and I didn’t want to get out of bed at all. Through some magic and trickery I did, and – it does work! If you can get out of bed and brush your teeth, the next step – breakfast, work, class, a date with a friend – is never as hard as it seemed before you got out of bed. Another little trick I tried today was dares with myself. “A sad girl doesn’t make smoothies,” I dared, then smugly whipped one up. “A sad girl doesn’t do all the dishes in the sink!”. Then most outrageously, “A sad girl doesn’t wear polka dot pants!!”
I shivered and slid them on, tearing my eyes away from my very cozy sad day sweat pants.
I looked at the clock. It was just before noon. Not bad! I thought. Okay, not sad girl. Time to make that phone call to that course coordinator. It will be okay, I reasoned with myself, a sad girl would have trouble with this – but that’s not who you’re going to be today.
And call I did. But my voice came out small, confused. I was easily torn down, reading so much into the smallest remark, the tiniest hint of negativity was a dagger through me. I got off the phone as quickly as I could, promising to call back.
The anxiety was at full tilt and it was inescapable. I made phone call after phone call. Mom, boyfriend, R., boyfriend, Mom, Mom, MOM. Please call me, please, please, please, I texted my boyfriend as I shifted back into a terrible loop of thoughts, all ending in worthless. I headed to an emergency appointment with a crisis counselor in the community because I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think anything good, anything helpful.
And it helped. She’s calling me in two days to check in.
Then I had lunch with one dear friend, dinner with two others. Had cups of tea and pretended to do homework and giggled at everything.
And just like I’ve been told, feelings and actions go hand in hand. I had fun – and now I can make a step of progress towards this smelly old paper.
Everything will be alright, I remember.
So now I’ll look over this outline. Then I’ll sleep on it, and maybe have ideas for the paragraphs in the morning.
The human mind can do wonderful things, if you are kind to it.
*songza app playlist called Sleepytime Acoustic Guitar, I meditate to it, it’s got such a lovely soft rolling feel to it! Try it out 🙂