What’s been going on lately? Well, a lot. Or at least that’s what it feels like.
Around the beginning of 2017, I decided that it was time I go back to see a therapist. It was far more preventative than when I’d seen therapists before. In the past, I waited until I was in a rough, and at times dangerous, place before I sought help (more on that in a later post). This time was totally different.
I’d noticed my anxiety slowly building to a level that made it difficult to function normally. A good rule of thumb with anxiety is, when you’re altering the way you live your day-to-day life to avoid the feeling of anxiety, it’s a problem. That was basically what was going on with me. The general anxiety I was feeling left me in constant survival mode and I was almost never at ease. I knew I needed to take some action.
I connected with a therapist who specialized in anxiety and the results were fantastic. She put me on a program and I saw her very regularly for several months. She was also a meditation coach which was so perfect for me as a regular meditator already. She became like a friend and things were going super well.
After a while I decided that I was in a healthy enough place to stop seeing her indefinitely. Don’t worry – there’s no plummet to rock bottom or horrific relapse in this update, but there is struggle. I’m in a way better place with my anxiety than I was six months ago, but I definitely still have days when I wish she was there to talk to and meditate with. Sometimes I just feel like I’m working so hard to achieve a level of normalcy that comes naturally to everyone around me. I’m extremely grateful for the experience and happy with my progress, but I would call both the therapy itself and the moving on from it important life events as of late.
In the spring, I booked a vacation to Cuba with Corey and another couple of friends. I was excited to take a break from the stress of work, but was working hard to combat the anxiety I find inherent in disruption of routine. It took me some time, but I achieved a level of manageable anxiety and growing excitement. It was a great feeling overall – until I was blindsided.
My mom suffered what was essentially a mini stroke. I waited hours with her in the hospital, only to eventually find out that it looks like she has Multiple Sclerosis. Suddenly, the future started to look a lot less clear than I was comfortable with.
Pause – with my mom stable and at home, we went ahead on our trip we’d booked. The trip itself was one of the best I’ve ever been on. I kept my anxiety at bay with the help of a lot of reading and a lot of alcohol. Overall it was a fantastic experience and I’m so happy that we went. I struggled to adjust and feel caught up on everything when I returned, but it was completely worth it.
After settling in back home, my mom’s reality started to really affect both of us. We know more than the average person about MS because my grandmother, her mom, also has it. The thought of my mom being as physically disabled one day as my grandma is absolutely heartbreaking, although I’d never share those fears with her. I don’t have to – we’re both thinking it.
For my mom, the fact that she no longer has the coordination to do her job has been the biggest adjustment. She spends her days taking gentle walks to explore her new neighbourhood (she moved right around the time of her diagnosis – a blessing in disguise), hanging out at home alone, and resting. She is scared and lonely a lot of the time, but tries to put a brave face on, I know. There’s a long road ahead of unpleasant medical procedures and rehabilitation, in the hopes of returning to normal. I suspect there is a new normal that we’ll both have to make peace with.
I think that covers the most significant things that have been happening in my life lately. I felt compelled to share this partially to explain why I haven’t been posting at all, but also just for myself to write it all down. Full disclosure – I initially wrote everything that’s been happening lately, knowing that I would take most out when I was finished. What is writing if not cathartic?