Friday, May 15, 2015

The "White-Knuckle/Blue" world I live in.

White-Knuckles and a Blue Filter

Try to imagine the feeling you get when you miss a stair.  It's brief but for just a moment  you know you're falling.  Now imagine that feeling but you're carrying your infant child in your arms.  Once again brief but now you've compounded the problem with the fear of not being able to catch yourself because you can't just drop your child and you also fear that you're going to hurt the child when you fall.

Not so hard to imagine right? Well the next part might be more of a stretch. Imagine that feeling all the time, with no warning or reason.  Certain events can make it worse but you live with the fear every waking and often sleeping moment. It can be done but it takes a lot of energy and focus.

Okay, now another exercise.

You lost your job.  You have a family to support.  It's your only source of income.  It was something you could have prevented if you had only done "X and Y" (sorry I'm taking Math and variables had to work their way into the metaphor). 

Okay, you got that in your mind but what if you have a happy secure life.  What if you feel like that and everything is going well?  You have no major problems but you feel constantly that something is wrong and that it's your fault?  When something big comes along you get worse but you always feel wrong.

These two feelings all the time are what it's like to have Anxiety and Depressive disorders.

The problem is worse when you have both.  A person might question how you can function at all.  You just do.  At least most days you can.  You push through when you must and let it out when you can.  You run. You write.  You have artistic endeavors but the normal state can be coped with because you have to.  You also have to be on guard for triggers that push you too far.  

I have a neighbor that means well, he's older,divorced and often lonely.  His lawn and yard are perfect and he can't understand why mine is not.  The problem comes when he wants to help. Not physically. With advice.  I will gather yard tools and head out to finish a project or start one.  I've purchased the supplies I need and I will get down to business.  No sooner does Fred see me working that he is out to the fence-line asking what I'm doing. My personality does not allow me to be rude and ignore him.  So I  try to explain.  Fred, meaning well, thinks I am doing it wrong or that it's not a good idea and should try something else.   I know I've got a limited window of time and a limited supply of resources to finish and each minute he explains why I should do it some other way steals my time.  Each suggestion requires resources that I don't have because I have already planned it out and purchased what I need.

I can't set foot in my backyard anymore. Haven't spent more than an hour there in 2 years.  I can work on the front but when I try to go in the back, I end up on the floor in the fetal position.

My Father in law is a good man.  He wanted to be an architect but after finishing his Bachelor's degree in drafting he was not having success getting into an architectural program.   He did some research and got a graduate degree in recreation. He worked hard and made something of himself.  He's also often tactless when speaking with people.  He loves to give advice.  He doesn't like to listen.  He often is critical even when offering a compliment.  "You did a good job, I never thought you could" type of guy.  

I don't go where I know he's going to be unless I can't avoid it.  Every deep verbal cut from someone that I respect bleeds my self confidence until I no longer have any.  There are family things that I can't  miss.  So I go.  I leave early.  I orchestrate plans to keep away from him because there's little I can handle when everyday life already beats down on someone who lives with depression.

I've made it a long way the past few years but there are still situations I can't  handle.

Last week my son was baptized.   I had to be there.  I needed to be there for JJ. But I had to skip the luncheon afterwards. Couldn't risk losing control.  I'd had nightmares for weeks of the horrible things I might say to someone if I was backed into an emotional corner.

Tomorrow is my nephew's baptism.  I took care of that amazing kid during the day for years and just like my own son's baptism I'm not missing it.  But I will be barely holding it all together.  I've been losing sleep. So if I don't seem sociable please don't hold it against me. I'm white-knuckling it the whole time.

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