Monday, December 20, 2010

the root of the problem.

Note: Starting off the week before Christmas with a post like this is the last thing I want to do, really. But, I wrote it and need to publish it, because if not now, when? I can promise that the rest of the weeks' posts will all be holiday-based because I'm giddy with Christmas spirit.

I’ve spent the majority of my health issues being bombarded by multiple parties on how I should be better already, how easy it should be, and how the longer this goes on, the more it’s my own fault. My parents were sympathetic at first, but have now joked in a sarcastic and somewhat hopeless fashion that I’m going to live at home forever. My ex constantly checked up on me, told me things I should be doing as if he were my parent, and instilled a certain amount of guilt in me because I was usually unable (or unwilling) to go out.

Basically, I’ve come to believe that I am a sub par member of society and that my value is decreased because of my problems. My relationship would’ve been better if I could go out to dinner or the movies more; my parents wouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about me if I was healthy and had a job. The basis of these statements is accurate - my health is adversely affecting my life - but adding guilt to the list of things I struggle with isn't helping.

The other night, as I was having a down moment and contemplating all of the problems in my life, it became painfully obvious that I have major anxiety issues. I don’t even hesitate putting a name to it – my entire life, I’ve worried too much about things. I've woken up with anxious stomachaches on any day that included something out of the ordinary. I have issues with eating in front of people, even in my own home, and feel flustered before going almost anywhere. Being away from home for extended periods of time – unless it’s someplace that feels like home – makes me tired and ill.

If that sounds like a lot to deal with, it is. But, to be honest, until recently I had learned how to cope with it. I took medicine preemptively to calm my stomach. I laughed off my eating habits, getting through barely half of my meal in public places and eating normally once I returned home. I turned down invitations to go on trips or stay over people’s houses because I worried about feeling too sick or becoming an inconvenience.

For most of my life, I have found ways to temporarily solve the problems and live normally. With the onset of my health issues, however, I have lost those skills. What I have feared most – feeling sick, calling attention to myself, needing to find bathrooms quickly – has come true. They’re not irrational fears if they actually happen.

So what happens now? I make my way through Christmas, New Year's, and my birthday, using my well-practiced tactics. And then I look for a therapist. Honestly, I can’t do it anymore. I'm tired. I'm frustrated. I have to admit to myself that I’m not superwoman, no matter how hard I want to be, and I can’t keep using quick fixes and putting a smile on my face. I can't keep popping pills and eating poorly just to go out, only to suffer for days after. It's a disservice to my friends to show up somewhere and be too concerned about how I feel to fully enjoy myself. Some lovely girls have inspired me and made me realize that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. I know I have an extremely supportive group of friends who will see me through this and a family who, at the very least, won't judge me for this.

I just hope I’m brave enough to go through with it when the time comes.