Life has done just that to me these last two years of my life. Things have been hard and wonderful and exciting and just plain stressful. And now I’ve got choices to make, life decisions that never have a “right” answer or a “best” answer. The kind of decisions you don’t really want to make, but you feel you must finally address them because of your health.
As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been off my anti-anxiety meds for 3.5 years, after having been on them for 8. My hope was to never be on them again. But sometimes life gets to be too much. Just like in my novel Angst. Life at that time was too much, too hard, I was spending days on end feeling sick, afraid, tense, nervous and doubting my sanity and even my desire to continue living.
I’m beginning to feel that way again. I have not seriously contemplated suicide but things have built up upon me these last few years, so much so that I feel I am reaching the edge of what I can handle. I’m tired of feeling sick, I’m tired of anxiety, I’m tired of restrictions. I’m just plain tired.
Building a House
As you may also know I spent a year and a half building my own house. This was an extremely stressful experience, but it’s also something to be proud of and I love my house very much and I believe it strengthened relationships between those of us that worked on it, my husband and myself as well as my parents. I hate to go even 2 weeks without seeing them (my parents, I see the hubs every day! Haha), although we’ve always been close, we became even closer from this experience. And to know that they gave up a summer and part of a winter of their lives to help me, is….there are no words. There just aren’t.
During this stressful situation where I acted as general contractor, the billing department, the material ordering department and the day laborer, I also started to notice some strange and upsetting physical symptoms in my body. I had gotten off the pill and suddenly my body wasn’t reacting as it should. I won’t go into extreme detail here and now (maybe someday), but suffice to say, there was pain where pain should not be and strange allergies or sensitivities to chemicals and I was exhausted, although I attributed this to the 7 day a week schedule I was on, although now I think it could have been related to an underlying health issue.
A Scary Health Change
I was scared about my health. I pursued it and thought I probably have Endometriosis. Look it up, if you want to feel creepy. It’s a strange thing. But there was no way to prove I had this without surgery so for the time being I went back on the pill and things seemed to get a bit better. I also at this time got a new full time day job and took on the stress of learning new tasks.
Writing and Publishing to Achieve a Dream: To Tell My Story
Fast forward a few months and I was immersed in graphic design projects and editing my novel on my own time while we were finishing up last minute stuff for the house. And then I went full blast into the book promotion business, starting a blog, polishing said novel, getting it ready to publish online, cover art etc. It was exhausting, but it was what I had always wanted to do, it was a way to finally release creative me into the world. I was happy, excited and nervous.
I also got off the pill again because I wanted to start a family. And as time went on the symptoms came back again and with them, stress started to grow. Ever since I’d been off my anti-anxiety meds I had been having a hard time going places or doing things, but suddenly it was worse because of how horrible I felt off the pill.
The Stress Becomes Too Much…
Now we’re at the present. I’ve done everything I can think of to promote my novel, I’ve faithfully been blogging, doing giveaways, tweeting, spending time on facebook. It’s been like a second job. And now, finally, after deciding enough is enough, I’m going to have surgery to see what’s going on inside me. And as I am an anxious person this has put me on high alert as I’ve never had surgery before.
I’ve also recently felt the sting of negative reviews, I’m struggling here and there with my second book and with wondering if I’m good enough to be an author in the first place. I feel as though the last two years have been fraught with emotion. Highs and lows, stresses and things that make me so happy I could cry. Sharing here with you has been one of the best and most freeing experiences of my life (although at times I do begin to doubt myself, to wonder if I’ve been too bold, too honest, too in your face, almost like a teenager testing the waters, learning who they are and I’m still not sure if this me…the writing me is…dangerous or free).
Fearful of Losing Something I Hold Very Very Dear…
And through all these emotions and stressors, my anxiety has increased as well. I am terrified of meds, I am terrified of losing my creativity beneath them, but sometimes I think it’s important to recognize when you need help, when your daily existence is at risk. And I know that I won’t lose my creativity right away beneath them. After years, yes, but not after months or even a year. So…I have made a decision to take meds again. Ones that are supposedly safe for pregnancy in a low dose because if I find I can have children (Endo sometimes makes it more difficult or impossible to have children naturally), I know I’ll be quite quite anxious about it (which is another stressor I’ve been dealing with, the fear of pregnancy, childbirth and the change in your life as a parent).
I also applied for a new job, although I’ve heard nothing yet and that again is another extreme stressor to add to my pile. So….as much as it kills me, as much as it feels like a betrayal to my creative self, I feel like I have to put my health ahead of that for a time. But I’m not going to let it stop me from being creative like I did last time I got on meds. I’m going to force myself because I’m not sure if creative me was really dead or whether I just refused to look for her underneath the meds.
It’s Okay To Change Your Mind
The message of all this is that sometimes it’s okay to change your mind, to take what life gives you, to flow with it, to cry your eyes out and then take a stand and be strong and take control of your health. And that time is now for me. There’s just too much for me to handle alone and I’m tired. Tired of restrictions, tired of the stress of dealing with my anxiety on a daily basis, of worrying about my health, of stressing over having children, of wanting more in my daily job life and feeling like I can’t handle that “more”because of my anxiety. I don’t want to let my anxiety hold me back from achieving ALL I want out of life. In writing, in parenthood, in relationships, in fun, in job opportunities, in everything that I hold dear.
And I’m thankful too…that I have you and this place. Where I can be me and I know you’ll hear me. And I don’t intend to stop. Thank you.