Prisoner of Anxiety
I think I’ll try to walk a few blocks today before going to the market next door. I know the risks. Last time I made it three blocks and turned around feeling like it was a start. Something is better than nothing right? After I returned home a panic attack hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt nauseous, faint, cold chills and feared worse. I tried eating something thinking maybe that would help. It didn’t help much but it didn’t hurt either. After taking a nap the anxiety was waiting for me like a faithful friend, or dedicated enemy.
Panic attacks come and go but to say its just a matter of getting used to it and ignoring them misses the point. I can’t function, can’t work, can’t engage with the world and people. That isolation is suffocating. Next week I go before the judge for the final resolution of my application for disability. My lawyer seems confident but I’m not. I’m ashamed that I don’t work and am essentially a ward of the state. I’m grateful for the help and that I am no longer homeless, but will I be trapped like this for the rest of my life?
I’m sixty now and can only see despair on the horizon. Even writing this is difficult and I used to love walking. The things that defined me, the things I loved are just out of grasp with no hope of recovering the old me. Of course, the old me was complicated. I drank too much, I burned bridges as quickly as I built them. I am left with a barren social media existence. It’s a sad truth that friends and acquaintances there were much more interested in connecting with me when I was posting insane rants and shared my occasional suicidal ideations.
Its natural to wish well for me despite myself but it is unreasonable to expect anyone to pursue a normal relationship with me. I can be an interesting, charming guy but its not worth the risk to assume the best of me while risking attachment to the worse. So, thanks to meds I lazily survive each day. My psychiatrist says meds that would help come with side effects that would put my mind in a fog. So, I turn to therapy to challenge me or at least to have someone to talk to. Side effects scare me. I once responded to the anti-psychotic Rixulti by having constant falls and losing my ability to swallow. So, I understand there is no magic pill to ease my suffering. Its ironic that taking a proactive approach to my physical and mental health has robbed me of my damaged essence. I can regret my past drunken and depressed behavior, but regrets are cold comfort as the damage socially is permanent. Even my own brother wants nothing to do with me.
So, I’ll continue my typical day watching Morning Joe (I usually wake up at 2 a.m.) followed by reruns of ER and Mom while thanks to impulse control inwardly ranting against the comfortable life of those in commercials and the misogyny of the men on ER. At least I no longer share my thoughts openly. By 4 p.m. I’m in bed and sleep well thanks to my bedtime meds. This is my life. I have earned this despair, but I don’t deserve to be punished for the rest of my life. Yet the prison of anxiety is my permanent home. What else can I do?