It’s been quite some time. Things haven’t been bad, exactly, and they haven’t been supremely awesome. Things are okay. Well, mostly okay. Work continues on, the house still needs a good going through to get rid of clutter, and I continue to put one foot in front of the other.
Some things have changed though and these things /events are my reason to return. A couple of months after my last post here (WAY back in May 2016), I had my first panic attack. I thought it was a heart attack. I went to the ER and got tested. I thought I was going to die. Turns out, my body had sending me signal after signal to slow down and take some time. I didn’t listen. I thought I was doing better, but when I went back to work in September, I felt off balanced, dizzy, like the world was travelling at a different speed than I was. I went and got tests done, but there was nothing wrong with me. Then I broke down crying at my massage therapists office. I cried on the shoulder of my ELL teacher. I cried to my friends. I finally realized that things I had tucked away to avoid dealing with, were slowly coming out and turning me into a puddle of worry.
My worry though, isn’t just everyday worry. It is anxiety; Medical anxiety, apparently. I’ve had 35, almost 36, years of doctors telling me that if I eat wrong, drink wrong, dose insulin wrong, don’t exercise, don’t take care of myself, I WILL DIE. Now many of these things are probably true when done to excess, but I don’t do them to excess. And when one has heard this since they were 7 years old, it takes a toll on an already worried mind. See, if I go out for dinner tonight and have a glass of red wine, I starting thinking, “OMG, I shouldn’t have had that. It’ll kill me. Oh god. My left shoulder hurts, Am I having a heart attack? Was that wine the straw that kills me?” I know. It’s a bit extreme, but I have heard this MY WHOLE LIFE. I have developed a fear of death so big, that I think I am worrying myself to death. Add to that, well meaning friends and family who make innocent (and not so innocent) comments. “How can you eat sushi?” or “Won’t having that drink kill you?” or “If you don’t take better care of yourself, you will die young”or “My aunt had diabetes and she died after she lost her feet and her eyesight” and my favourite one “You are such a bad diabetic!”. I want to say that I was strong and sassy in my head and yelled “SHUT UP” to that last one, but I didn’t. I internalized each and every statement and allowed it to eat away at me. Seriously, I have had doctors give me advice and then realize that I am a TYPE 1, not Type 2, and that their advice would kill me.
So after crying and crying and realizing I was actually killing myself with worry, I took a deep breath and asked for help. I’m seeing a counsellor or therapist or someone who is trying to give me ideas on dealing with my anxiety. The first visit was “meh” and I was not impressed. But I went back. I realized I had to really give this a chance. So I went back. It was better. I’m still an anxious mess when it comes to my health, but I’m taking steps. I’ve created a “Wellness” group on FB to help support me as I search for emotional, mental and physical health. I’m making a sticker chart to help me realize all the stuff I do actually do to keep my diabetes at a 7.5 A1C with no kidney disease (although I do have proliferative retinopathy now). I’m looking for some books she suggested I read about facing death, and considering some of her other suggestions to face the fear I have of dying. I’m reorganizing the kitchen and trying to cook more (once the reorganization is done) and to eliminate the foods that I know bother me (bye bye gluten and dairy). I even purchased a new Fitbit, planning calendar, and Jamie Oliver cookbook. And, I am going to make an effort to write daily. Maybe not always here, maybe it’ll be in my journal, maybe it’ll be on my school site. But I need to write it out. I need to vomit my feelings and worries somewhere so that they are out of my head.
There you go. Done for today.