How do you recover from a relapse into deep anxiety? Or depression for that matter? How do you get on with life and move forward?
I hope I’m starting to get better after the last week of anxious torment. I think I’m hopefully at least going in the right direction.
But still I don’t trust myself.
I remember years ago when I would fall into anxious states. That would happen quite frequently back then. I remember almost waking up from them into a world I no longer recognized. It wouldn’t matter if the anxiety attack would last a day or a week or a month. I would come back from it utterly lost to myself.
I would look around my life, and somehow I wouldn’t fit into it anymore. I wouldn’t remember what I wanted. I wouldn’t remember how I perceived myself. I wouldn’t remember any of the really important parts about what makes me who I am.
It wasn’t quite the same this time. I’m more sure of myself than I was back then thanks to years of writing and venting and analyzing and learning. I’d like to say that tonight I still pretty much remember who I am and what I value.
But what I don’t know is how to step back into that. How to step back into my world.
After days of take out, I made dinner tonight. I picked up my crochet hook, and I began to make a hat tonight. I have some errands to run tomorrow.
All the trappings of my normal life are all around me just waiting for me to jump back in. But still I hesitate. My steps are tentative.
But anxiety attacks — the big ones that take every ounce of your being, the ones that try to hijack your soul, the ones that leave you bloody and bruised from the battle to get free — those aren’t easy to bounce back from. It’s not as simple as waking up one morning anew.
And I guess maybe it isn’t supposed to be that easy.
Maybe each of those intense attacks take us so deeply into a battle that our scars need time to heal. Maybe anxiety can feel as much like a place as a state. And maybe we have to be gentle with ourselves as we step back into our lives, just as we would if our adversaries were tangible.
I’m still scared. I still keep the Xanax nearby in case I get in over my head. But I’m ready to try my legs again. I’m ready to start moving. I’m ready to almost maybe possibly kind of start hoping that the worst is behind me for now.
But it won’t be easy. And it will scare me.
But one day I will emerge anew.