memoir

Without getting too much into the details of it, I’ve started to write something like a memoir. It began as a defense against a really bad day last week, where my anxiety spiked for reasons I still don’t comprehend. I have no idea what triggered it. I just know it was bad.

Writing helped, and it’s been interesting to me to start to put everything down on paper, to try to pin things down and dissect them and to look back to see how and when and where things went so wrong and then so right.

Because that’s been taking what little writing time I have, I thought I would start to share it here. I think all three of my readers have an idea of the journey I’ve been on, but I am still curious. For those willing to give feedback, do you find this compelling in the slightest or is it narcissistic in the extreme?

Be honest!

xoxo

-Alas


As I begin this draft, I’m not certain it’s a good idea. I think I’ve been building for some time towards writing about the past 19 months and what little I’ve learned along the way. I suppose I do so partly out of a need to make more sense of it all myself, but also with some thought towards the possibility that somehow, someday, my own journey might be of some use to some other benighted soul who is engaged in the same struggle that I have been: anxiety.

I suppose I’ve always had the tendency to worry about things that have been wholly out of my control. I’ve always had a touch of the hypochondriac about me. In retrospect, it seems obvious that some thirty odd years of cultivating those seeds was destined to lead to a bumper crop of issues. I only ever needed the exact wrong conditions to push it from the manageable but annoying tendency to forecast worst case scenarios at the slightest provocation – forecast, but not truly believe – to have it become something that is not only out of my control but which also tends to control me. Now do I not only absolutely believe that the worst case scenario is going to happen, I believe it against all logic, reason and previous experience.

It’s exhausting.

So I’m tired and angry as I write this. Tired because I feel defeated after more than a year and a half of anxiety defining my days as either good, bad or Really Bad. Angry because I’ve always tried to let logic rule over my thought processes and how I view the world, but all the logical thinking in the world does piss all when I’m in the grip of irrational fear. I know that it’s right there in the adjective I’ve chosen that this fear is not rational, but I still feel I should be able to talk sanely to myself and just stop freaking out that I’ve suddenly developed an allergy to eggs where none has ever existed before and so the breakfast my husband lovingly made me isn’t going to actually be the thing that kills me.

Things that also probably won’t be the thing to kill me but which I totally lose my shit over anyway include going to the airport, sitting in a crowded theater, yogurt and that one time a red ant bit my foot. Which was nine months ago, but I remain vigilant! Against my will and against all reason, I remain vigilant.

The day on which I decided to start writing all of this down was a Really Bad Day. One of the (thankfully) increasingly rare ones, where I’m not even sure what triggered the massive amounts of panic and so I have even fewer ways to try to deal with it. At least when I know what the underlying issue is, I can talk to my husband and together we can talk about how unlikely it really is that I have throat cancer. When I just feel panic and my body goes in flight mode but I have nothing to flee from exactly, it gets a bit more tricky. Generally speaking, on days like today, I flee in various ways until I’m too exhausted physically, mentally or emotionally to do anything other than shut down in some gruesome sort of surrender, where it becomes all about endurance.

If I can get through this minute, and then the next, and maybe through the day and then the night…. I just might make it.

Anxiety is the thunderstorm that rolls suddenly and violently over the landscape of my days. Those torrential downpours and even weeks of persistent drizzle have changed the contours of my life, to the point where I don’t recognize any of my personal landmarks most days. I have been flooded and battered by these waters, unfamiliar, cold and dark.

I am not an optimist. Anyone who knows me would attest to it. Probably loudly and at length.

But here’s the secret about my anxiety: It has had one profoundly positive impact on my life, even among all the destruction and devastation that it has wrought. It has been, to paraphrase Charles Spurgeon, “the wave that has dashed me against the Rock of Ages.” I have learned to kiss it, after my own fashion, even as I yearn for a life free from that pounding surf.

Having rediscovered the safety of that Rock, unyielding to the fury of the ocean storm, and steady under my feet as the firmest of foundations, I keep asking that this trial might reach its end. I have learned my lesson, God. I am lost without You. If I promise to follow You faithfully for all my days, will You make me sane again?

God doesn’t bargain like that.

But He leads me on, and I follow.

busy

Oh jeeze. I did not mean to let that long lapse between posts happen.

I blame real life in general and my new job in particular. Well, I suppose I’ve been making choices in my personal life that have also contributed to the not writing, but it’s mostly work y’all. For real.

It started out like all new jobs do: Information Overload. And the more complex a job, I’ve noticed, the more overload there is. So in a way, I am very grateful indeed that I’m a week and a half in and still come home feeling like my head is about to burst. I should be challenged for some time to come, especially since so far I’ve only been taught a very tiny portion of what there is to learn.

I’m working in the Records Department for a university, and it’s not your run of the mill university. They’re all online, all at your own pace and accredited to the hilt. Also, they don’t run on artificial schedules, so when a student comes on for a term, it’s for 6 months and it starts whenever the first of the next month is. Also, there are somewhere between 60,000-70,000 students. I mean damn.

This makes life interesting in Records, to put it mildly!

So far, they have me posting grades for students in the Business and IT Colleges, which are two of the four colleges there are (nursing and teaching are the other two), and the ones with the easiest to comprehend rules for posting scores. The way it works is that the student will email the department email with their official score report and that will open a “ticket” basically, which will be dumped into a queue, where someone on the team will grab it, check to make sure everything is good from the quality of the document(s) submitted to there not being extra tickets floating around for the same thing (these students get antsy, yo) to making sure the  course the assessment is for is actually showing up in that student’s courses for the terms. If everything is a go, we post the score, pass or fail. So, you know, kind of deeply important work to all these people working on their education.

Eventually, I’ll move beyond posting grades and into other things that have to do with Records, like name/gender changes, getting transcripts out to other entities and I have no idea what else, but probably a little bit of everything from initial enrollment to graduation.

Anyhow, that’s the essence of it. I’m on a team of introverts, so haven’t gotten to really know anyone yet, but I have a feeling if we find common ground outside of work tasks, we’ll click along nicely.

All in all I’m optimistic. And tired. And my brain is super tired. Here’s hoping I’ll have the hang of my job in 6 months when I’ll qualify for a discount on tuition!