State of the Giraffe; March 2016 Edition

I posted this on my personal Facebook page, a few minutes ago. I figured I would share here, to give y’all some insight into where I am and that things aren’t always peaches & cream…

It’s no secret my anxiety levels have been higher than usual lately… and that’s saying something, since my anxiety levels have been increasing since July 2014, but especially since Septemberish of last year. The last few weeks have been pretty bad and I’m at the point where my agoraphobia is kicking in hard. It’s been a few years since that was a regular (almost daily) problem.

 

I’m trying really hard to regulate it, the best I can, but if I seem like I’ve disappeared… please understand it’s likely nothing to do with you directly. Yes, I can leave the house sometimes… and I usually end up where I’m comfortable, because it’s either quiet or I’m familiar with it or the person/people with me don’t require many of my spoons. Again, nothing personal, but some people do drain me quicker than others – it’s not necessarily a bad thing on your part, it’s just a sensory regulation thing on my part; it may be something as simple and complimentary as you make me think critically too often and I can’t really handle mental gymnastics on that particular day.

 

However, this also means that my paranoia, extreme self doubt, and PTSD are all being triggered almost constantly. And that, in itself, is extremely draining. I’m exhausted halfway through the day, most of the time. And with so much to do lately, I don’t have time for a nap.

 

I seriously attended WonderCon one of three days this past weekend and even then, I got a late start in the day (was awake early, but couldn’t get out of the house ’til later)… and ended up passing out before midnight on Saturday night. That’s not a good sign.

 

There are many days I end up crying myself to sleep, because I’m so mentally exhausted and my brain just keeps going a million miles a minute… and I just want it to stop. This is where I was, mentally, five years ago. And not-great things happened five years ago. I am doing my damnedest not to allow myself back to that point, though. Therapy helped. I don’t know that it would at this point, however, because I’d have to rehash everything and that really fucked me up for the first year or so of therapy… so, I’m trying to utilize what tools I acquired then, now.

 

It’s not easy, but again… I’m trying. I really am.

 

I ask that y’all please be patient with me. I’m not ignoring you… I’m just trying to throw myself a life preserver, because I’m the only one who can right now. I’m involved in what I can be involved with, I’m staying busy on purpose, and I leave the house when I can, for what I can handle. Please be patient. Thanks.

High-functioning my ass. I spent the entirety of Friday on my couch (almost 15 hours straight), barely speaking and in my pajamas. Couldn’t even get in the shower and the idea of leaving the house scared the hell out of me, to the point of almost vomiting at one point. I just couldn’t push myself to get ready and go to the convention.

Several times on Saturday, I had to leave the expo floor… and even the building itself a couple times. There were too many people, too many sounds, too many lights (even though they were dimmed a bit), and just too much going on for me to process. It was harder than I thought it would be. Sunday, I was a mess and stayed home again. I did manage to take a shower, but couldn’t unwrap myself from my towel and get dressed until later in the afternoon.

Does this mean I was entirely unproductive? No, I got a lot done… on my laptop. Projects I needed to work on were picked at and I managed to get myself to a place where I wasn’t at all stressed about those particular projects today, when it became crunch time, but I was still very uneasy today and I’m right back into the paranoia phase of my anxiety (mostly to do with a certain social situation I’m experiencing; dating is hard… we’ll leave it at that). Luckily, it’s been a long day and I’ll probably try to sleep soon, so I won’t have to worry too much about that for long… and hopefully, it’ll be gone once I wake up tomorrow.

Keeping busy again tomorrow, because that’s all I can do right now to mitigate the suicidal ideation constantly creeping into my thought processes. Five years ago, I allowed those thoughts to beat me down for the last time… five years and one week, give or take a couple days, to be exact. I don’t want to get back to that place again. I really don’t want to die, I just want my brain to take a few steps back from the ledge and let me catch my breath. Therapy helped me recognize that it’s not about death, it’s about getting the noise in my head to stop… or at least slow down enough for me to handle it.

This is all very scary and I don’t like writing about it at ALL, but I feel like maybe it might help someone reading it to know they’re not alone. Maybe it will help a parent or partner of an autistic individual, who has anxiety issues and struggles with depression like I do, see how important it is to be supportive and make sure that a solid support network is in place for their loved one.

And Mom, I know you’re going to read this… please don’t worry. I’m okay, relatively speaking. Nothing in particular triggered this… it’s just snowballing and I’m trying really hard not to let it avalanche again. I love you.