I woke this morning to the sun shining through the opening in the curtain. Unlike the days before, panic wasn’t the only thing I felt. Unlike the crushing fear of the day before I felt something new — something driving me to get out of my cocoon. I drank a hot cup of courage and relished the need that was driving me.
I needed to write.
As much as I wanted to create, my mind was still fighting me at every step. As I drank my coffee, the voices bombarded me with all the fears I have about my writing. The voices want me to quit because I never was a very good writer anyway. Besides, they say, you’ve lost your momentum. You have to start from the beginning. All the hard work of the last months is gone because you gave in and allowed yourself to be weak.
I don’t have the luxury of taking care of myself.
My coffee was chilled but I forced myself to swallow the last dregs. I needed to open my laptop and start writing. I needed to write even if I created pure garbage.
And here I am.
Into the depths
I’ve pushed myself very hard in the last few months. I did it because I didn’t know how long my remission would last and I was going to do as much as I could do. I published two and three stories a day. I wrote blog posts. I researched. I read.
I posted pictures and quotes on social media talking about how much I was enjoying the hustle. I was relishing the pressure I put on myself. I was thriving and getting more done than I had in years.
I was giddy and failed to see the signs that I was pushing too hard.
It happened suddenly. After a night of terrors and bad dreams, I woke frightened and couldn’t move. I couldn’t convince my body to do the things it takes to remove the blanket and roll out of bed.
The bed was safe. It was quiet.
I didn’t move for a long time, and only then because there was a life that needed attending. My wife needed me, and that was enough to push me to my feet.
I existed for the next few days. Anxiety kept me withdrawn and irritable. Drawn to the dark and quiet, I often found myself in bed without knowing how I got there.
Just like I knew they would, the voices returned. They are always there in my mind, but I’ve learned to ignore them when they are harmless. Most of the time, they exist like the little voices in everyone’s head. But when they turn hateful and spiteful, I can see them for what they are.
They aren’t little voices in my head narrating my day — they are alien, and they are harmful. They don’t belong inside me, yet they are there, and I can’t get rid of them. They’ve been my companions for most of my life. Most of the time they leave me alone.
Now they are eating my mind from the inside.
Panic. Anxiety. Depression. Fear. Anger. Irritation. Self-loathing. Hate. It is all there beneath the surface, poking me. Prodding me. Sickening me.
Then, I couldn’t even get out of bed. I stayed wrapped in the covers until my bladder was about to burst. After a mad dash to the bathroom, I was back in safety. Unless someone told me to drink something, I was thirsty. If someone didn’t force me to eat, I was hungry.
Even through the fog, I can see how blessed I am. I’m not blessed by a god but by the people who love me and take care of me. If there ever was a god, she has forgotten me long ago. I receive love from my wife — who for the past week has not only worked but kept me alive. She doesn’t hover over me like a protective mother. She knows I need quiet, and peace.
She knows I need to get through this on my own.
She gives me nudges here and there — some gentle, some not. She guilts me into doing things I need to do because she knows I respond when my responsible nature is challenged. I took a shower yesterday, not by choice, but because she saw it was what I needed to do.
Zoey was at her grandparents for a few days, but became concerned about me and came home with comfort. Kisses and hugs brought me out of my funk. She got me to play games with her and laugh more than I had in a long time.
It didn’t heal me, but it helped.
I was able to get out of bed today and write this. It’s been hell trying to keep the chaos in my mind focused, but I did it long enough to get my thoughts down.
I don’t know what the rest of the day will bring. I may work. I may rest. I may watch a movie. I may catch up on my social media.
I don’t know what I’ll do.
All I know is today will be better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today.