My M&M jar is more than half full and I’m not exactly sure how to interpret that. Normally it would be empty after just a few days. Actually, if I was being completely honest, normally I don’t have an M&M jar. Why? Well, because I love M&M’s and it wouldn’t take long for me to become accustomed to having that jar with me at all times. Before you know it I would need to buy bigger purses, install LED lights in the lid for twilight snacking and find a car seat to keep it safe when I was out on the road searching for more M&M’s. Let’s face facts, it’s one thing to enjoy a snack, it’s another thing altogether when it takes over your life and you find yourself coordinating your outfits with your varied M&M selection. The pastels are out for springtime after all and I do look darling in lavender.
You see lately I haven’t felt well. I had a massive panic attack a little over two weeks ago and after spending some time with a number of different doctors, it has been concluded that my thyroid is over medicated. We’re in the process of taking care of that but the adjustment in my body will take approximately four to six weeks. As of today, I have been on the lowered dose of the meds for a week and a half and the road has been a difficult one. So difficult in fact that my deep, passionate love for the M&M has waned and my happy socks sit sadly in a drawer wondering what will become of them.
To date, I have had four more major panic attacks, am so sick to my stomach all day almost every day, suffer from terrible headaches and at times am unsteady on my feet. I have to force myself to get out of bed. I have to force myself to eat. I have to force myself to leave my apartment. There is no other way I can think to explain it other than to say my body feels like it is not my own and that it is angry. Every day is a little different in the how’s and when’s it is going to reach out and remind me that things are not as they should be so it’s like riding a roller coaster that no longer has anyone manning the controls. Some days I hang upside down in one of the loops for hours, and others, I jut back and forth violently as if there is a kink in the track’s mechanics.
I have been prescribed medication for the anxiety and panic and although it has helped immensely, the affects have been a difficult thing for me to get used to. Imagine taking a wet blanket and laying it on a sidewalk full of ants. Initially some of the ants would stop moving but there would be those that would still mill about trying to find their way out from under. That’s how anxiety medication feels to me. It’s like a wet blanket but I can still feel some of the frenzy bouncing around in my body. It’s not as bad, almost as if the sharp edges have been dulled and covered in bubble wrap but I still feel it. Eventually as the medication wears off, all of the ants begin to move around again and as the bubble wrap falls away I struggle with whether or not to calm them back down. Being someone who hesitates to take any kind of medication, not only has the anxiety been a struggle but addressing it a challenge as well.
One of the only ways that I’ve been able to move through this period of my life, besides the medicine, the doctors, my supportive and loving family, fiancée and friends is by finding what clearly seems to be the bright side, at least to me. It has to do with so many of the things I’ve written about here on this blog for the past two years. You see, for a very long time I have had a hard time figuring out who I am and what I want and how I feel about things. I’ve struggled almost constantly with pleasing others before myself and then when finally turning the attention my way, not even knowing what I wanted. Over and over again, when I would meditate I would picture myself unzipping what seemed like a costume and stepping out and away from it. I was refreshed, relaxed, happy and at peace. It was such a lovely image and one that I desperately wanted to connect with in real life but had now idea how. How did the girl in that image figure out how to step away from everything that seemed to be weighing her down and keeping her from herself?
Maybe, just maybe, the panic attacks are the side effects of my body helping me let go of all of the baggage that I’ve been carrying around for years. Old hurts and disappointments that I used to direct my life and influence my decisions have no place in this new life that I’m building. I’m engaged, settling in at my new apartment with my fiancée and getting to know who I am and what I want in a whole new way. I’m beginning a new chapter in my life, one where I have stepped forward for the first time in years to take the wheel and steer and maybe I’m being rewarded for that. After all, my thyroid is being adjusted so it can work with me and support me and help me function in a way that’s best for my body. Coincidence? I think not.
So, I’m going to choose to look at this time in my life as a positive one where I am getting the chance to take off the costume that I no longer need in favor of being exactly who I am, a happy socks wearing, M&M loving bride to be who looks forward not back. Like Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe the ride is about to start again and I need to secure my safety harness and tuck both hands inside the car. I look forward to seeing you soon at the gates of the theme park where we can walk home on solid ground together. Better yet bring your special socks. I think it’s time we went dancing.