Still human, damn.

A few weeks ago I began a post with this wining prose:

“I think it has finally happened. I have become either John or Max from Grumpy Old Men. It’s a tossup which one, at this point. I am crotchety. The internet irritates me. The media grinds my gears even more. And mostly what I see in the general population these days is selfishness and an inability to see anything that doesn’t support what they are looking for. I have cynicism far beyond my 35 years.

I’m not entirely sure what to do with it. If there is any merit to even finish this post. My first three attempts were just a laundry list of the shit I am tired of. It is probably the same list you can compile in your head, too. Between politics and the pandemic, I believe that the worst parts of our psyches have been brought to the surface. A screenshot of any social media feed is my evidence.

I’m not much better. I try to abstain from posting my political bent, however my principles get tickled now and again and I cannot seem to keep myself from commenting. I have possessed righteous indignation in my head from time to time. I have been slow to see someone else’s perspective due to cognitive dissonance. As much as I pretend to be a super hero, turns out I am merely mortal. Poop. “

The next time I feel that I have enough pent up ire to carry me through an entire blog post, I should heed the warning. You see, we must go back a bit in time to bring the story full circle. Cue wavy 80’s screen.

Just shy of two years ago, I realized I struggled with anxiety. Eh, that’s not a statement dripping in truth. I knew I experienced a sometimes debilitating level of anxiety. I justified it in weird ways throughout the years. First, I identified as a control freak. It wasn’t anxiety, it was a character flaw. This dovetailed into an admission of a bit of social anxiety. I was just weird meeting new people. I wasn’t a good fit for social interactions. Square peg round hole sort of thing. After Moose turned two, I allowed myself to call it post partum anxiety. It wasn’t a part of me, it was a lingering side effect of pregnancy and a stressful birth situation. Do you see the common thread here? I didn’t have anxiety. I had situations. For some reason, admitting I had anxiety meant admitting something was gravely wrong with me. That I had failed in some way. I was unacceptable.

It got to the point that the anxiety was running me. Quite literally. I had so much kinetic energy coursing through me that I physically needed to run. I was merely surviving my mind on a daily basis. The action of admitting my catastrophic failure of possessing anxiety paled in comparison to shuffling through life towing the burden. I may have sobbed my way through asking for medication, but I got through it. The sobbing probably helped my case.

Anxiety medication cleared the miasma of distorted thoughts, assisting me in seeing things clearly. I got out of an unhealthy situation. I faced some hard truths about myself and began the work to repair them. I experienced life without suffocating on a daily basis. It was magical.

Fast forward to January of 2020. Nope, not the pandemic- my loss of health insurance. Through a combination of a personal oversight and COBRA being a fucked up system, I lost said health insurance. There was no course correction. No amendment of errors. Just the gauntlet being dropped. Turns out, insurance companies find someone with an autoimmune disorder seeking temporary insurance a loss. Surprise. I was denied said gap coverage. But I squared my shoulders and found workarounds. I used vouchers through GoodRX for my prescriptions. Online services that filled and mailed prescriptions for less than a brick and mortar pharmacy. My insurance guru (aka my bonus mom) helped me increase my car insurance coverage to protect me against severe injury incurred in an accident. I was going to manage. It wasn’t a huge deal, I told myself. Only ten months to open enrollment. Ten months isn’t forever.

Cue global pandemic.

Fun times. Not stressful in the least.

I digress… Two months ago I filed for a refill of my magical anxiety medication. My sanity ballast. It was denied. My GP wanted me to see him before he would cut a new prescription. Oh joy.

As this quick visit to my doctor wasn’t an affordable option sans health insurance, I decided to check out my world void of medication. To my enjoyment, I did fine! The anxiety jitters didn’t return. The little asshole that told me how terrible I was at life- it stayed silent. Man, I was good to go! Weeks went by and my pride became nearly palpable. I no longer had anxiety. I was cured!

Thanksgiving began looming over me. The coordination with my ex. The additional time away from the monster. My typical distraction methods not accessible due to the circulating plague. The melancholy threatened. I wrote it off. Work began overwhelming me. Simple conversations creating a burning desire to punch people. Irritation sidled up next to me, a creeping shadow. I chalked it up to too much multitasking. A response to a lingering sickness situation. Discomfort making me snippy- as it does.

Fun fact: there is a portion of the population whose anxiety manifests as anger. If it hasn’t been made clear, I am part of that demographic. Yippie!

I did what any rational adult does: I continued to explain it away. Mostly, because I didn’t want it. If I just ignored the truth as I knew it, it would slink off into the wilderness. Spoiler alert: this is not an effective coping mechanism.

The irritability didn’t go away. Great.

The self doubt settled in; making it’s home in my brain matter. The tears waiting in the wings, eagerly anticipating any occasion to expel themselves into the stage lights.

Recognizing that ignoring the monster in the room wasn’t practical, I began the process of seeing if my online doctor app could assist me. Ironically, the process to utilize their help irritated me. A lot. It is almost amusing how discussing my irritability with the mental health portion of the enterprise became a complicated transaction of exasperation. Almost amusing.

I now have medication in route to me via postal service. Relief is in sight. In the meantime, I’m ashamed at needing it. Annoyed my 8 week detox was a bust. Resentful of a brain that did not seem to pay attention during the serotonin lessons. But here’s the deal- somebody may be past me. Needing a lifeline and unable to recognize that it’s allowed. It is acceptable to be human. What’s not? White knuckling through bullshit you don’t have to. Sacrificing sanity for some self conceived notion of how things “should be”. If that’s you? Put that shit down. The world is a much more enjoyable place without it.

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