There comes a point when you are having a mental health crisis where you reach the bottom of the ride. I tend to describe my anxiety like a fairground ride.
You have your uphill climb, which is hard work, but you have no choice. Then you have the slow but gentle ride along a flat surface, which is calm, and feels nice and easy. Then you have the headlong descent into the ride where you are hurtling fast downwards and you cannot stop it. Then you hit the part where you aren’t going anywhere, and you have almost come to a stop, a rest, where you sort of lurk, then you either get off the ride for a while, or you start the climb again. I can’t get off my ride. Anxiety is my journey, and it’s a fairground ride that has chosen me, for better or worse as it’s long term occupant.
It’s almost like a crash you know is coming. You pay to get on the ride, you strap yourself in, and you wait for it to happen. You don’t want to, but you have to. There is no other option.
There is always a headlong descent. It can be a short one or a long one. There is always a period where you have come to a halt, you can’t go on. You are in stasis so to speak.
Anxiety is my ride. Anxiety makes me tired.
After a long bout of normal, slow, gentle moving along, feeling ALMOST in control on my ride, the drop happened and the hurtling ride into a crash has to happen.
For me, the peak of a bad anxiety breakdown is tiredness. Anxiety makes me tired, because I have to battle my mind almost all the time to be able to function but when it reaches the peak the tiredness overwhelms me.
For me, the lowest point is feeling so tired I cannot think clearly. Feeling so tired that everything around me irritates me, even those I hold nearest and dearest.
For me, it’s feeling like no matter what I do, that feeling of tiredness clouds everything and I can’t focus.
I want to sleep. I want to be left alone. I can’t bear the thought of talking to people, or interacting with people, or having to participate in normal life, and pretend it’s all ok.
Anxiety makes me tired because I don’t look like I am struggling and because somehow, I can pull off an act of being ok. I will go out to lunch at someone’s home and put on a show of being there. I will join in a carol concert and sing along, when inside the last thing I want to do is be there. I will serve the public with a smile on my face, because if I don’t no one else will. But it makes me tired, so tired, this show must go on act that I carry out, whilst I try to get the tornado in my head to cease it’s roar and whilst I ride out the downward spiral into the limbo for a pause. It’s bone crushingly, mind numbingly tiring, this ride of mine.
With me, and for me, there are distinct phases.
Climb, calm ride, descent, limbo. The limbo is the worst.
I am spent. I have used all my resources and my energy. I want to stop for a bit, but the world won’t let me.
I am in limbo now. Exhausted. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to explain. I don’t want to justify why I am cancelling plans or saying no to things. I have known it was coming. My therapist said it would and she was right.
It’s funny, because limbo isn’t a bad place. It’s just a place where you wait to see what will happen, but I hate it. It exhausts me more than all the other parts of my anxiety ride.
So, for now, I sit and wait. The ride will start again, I will start the uphill climb. I don’t want to, right now, but I know in a while, I will feel like I want to and I will get back on the ride and strap myself back in. Maybe this time, the ride won’t be as bumpy. Maybe this time I will manage it better. I can’t say for sure.
Back I go, the ride starts again…