Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Panic, Poop, and Promise

I have a friend who posts humorous, wacky, outlandish, and just plain weird stuff on Facebook.  A knitting pattern for dog poop. Links to innumerable toilet related videos. Reading her posts is an exhilarating ride through her amazing mind.

A day or so ago she posted a YouTube video, and though I don't usually watch the videos people post(my YouTube subscription list is so long I don't have time for any more!) one of her friend's replies intrigued me.  "Silly Monkey" was the reply.  Huh?  *click*

I actually enjoyed this man's video a lot.  I, too, have struggled with panic attacks, and the usual angst that is common to humanity.  I loved the way he reduced all human emotion to "silly monkeys", and I believe I'll remember his thoughts about fighting the monkeys, or playing with the monkeys.  I was trying to hang with my monkeys, and one threw poop at me.  Maybe I need to take notes the next time I watch the video.

I'm not sure where this post is going....I'm like a gerbil with ADD that was given access to a computer.  I guess I'm thinking a lot about emotional health and psychological stability.  I've run the gamut in my life....I spent a month on my couch in my early adulthood--I was too scared to sleep in my bedroom.  I needed to be by the front door so I could hear if someone broke in.  I was also terrified that someone had sneaked into my house and was hiding somewhere.  I had a route worked out, where I checked the whole house--going in a very specific pattern so the criminal that was going to kill me wouldn't be able to sneak in without my knowledge while I was in another part of the house.  I didn't sleep....I just laid on the couch watching old TV comedies, eating junk food, crying, and being terrified.

I've struggled with depression.  I've been treated with prescription drugs, some that were very detrimental to me, and some that were almost miraculous, IMO.  Depression is so hard, because it becomes this vicious feel depressed, so you sleep and/or eat, then you get more's vital to break this cycle, but it's like trying to break a concrete wall using only a wet feather.

Let's talk a bit about anxiety.  I grew up in the 60's and 70's and parents just weren't aware that children that appeared fairly normal could have psychological difficulties.  Looking back, I now realize I suffered from extreme anxiety disorder through my entire childhood and youth.  A few examples--I found a little book that I had made in second grade, and it's title was "Poison".  It was about 20 pages of pictures of things that would hurt or kill you if you touched them, or accidentally drank them.  Cleaning products, bug spray, paint, gasoline, normal items.....and perfume, lipstick, and other random things a child shouldn't have been scared of.  And why did I make this little booklet anyway?  In kindergarten, I was terrified someone was going to grab me in their car and take me and kill me.  I only lived 2 blocks from school, but I was absolutely paralyzed with fear.

Then anxiety often eventually leads to panic attacks, which started visiting me in my late teens.  Again, I had no idea what was going on, and as far as I was concerned everyone felt like I did.  Although there was one incident that began my realization that all was not as it should be.  When I was 15 my dad built an addition on to our house, and one of the rooms was my new bedroom.  I could design the whole room--where the windows were, where the closet was (and how big), and then I got to decorate the room any way I wanted.  The main thing I was concerned with was the windows.  I wanted the windows high up on the wall (about 12" below the ceiling).  The windows were rectangular windows that were wide but short.  And why did I choose those windows?  So nobody could shoot me through them.

I've been in places emotionally where I felt fabulous. Meditation, exercise, journaling, really paying attention to what is going on inside me makes such a huge difference.  I love reading self-help books, and I see myself as a fixer-upper.  I'm like the wonderful old Victorian house that is amazing, but the insides are a mess, there's no plumbing, no closets, it needs a new kitchen, and there may or may not be bats in the attic.  I'm my own favorite project, that is until I get to the point where I'm frustrated and want to just sell myself.

But I always come back, hammer, book, and paintbrush (or makeup brushes) in hand, ready to fix up another corner.  I'm sure this is a lifelong project, but I believe the project is worthwhile, and the end result could be breathtaking.

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