It's all right
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown
It started with a pressure behind my eyes a couple of months ago. I should have recognized it for what it was. Maybe part of me did and I just chose to ignore it. Fake it until you make it, I think the saying goes.
It was probably inevitable, really. I am just surprised it didn’t happen sooner.
When I was nine, I was diagnosed with a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When I was eleven, I was diagnosed with a form of Panic Disorder. I am…disordered. Obviously. The meds helped, once we figured out the right dosage and combinations. I was one of the lucky ones, though, in that as I got older, the symptoms got less and less. It also helped that I learned how to breathe, those little techniques that make up the art of breathing. I don’t take pills anymore. I haven’t in years. Every now and then, I could feel the pressure build slightly behind my eyes and my little quirks would come out when particularly stressed (counting syllables in the words I spoke by tapping a finger against my leg and trying to make sure the sentence I said ended on either my pinkie or my thumb—it doesn’t make sense, I know, but then tics like these never do), but I was able to hold it back and breathe and breathe and breathe until it went away.
But sometimes it’s not enough. And sometimes, it can come out of nowhere and it’s like getting hit by a train. That rarely happens.
So, when I was hanging a painting in our new house a few weeks ago, I think I knew the pressure was there, but with everything else that has been going on, I didn’t have time for it. And that was a mistake because I got hit by the train.
One moment I was hanging the painting (thinking about where it’d hung in our previous house), and the next I was on the floor, unable to breathe, the painting broken on the ground. Unless you’ve had a panic attack before, it’s difficult to understand what they’re like. Breathing is an involuntary action. Your body does it for you. But when you’re in the middle of an attack, your body is used against you. Your mind is just as constricted as your lungs and throat, and it’s damn near impossible to get but the smallest amounts of air in. It’s not rational. It’s never rational. But it’s like drowning and until the water recedes, there’s not much that you can do but ride it out and hope for the best.
When the water did recede, I was sweating and crying and my body hurt, but I was finally able to admit something that I should have figure out quite a while ago: I am not okay.
That’s hard to find that out. It’s damning to say out loud. It’s difficult to believe. I am supposed to be the strong one. I am supposed to be in charge. I am supposed to know what to do, to take care of me and mine. I am supposed to be okay. I am not supposed to break. But that’s the problem, now. I am breaking.
I am not okay. I am not okay. I am not okay. I don’t think I have been for a while. I don’t sleep much anymore. I don’t eat. I look like shit. I’ve had purple lines under my eyes since that first night Eric went into the hospital and I didn’t sleep. I don’t have energy for much of anything anymore. I’m listless and apathetic. I snap at people at the drop of a hat. I go to work. I come home from work. I pretend to unpack. I go to bed at eight. I fall asleep around one or two. I get up. I go to work. I come home from work and on and on it goes. That pressure building. The pieces cracking.
I am not okay. And it pisses me off. Everything pisses me off. I had plans. We had plan. We were supposed to live happily ever after. We were supposed to ride off into the sunset and be happy in our little corner of the world and nothing would ever bother us ever again. How fair is it that we only got six weeks in our new house in a new state before Eric was admitted to the hospital for three months? How is it fair that he is now paralyzed from the neck down and most likely will be for the rest of his life? How fair is that we should be planning our wedding right now instead of worrying about what future we could possibly ever hope to have? How is any of this fair?
It’s not, and I am not okay.
I just got back from Indiana yesterday. It was the hardest trip I’ve ever had to make, because of the hardest things I had to say. I had to tell Eric I am not okay. That I am cracking. That we couldn’t get married in November because I’m not in the right place mentally because I am not okay. He understood, of course. He always does. It still crushed us both. I knew it would and I was dreading every moment of it.
Eric needs a positive environment to promote healing and well-being. I cannot be the positivity he needs right now. I’m in a very toxic place. I can’t and won’t allow that to spread to him. Plans have to be on hold because I have to be selfish right now, no matter how much I hate it and no matter how much it kills me. But you can’t ever hope to take care of others if you can’t take of yourself.
And it’s because I grieved for him when all of this occurred. I grieved for him like he had died, and I don’t know that I’ve ever reconciled the fact that he didn’t. I am haunted by it and the pieces that broke off of me that won’t go back to the shape they once were. I can’t get them to stick at all.
I have been faking it, but I haven’t made it. I will, but that won’t be today. Or tomorrow. Or even the next day. I am not okay, and that is the first sign that something needs to change. That I need to do something different before it gets any worse. The panic attacks come quicker now. My quirks and tics are more pronounced. I have to fix this before I can’t anymore and I need to do it now.
So. You won’t be hearing from me for a while. Maybe a long while. I thought about shutting down all my social media pages, but that’s not fair to my fans and readers who interact with each other on my FB or on GR or my blog. You Klunatics can continue on for me while I go off to find what it will take to make me better. I will be back. Of that, I have no doubt. But I have to be selfish right now and make things about me, even though I hate it. I have hundreds of FB messages I haven’t responded to. Hundreds of emails. I’m sorry about that. I hope to read them all someday soon, so I hope you’ll forgive me.
And I’m sorry this is so heavy. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve been with us on this journey for a while now. I wanted to make sure you knew that I appreciate you very much. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be here today. There is hope. I just have to find it again.
I am not okay.
But I will be, because I am greater than the little parts of me that break.
I'll see you on the other side, and remember to love each other no matter what.