It seems that in the past week, the universe has been strongly against me. It has been really hard to seem okay. It has been really hard to wake up, but also to escape to sleep knowing that I will have to face the same thing again the next day.
A few unfortunate things happened.
The first – the precursor to everything else that happened – was that I broke my wrist. One day after discharge from eating disorder treatment. One week before I went to Brisbane for a break. Two weeks before second year of uni starts.
It was panic attack after panic attack in the emergency room. Wave upon wave of breathlessness and heart palpitations, hot flushes and shivering fits, tears and numbness.
I wasn’t anxious about the hospital, or anything to do with getting my arm fixed. In fact, I was mostly just angry that I didn’t even have a cool story to go along with the really heavy cast I now have to lug around for six fucking weeks. (The very boring story of how I broke my arm is that I was skateboarding, on the footpath outside a train station, when somebody who was clearly running very late walked straight into me and I fell onto my wrist. Yay.) No, I was anxious about absolutely everything that I would now need to change, modify, or stop doing. Appointments I had to cancel, work shifts that needed covering, tutoring sessions that needed adjusting. I plan my life around being able to cycle everywhere so now my calendar needs fixing too.
Can I work for the next six weeks? Will I have enough money to last me six weeks if I can’t? What if I go to work and it makes it worse? What if it doesn’t heal properly? Will I have to ask my parents for money? My arm hurts.
Will I need to cancel my shifts or just change them? Do I need to call my boss? Is it rude to text my boss? My boss has seen my message and hasn’t replied. The other staff have seen my message and haven’t replied. Does everyone at work hate me? Everyone at work hates me. It’s because I’m a bitch. I’ve done something wrong and now they won’t help me. Why does everyone hate me?
And the more I waited, and waited, and waited, the more my anxiety escalated. I waited for two days (I went home in between, don’t fret), seventeen hours altogether, before the emergency department was quiet enough that I could have my arm manipulated into a straighter position so that it healed correctly and not at a funky sort of angle. At the end of the second day, when the surgeon apologised that I would have to come back tomorrow, again, I burst into tears from utter emotional exhaustion.
Just go. Just get up and leave. They’re not going to help you. Nobody can help you. This is your fault. You did this. Just get up and walk out and step in front of a car. You deserve it. This is your fault. Get up, shut your eyes, and walk onto the road. Do it. Just do it. Why can’t I move? What’s wrong with me? Get up. Just do it. My arm hurts.
I had to fast for three days in a row, and my eating disorder absolutely loved it. She (yes, my disorder is a she, her name is Ana) convinced me to use this to my advantage and restrict my intake at the end of each of these three days to get the most benefit from the whole situation. Also, I deserved to be punished for wasting people’s time and generally being a massive failure.
How am I going to exercise? I need to exercise. How else can I compensate? What if I binge badly and need to get rid of it? I can’t run.
My chest hurts – I can’t breathe. Am I hyperventilating? Can people see that I’m hyperventilating? I’m clearly not okay so why isn’t anyone asking if I’m okay? They’re probably used to people crying. Of course they are, don’t be stupid it’s a hospital. Why are you always so stupid?
This was the day after being discharged from eating disorder treatment. Things had been on track for me. What a bad time to sustain an injury that means I can do absolutely zero of the things that keep me sane and safe, and not depressed and you know, not wanting to kill myself all of the time. I can’t draw, I can’t run, I can’t practise yoga, I can’t write (I can’t type for too long either because it makes my arm ache), and I can’t even self harm. Which sure, is a blessing, but also just another coping mechanism I cannot use at the moment.
What if they see my scars? What if they send me to the psych ward because they see my scars? Are they even allowed to send me to the psych ward just based on scars? My arm hurts.
Will I be able to cycle in a cast? How will I get to uni? How will I get to work? Will my tutoring clients understand? Will I lose my clients? Maybe I need to be on the psych ward again? My arm hurts.
My anxiety hasn’t been this consistently high for a long time. I am frequently disturbed by “episodes” of severe anxiety, generally due to crowded places or shouting or being touched unexpectedly by strangers or being unable to control a situation where I may be late or otherwise be judged or made a fool of. Thanks high school for the trauma that those triggers originated from.
What if they can’t do it today? Am I going to be sent home, again? What if I need someone to cover my shift tomorrow as well? Surely they have to see me? I’ll be next. I’m going to be next. I’m next. I’ll be next. I can’t breathe. My chest hurts.
The anxiety is escalating, peaking. The worries aren’t subsiding. It’s unrelenting.