Monday, June 19, 2017

Emotional Hypothermia

When I started this blog, my plan was to talk about books, writing, and popular culture. Believe me: I still intend to focus on those things. I've found, though, that it's important for me to share experiences in other areas of my life, as well, because it can be difficult to find people who are open about their mental health (or someone whose words make sense to you and affect you and validate you), and I'd like to help where I can. Being an introvert and a person who sometimes attempts to write, this is the way that makes the most sense to me. This is the first part in a two-part series. Part two will be published on Friday.


I have that cold feeling again.

For me, this is one way in which my anxiety disorder physically manifests itself. When I feel I've done something wrong--regardless of whether a transgression occurred or not--I start to feel icy. But this chill isn't superficial, like when an unexpected breeze catches you. No. This originates within and spreads under my skin.

It started during my childhood, but of course I didn't recognize it as anxiety back then. If I had a word for it at all, it was likely fear--the fear of being in trouble, usually with my mom. Back then, this was accompanied by a recurring need to pee, as if my body was trying to dehydrate itself and shrivel up into nothing to escape the situation at hand.

Right now, I'm lucky--if that's what we're calling it--because I know what's at the root of today's anxiety attack. But I'm also unlucky, because all I want to do is keep picking at the situation until I've resolved it. Think of it as a scab: I feel successful once it finally peels away, but the sting quickly sets in and the process starts anew, because I haven't fixed anything.

The drugs help. A little. But I've never been able to make the cold feeling disappear. I try to leave other people out of it; I've caused some damage this time, though, and of course that contributes to the problem on my end. I wish I had a mental straightjacket to keep my flailing from injuring myself and others, because no apology sufficiently undoes the past. And so I continue to live with the turmoil, like I'm on a roller coaster running an endless loop on a windy night.


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