I feel like I haven’t chatted with you in forever. And I’m sorry about that. Actually, that’s why I’m here today, sans-recipe, to talk to you about me. And my MIA-ness.
First of all, I feel like I need to preface this post by saying a big, fat, juicy, sugary, genuine THANK YOU to all of you. Yes, you. Thank you for making this blog as fun as it is, as big of a success as it is, as sparkly and crazy and wild as it is. Thank you for supporting me, my weird stories, my nutty recipes, and the overall level of oddities on this blog. I couldn’t do it without you and your loyal support and devoted friendship. Thank you.
Second, let’s address this cumbersome post. I’ve been absent lately because of some personal issues I’ve been dealing with–well, for awhile now.
My entire life I’ve battled with anxiety disorders, specifically Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I’ve known about the GAD my entire life and have been on and off medication throughout the years to simultaneously treat my anxiety and my Irritable Bowel Syndrome through antidepressants that also act as antispasmodic medication to aid my persistent intestinal troubles. However, in recent months, my OCD has come full force, along with some naughty BFFs: panic attacks and depression.
A couple months ago, I was having panic attacks almost every day. I would be shopping in the middle of Target when I was hit with a sudden wave of nausea and panic. My entire body started trembling, like a miniature quake reverberating from my core. And I’d sweat. And fret. And panic. The panic was almost tangible: I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t focus, and it felt as if the walls were closing in around me and I was trapped in a box set on fire with hungry tigers inside without an escape route. Every moment stretched onto infinity; the seconds would feel like hours as I stood there, suspended in time and wrapped in the spindly webs of fear over… nothing.
Though it had to be something right? People don’t normally have panic attacks in the middle of the baking aisle at Target, nor do they have them daily. Of course, I had stresses: maintaining this here blog is work, albeit fun work, plus my regular job, plus my family responsibilities, and girlfriend/dog-mother responsibilities, plus.. life. But otherwise, I didn’t have a definitive stresser: no one had died recently, I hadn’t lost my job, I wasn’t terminally ill.. nothing “major.”
And my OCD was OOC (out of control, dude). I would find myself unable to focus on ANYTHING unless my obsessions were fulfilled. While that sounds really dramatic and interesting, usually that meant I couldn’t cook dinner, write, read, or exist without the floor being vacuumed. Not like the normal “oh, the floor looks so gross, I should vacuum” kinda deal. More like, “I cannot breathe, blink or function unless the floor is vacuumed right this second” and would seriously find myself obsessing over every inch of our house being immaculately vacuumed (or as immaculate as a house with two black dogs can be) or my mind would go into a terrible frenzy and I’d erupt into a panic attack. Things like not shaking out my blankets before bed and making sure things in my house and room were consistently symmetrical also plagued me.
So I went to counseling. And I made the proactive decision to talk to my doctor about antidepressants. Several months ago, I was prescribed medication.
The meds changed me for the better.. for awhile. And then, things started happening. Things in the world. Unimaginable, awful, terrible things, like the Newtown tragedy. I started thinking about how the world is so very cruel and became disgusted that we live in a world like this. A world where children aren’t even safe in their schools, where going to the movies will probably soon be monitored by armed guards, where no matter where you are, you will never, ever be safe. And I started dreading each day, wondering if this would be the day where I would die, or I would see someone die, or someone I love would die, at the cruel hand of the world or by someone evil.
Most people don’t dwell on things like death, but it really bothered me. I became worried about going to the mall, going to my work, going to the bank.. anywhere. And again, much like my other compulsions, I became obsessed with these thoughts, unable to focus because I was so worried about this cataclysmic event that I had absolutely zero control over.
So I doubled my dosage, and things felt okay for a little while longer.. until they got much, much worse.
Then the nightmares began happening. Every night, I’d close my eyes and instantly be transported into the works of a horror movie. Except instead of chainsaw-wielding weirdos and sexy teens having sex at a summer camp before their predictable demise, I was stuck inside my own head which is a terrible thing to be stuck in if you have an overactive imagination and are already jaded and fearful of the world.
Imagine nightmares peppered with panic attacks that spanned the entire night you sleep and you’re unable to wake. Nightmares of falling down steep escalators (one of my fears). Or nightmares I was covered in dead bodies and flies. Vivid, grotesque, graphic nightmares I was sucked into. Nightmares that, when I finally did wake up, I thought were real.
I would wake in a funk, wondering what just happened and feeling it was real. One morning, I came out of my room in a panic and ran toward my sister. “I’m SO sorry,” I said. “I’m sorry I made you cry. I’m sorry about what I said last night.” Chloe looked at me strangely and said “I didn’t cry last night.” I stared at her, clearly confused, and repeated the conversation we’d had the night before in which I accidentally made her cry. She shook her head. “That never happened,” she said.
I feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, except instead of floating chairs and talking rabbits, I see things that never happened as I’m sucked deeper into a dark vortex inside my own brain. I only wish I could see talking rabbits, because that’d be far less disgusting and disturbing than being covered in flies. Plus, I’ve always wondered what my dog would sound like if he could talk, so a talking rabbit would be neat. I’d imagine it’d sound British, but you never know.
So here I am today. I’m on a higher dosage of medication as of yesterday, and I don’t feel any different .. yet. In a really roundabout way, I just kind of explained to you why I’ve been so MIA, but in case you couldn’t read between the lines (or skimmed it all, I don’t blame you), while I love this blog, dealing with it (at the moment) is somewhat difficult. It’s hard to think of fun, frilly things when I don’t feel fun and frilly. And to be frank, I’m at a low where I’m not even feeling fulfilled through baking. Honestly, that makes me even more depressed that my one true passion is slipping right through my fingertips as I’m spiraling downward deeper and deeper. But I know that soon, and hopefully with your continued love and support, I’ll be back on my feet once again.
I’m trying to take one day at a time. Presently, that’s all I can do. After waking from eight hour, anxiety-riddled nightmares, you can probably guess I’m a little exhausted. Most of my mornings aren’t spent blogging and commenting anymore, but rather, trying to gather my marbles and tell myself it was just a dream and get ready for the day ahead. And then I wade through work and family responsibilities, and by the time I have a sliver of time to blog, I’m so drained and my brain feels like sludge that I can’t even muster a decent sentence to write. And then I feel guilty for not having posted anything. And then I go to sleep and the cycle continues.
I have big plans for 2013. I’m hoping this year my blog takes off in really big ways. I’d like the (farfetched) chance to publish a cookbook. I’m attending at least one blog conference in June, and would like to see my way to more in the near future. And personally, I have other goals, too. I’d like to start dancing ballet or jazz again, because I truly love dancing and expressing myself through movement. I’d like to save every $5 bill I get in hopes I’ll have enough money at the end of the year to take myself to Disneyland. And I’d love to try new cuisines, visit new hole-in-the-walls, and explore + travel, even if it is to the next town. And of course, I’d love to get the chance to meet some of you!
And because of those big plans, I’m trying not to let this issue get in the way of my life, my dreams, my relationships, my blog. But currently, my mental state is outweighing my wants to deny everything and pretend it’s okay when it isn’t. I need to take care of myself. And I hope that you all will understand and continue to support me during this rough patch. I want you to all know that I am NOT a harm to society, or to myself–sometimes, people just get into funks and need a little help getting out of the mental quicksand. That’s where I currently reside.
Anyway, sorry for the long boring post. Blah blah blah. I promise I’ll be back soon with some fun, new recipes and posts. And to my bloggy friends, I’m sorry if I’ve been neglectful in visiting your blogs or commenting on your awesome new posts and recipes. I love you all SO much and I promise it’s nothing personal. However, I will be happy to tell you in person how awesome you are and your recipe is if you were to bring me some 🙂
If you guys want to chit-chat, you can always email me at [email protected] And I proooomise I’ll see you all soon.