Here’s what happens when my anxiety takes over and I don’t get a hold of it in time; let’s call it a few weeks of ‘irresponsibility’… drinking too much, ‘enjoying’ (term used liberally in this context) single life a bit too much, giving in to youthful temptations rather than adult responsibilities, forgetting daily requirements in lieu of reckless behaviours… and then what happens at the end of it? The dreadful aftermath of “what was I thinking?” sunk in yesterday, only for me to realise that a few weeks of acting recklessly has cost me invaluably and will now take me a lot of time and self-loathing to get over. In the last three weeks, I’ve singlehandedly destroyed all my previous goals and any potential development oppotunities:
Health-wise, I’ve been blind drunk on five occassions during this time, drinking (even if in moderation) every day except for one in three weeks), and I haven’t eaten a single home-cooked meal in three weeks. I’ve been snacking relentlessly at work or at home in the evenings, and I’ve only made it to the gym about once a week. I have plenty of excuses for this – I’m stressed, I’m busy, I’m injured, whatever… but the ultimate result is the same: I feel physically ill and have gained 2.5kgs back of the 4.4kgs I’d worked so hard to lose – which, of course, will take three times that time to lose again. I’m not sleeping well, I’m exhausted and I have a lot of muscle aches from the singular workouts I have been doing because I seem to be ‘making up for lost time’ and pushing myself way too hard to try to rid myself of the guilt. I’m dehydrated, bloated, depressed and unable to keep up with my usual activities without difficulty – which further enhances the depression. I’ve stopped seeing a counsellor as she said she thinks ‘I’m armed with the tools to manage my stress’ – great, but I need to actually apply them – no?
Work-wise, I didn’t show up to work one day and then two days after that I went out at lunchtime and just didn’t return. I’ve been looking on job sites, dreaming of holidays or a new job, and have been lying to myself when I say I’m trying to focus but can’t because of *insert excuse here*. The only thing that gets me excited is payday, and I’ve lost a will to actually do the job that I love because I’m being jerked around with my contract at the moment. I usually have a very strong work ethic and this is very difficult for me to reconcile, but I’m currently so far behind my schedule that it’s terrifying to even look at my to-do list. So again, such a short time to let it all fall, and I have such a long battle to get back on top of it all.
Financially, I don’t even want to admit how much food, booze and frivolity have been charged to my credit card right now. What I will say is that I’m hanging out for payday and I will be needing a fairly stringent budget to recover in the next few months.
Relationship-wise, here’s where my mental health has been affected the most. I’ve gone on four dates and think I might be leading on a friend by accident. Stepping back to the first week of this three week disaster, the first date I reference here resulted in getting blind drunk and taking this man home because we were getting along so well and he was saying all the right things… needless to say, I never heard from him again and I felt pretty foolish. Then half a week later, I got blind drunk with a mate and ended up hooking up with him again (yes, it’s happened before) – again, not my finest moment. I’ve been told by onlookers that this friend has a thing for me, so, while in that state I don’t have all my faculties about me and I did not instigate anything at all, I still feel bad for his feelings.
I then decide to avoid men for a while because this behaviour is uncharacteristic for me, but this resolve wanes about a week later in another fit of alcoholism. I go back online, start talking to someone, Steve, that sparks a really great connection and then go on two dates with him. Turns out I actually really like Steve and would like to keep dating him, but I let my anxiety get in the way when I didn’t hear from him in a day (yes, a WHOLE day… I know it was an overreaction), and so, in the second to most recent blind-drunk state, I convince myself that nothing will happen with Steve and instead, made out with a random person in a parking lot – who turned out to be married (again, I was NOT the instigator but yes, I feel awful). Steve then messages me again later that night and every day since but since I’m still convinced that he’s not interested, I start talking to a previous fling, who asks to set up a friends with benefits situation. I’m considering this when he tells me that he’s now seeing someone and hopes that won’t be a problem. I was first floored by this and then so thankful that I dodged that bullet previously! What is it about me that attracts unavailable men? I know I’m doing the repelling all on my own in relation to the good ones, but how do people think it’s ok to cheat on someone? And why with me?!?! I have digressed a bit here…
Back to the story, Steve, who is still messaging me daily but not very often, asks if he’s done something wrong… since I have convinced myself he isn’t as keen as I am (thanks anxiety), I figure I have nothing to lose and tell him I’m upset about something he said (which was true, but still, it’s way too early to have that conversation) – he’s of course floored that I would be so grumpy about such a small thing. Anxiety, you suck! I figure all is lost and agree to go on a date with another man which ended up being the most boring date imaginable and resulted in me sorely regretting having been such a basket case to Steve. I have managed to sabotage any potential there, while leading myself down a garden path with a bunch of men I’m not even interested in so that I can grasp whatever attention is thrown my way while I mope about Steve not being interested. Sidenote: Steve is still messaging me and will be calling me tonight apparently, this is ALL my anxiety talking. And yet, just because I’m aware of that, doesn’t make it any easier to handle at the moment.
Here’s when it hits me and I recognise the depressing results of all the damage I’ve done in only three weeks:
Yesterday, I was swimming at the beach alone when I got caught in a rip. I’ve never been in that situation before and I was very fortunate to remember what to do. By the time I got back to the beach, my bathers were askew enough for me to lose my dignity as well, and I was so exhausted it was hard going to even walk the beach back to where I’d put my stuff. I sat down about 10 minutes later, still huffing and puffing, and thought what just happened. I could have died. I was too hungover, arrogant (I’d been warned not to go in), distracted and reckless to actually recognise the danger I’d put myself in; and nearly too unfit to get myself out of it. Despite wanting to get home asap, I sat there shaking on the beach for half an hour until I’d calmed myself enough to drive home. It gave me a bit of time for reflection on what had just happened, but also I’d been doing for the last three weeks. On the way I stopped at the grocery store and once I got home, I did the last 3 weeks worth of laundry, dishes, vaccuuming, etc. I cooked lunches for the week and reflected on how far I’d fallen in three mere weeks considering the goals I’d created and set my mind to so recently. My mental health, confidence, physical health, bank account, work ethic, feeling of self-worth, pride… it’s all shot. My birthday is next week, maybe I’ll be able to accomplish something greater in my next year on this Earth because this is not a good feeling. I’m sinking; I’m drowning.
This is not where I want to be.