Sometimes we come to moments in our lives where we’re forced to wait. To simply sit back and wait for whatever comes our way, whether that be good or bad.
I’m terrible at it.
The anticipation for me has always been the most anxiety producing moment of my life. I can remember being in my first year of uni and being the unfortunate person going through the stack of tests we’d done for an archaeology course and seeing that most of the class had failed, knowing that I was yet to find mine. Knowing that my two close friends in the course had failed. Those moments while sorting through made my heart sit in my throat in a way it does now. It would be easy to argue that this would make the end result sweeter when it’s positive, but I remember the feeling more than the moment that comes after it.
If you were wondering, I did pass that test. In fact I had one of the top scores in the class, but that’s not the point. The point is that in that moment, that moment knowing that I could very well be the majority that failed, the possibility of passing wasn’t one that crossed my mind. When I have these moments, I generally assume the worse.
My anxiety tells me that I should have done everything differently. That I didn’t try hard enough or didn’t think outside the box enough, didn’t listen to advice from enough people or didn’t trust me gut enough. That I gave too much information or not enough. The reason I love Doctor Who so much, and Harry Potter to an extent, is the idea of time travel, so that I could go back and do it all over again. To tell myself the ways in which I could improve everything that I do, that if I did it this way it would make all the difference.
I try to reason that it’s not true. That I took all those steps and this thought process is the circular thought process that I live through that tells me I’m not good enough. That I’m never going to succeed because I don’t deserve it. That it’s not going to be something that happens for me.
It’s really hard for me in these moments to consider a positive, no matter how hard I might try. The truth is there are already a lot of positives with my current waiting, I’ve found an awesome online community of people that I never knew existed. I’ve discovered another possible way to help achieve the things that I want to achieve. And to try and distract myself I’ve started reading ‘Fence’ by C.S. Pacat and it’s awesome and I need more of it, that’s not directly related to this, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Of course the other issue about this waiting, is it’s the first time in such a long time, that I’ve done this sort of waiting, where there is something I really care about at the end, knowing that I have anxiety. Knowing that these thoughts are my brain malfunctioning on a level and worrying that I might not be able to cope with it without medication.
I had a friend the other day, completely coming at it from a good place, tell me how much better it would be for people with a mental illness to have programs like the one we were watching at the time. One where there’s a local garden they can come in and work on as part of their treatment. And she said, ‘It would help people so much more to have that here rather than being prescribed pills’ and it hurt so much.
It hurt that she thought that it was the easy option to take the medication. That everything could be fixed with some time outdoors, not knowing whether there were other things that were also being prescribed, and the thought that it’s only through weakness that you end up taking the pills. It hurts because there’s a part of me that believes she’s right. Believe that I did take the easy way out because I opted to take medication to help my anxiety.
Worried now that I can’t function without it, because this is the first time since I’ve stopped taking it where there have been real stakes and I’m worried that I’m going to be a wreck until it resolves.
Then there’s the other part, the voice that tells me it’s ok to be anxious about things that matter to you. That’s what supposed to happen. You’re supposed to be anxious. That it’s ok because I’m not panicking, or nauseous, or short of breath. Sure, there’s some physical aspects there, I’m not sleeping well and my heart is beating a bit faster than normal, but that’s not unusual in these situations.
So I’ll keep waiting. Keep hoping for something good.
I’ll distract myself by watching things I’ve been putting off watching, reading things I’ve been putting off reading and doing things I enjoy. Like this. I’ll write more because I love it so and it makes me happy.
So here’s to the wait. I’ll try and make the most of it.