Sunday, January 21, 2018
I'm the kind of person who gets terrified when I receive private messages because it's really difficult for me to figure out how to respond, especially if they include compliments. I agonize over it for days or weeks before I respond sometimes, no matter the content of the message. As I try to figure out how to do that social thing, my anxiety continues to increase as more time passes between the initial message and my response. It's kept me awake at times. Well, this sort of thing in addition to every other thing that induces extreme anxiety.
Anyway, I just responded to like ten messages today, and you honestly don't know how proud I feel. It may seem like nothing, but being social is not something that comes easy to me. It's not that I don't want to or don't enjoy it, but the energy cost is high, and it takes almost all of my spoons to maintain my composure/overall impression in a social setting. I'm constantly analyzing the interaction, choosing the most appropriate response based on my analysis and my understanding of the other parties in the situation. It's a process that requires an intense amount of effort, particularly with new people or when there is small talk involved. One of the things I loved about the drag scene is that I could make friends so easily just by talking about a shared special interest, rather than nonsense.
I've learned that alcohol helps in these situations because it reduces my anxiety, as well as the stimulation I receive from the environment (lights, sounds, smells), freeing up some of my reserves.
There are some people in my life where none of this seems to apply. People with whom effort isn't required. People who know that I may say the wrong thing or nothing at all. People who don't just tolerate my weirdness and over-analytical nature, but who actually love me for it and want to be around me and my weirdness. I'm so grateful for these people.
The past week, even though I've been sick as all hell for several, has been so different for me. It was just one medication change. One that I was afraid to even take due to the potential side effects. It's been a little over a week, and I haven't felt this kind of motivation or clarity in probably four or five years. I've broken down crying at how much time I wasted not being able to function, not being in control at all.
I'm doing things that I love again, some of them for the first time in years. I'm making actual plans. I'm getting up in the morning. I'm talking to more people. I'm feeling connected again. And it's not killing me. I feel energized rather than depleted. And it's all coming down to one thing: With the help of a fantastic medical team (Johns Hopkins and EastRidge Health Services) working together, I am absolutely and finally ready to live again.
Thank you so much to everyone who has been there for me in one way or another these past few years, even though I've been distant. I want you to know that it wasn't by choice. That I miss you. You probably don't realize how much I do miss you and care about you. I think about so many of you as I try to fall asleep at night. I just hope it's not too late to be part of your lives again. I love you.
And, I can finally say without guilt or shame, I love myself. Thank you all again, and I'll see you soon.