I’ve been neglecting you. Last week I had what I thought was a return in my panic attacks. It turned out to be what’s called “rebound tachycardia,” and is easily dealt with by splitting my beta blocker dosage in half and taking one half in the morning at one at night.
I talked about it for about 15 minutes in the beginning of my latest podcast episode:
It’s surprising how one incident can so easily make me retract into my full protective shell. Faced with what I believed may be a return to my darkest days, I suddenly found the idea of typing words into a box and hitting publish completely exhausting.
This is one of the dangerous side effects of anxiety: we suck our tendrils back in and shut off communication with the outside world. We isolate. We find ourselves unwilling, uninterested, and seemingly incapable of expressing our feelings at a time when doing so is actually more valuable than it normally is.
Having gone through this retraction for most of my life due to anxiety, depression, and a myriad of other reasons, one would think I had some sort of theory as to what purpose it serves. With psychical wounds instinctively cup our hands them. This makes logical sense. We’re keeping them clean. We’re holding the blood in. We’re reacting to pain with pressure. But what logic is there to the social retraction that occurs from our psychological wounds? What are we protecting? What are we holding in from spilling out? What pressure are we applying?
Physical wounds heal from coiling up and reserving energy, but psychic wounds are the opposite. The more we hold in; the more we hide, the more we wound. We only heal from release. We only heal from feeling. We only from sharing them with others and asking for support.
Having seen, this week, how easy it is for me to shut off again, I’m now building systems to making it easier for me to remain open. I can alter the tone of these posts. I can use less of the “article,” “essay,” and “Blog” tone, adopt a looser more personal tone. I can embrace looseness and imperfection. I can lower the threshold to entry. I can also begin to share recommendations and lists (both of which I’ve been obsessed with since I was a teenage.) These small things will allow me to still share even when I’m not in a place to bare myself.
We don’t put down pads because we’re afraid to fall, we put down pads because we expect to fall and we want to get back up.