I took a hiatus.
From everything. Social media, social functions, society in general.
A lot of things have happened in the last few months, one of them being the hurricane. We’re fine; however, our backyard isn’t. And while I am eternally grateful our lives were spared, the extensive mess it left–both literally and figuratively–combined with other factors have caused things to change.
I’ll spare you the details of those changes, as well as the state of my mental health, because it deals a lot with depression and Tarryn just recently wrote a blog post about that, and farbeit for me to piggyback off Tarryn Fisher (bahaha). But scoop a heaping dollop of anxiety on top of this shit sundae, and that’s where I’ve been stuck the last couple of months.
Well, screw it—I’ll touch on depression for a second before we get to the fun part (there is a fun part coming, I promise!). I’ve dealt with depression since I was a child, and within the past few years, when it comes to visit, it brings a suitcase full of anxiety. These polar opposites make an interesting combination. Depression is feeling numb. Anxiety is feeling everything at once. And when you combine those two, it’s a living, breathing hell.
Unfortunately, I am my own support group. I don’t have a group of people who reach out and see if I’m okay. I’m not surrounded by family; in fact, I have no family down here at all. There are many days that go by where my phone doesn’t make a single sound. And that’s the first thing depression/anxiety tells me when it barges through the door and sets up camp in my mind—you’re all alone, you’ve got nobody. So here I am to keep you company! You’re welcome!
In fact (and this is actually pretty funny—now, anyway, it wasn’t when it happened), a couple weeks ago, I was trying to get ahold of a psychiatrist to make an appointment. I couldn’t get ahold of anyone, so I left various messages which were never returned. When I finally got ahold of someone, she asked me a series of questions to determine if I would be a good fit for the doctor. Was I suicidal? No. Heart issues? No. Eating disorders? Hell, no.
Upon finishing the questions, she said, “Okay, I’ll give your information to the doctor this afternoon and give you a call back no later than Wednesday.”
Wednesday came and went. The following Wednesday came and went. I heard nothing.
I couldn’t even get a psychiatrist to care about me.
I was pondering this and many other things while driving my car a few days later when I was hit with an anxiety attack. I grabbed my phone at a stop light and called the psychiatrist’s office again, and left another message in the middle of this anxiety attack.
I mean, LOL, I can’t even imagine what that sounded like when they heard it. I, Traci Finlay, in the midst of an anxiety attack, called a psychiatrist’s office and tried leaving a coherent message that was anything but coherent. It was high pitched with lots of shallow breathing, and I almost hung up without telling them my name and number. I’m laughing just thinking about it. I wish I had it recorded because I would totally post that mess on here and let you listen to it.
Anyway, guess what? I have an appointment November third.
The point is, I took initiative. I took initiative in other areas, too. Here comes the fun part…
I went out and bought myself a new computer. It’s a MacBook Air.
It was my “I Survived Hurricane Irma” gift.
It was my “Hurricane Irma Destroyed My Pool And Ripped Out All My Trees” consolation prize.
It was my “I Live In A City I Hate And Nobody Cares” present.
It was my “The Last Large Gift I Received Was On My Birthday And It Was A Bike And Someone Stole It Out Of My Backyard A Month Later” award.
It was my “I Don’t Have My Own Laptop Outside Of My Work Computer, Which Is The Size Of A Dinosaur” accolade.
And my depression/anxiety looked me square in the face and said, “Touché, Finlay. Touché.”
But I didn’t stop there—I took this new computer, channeled my depression/anxiety through it, and I wrote another book.
In case you thought you may not have read that right, I finished another manuscript. I’m still in that stage of disbelief and uncertainty. I’ve tucked it away with the intention of pulling it back out in a couple of weeks to start the self-editing stage and determine whether or not it’s going to work.
But I think … I think I love it.
I guess the point of all this is—the last few weeks have been hella interesting, in both good and bad ways. Those who deal with depression understand the fight or flight mentality. I chose to fight this time, and I’m really glad I did. Those big little victories help a lot. I felt just as accomplished when I got the psychiatrist’s office to call me back as I did when I finished the last sentence of my manuscript. And skipping out of the Apple Store with a shiny new laptop dangling in a bag wasn’t too shabby, either.
I know it’s not over. It still may be a few more weeks before I’m feeling like my old self again, but I’m at least taking steps in the right direction. And I know this isn’t the end of the depression/anxiety. I know that I know that I know it’ll come back. And it’ll come back again after that. And again.
And you’ll know when all this happens, because I’ll take a hiatus and then pop back up with a new computer and another book.
Well, let me not set any expectations. I hate having to live up to expectations, because it gives me anxiety. And then I’d have to go make another phone call, and we know how those go…
Also, MacBooks are expensive, and if I bought a new one after every bout of depression and anxiety, I’d basically be plunging myself deeper into depression and anxiety … and debt.
But maybe, with the books. We’ll see.