Evidently, it’s a thing to declare a word of the year. I know this because Medium told me so. So I’m declaring my word for 2017… Anxiety.
I have been put back on medication to deal with that. This means I get to visit the doctor about every 4 weeks for “med checks” as we see how I’m doing with the addition of a medicine, then increased the dosage, then deciding to switch meds requiring weeks of weaning off, and then slowly going onto a different med. And even with all of that, still not knowing for sure if you feel “normal” or what “normal” even means.
The world at large is enough of a stress source. But there are a lot of things in my life that contribute to my depression and anxiety. This year has felt particularly difficult. Add all of them together and it’s really hard to know what things will make this biggest change in how you feel when adjusted or what could make you feel worse.
I’m finally going here… kind of. I hate my guts. Literally, my guts. My whole life they’ve been finicky. But the past 3 years they’ve been really bad. And it totally sucks when you see doctor after doctor and have test after test and they’re like “Eh…. you’re fine.” When you feel so bad that you see a doctor about poop issues and they require you to do to countless blood tests, stool samples where you have to take your excrement out for a drive and deliver it to someone else, endoscopy/colonoscopy… that’s not just “fine”. Then you get labeled as having irritable bowel syndrome and sent on your way. There’s really no answer, it’s just a catch-all bucket for symptoms they can’t pin to anything in particular or really treat. Stress can exacerbate the condition, but then you have more stress because you feel bad most of the time. So it’s a never-ending cycle.
Earlier this year, at one of my “med check” appointments, the doc was checking me over and felt my throat. Apparently, she could feel something there and ordered an ultrasound, which showed a lump on my thyroid. So I was sent to get a fine-needle aspiration biopsy. The good thing is the lump is not cancerous. But it is large. The endocrinologist I was referred to said that if it were 1mm bigger he would remove it immediately, but since it’s not cancer we will “wait and see” if it changes. So next summer I will see if it has changed, but that was months of anxiety going from doctor to doctor and test to test.I’m glad I avoided having my neck cut open, but it still causes me unease each time I have to see my otolaryngologist (yep, got one of those from this discovery) comments on how large the lump is each time I see him.
For a stretch of the year, we had time where I was the sole breadwinner and that caused me a lot of stress. And I’m now very accustomed to thinking about any expense for myself (races, gear, doctors appointments, etc.) as being something I can/should put toward my kid instead of selfishly on myself. I’m NOT the sole breadwinner now but the panic that it could be the case once more is always on my mind. Plus I get angry at all the people who told me that I should have quit my job to stay home with my kid and have less stress because How you like me now?! My job has provided a ton of stability in our life. I provide the vast majority of our retirement, I provide the insurance, my job is important in our life. Plus, I like working… it was never even a thought in my mind that I would ever not work.
This is the hardest gig of my life. I’ve never felt love so intense as I do for my child and this love causes me actual physical pain because I’m so worried about every decision I make for her life. Being a mother came as a surprise to me, I assumed I couldn’t have kids and I was fine with that. It was a relief and I had no interest in running any more tests to see why things “weren’t functioning” with my lady parts. I don’t think I can be technically diagnosed as having “postpartum” anxiety or depression as my kid is 5-years-old, especially given my history with anxiety and depression prior to having a kid, but the worry and fear I feel grows and mounts every day. And when my spouse is like, “Let’s have another kid.” I want to throw up, the thought is so horrifying and scary to me. I literally love her more than anyone/thing in the world. But it’s all-consuming.
This should help reduce stress… it used to. But it is a source of stress now. Not so much that I’d say I’m better off without it, but the balance of my goals in running with my responsibilities in life seems a lot harder to maintain. And the first item I mentioned here has ruined plenty of runs (hee hee…. runs) for me and I have a hard time running immediately upon waking now. I used to be able to roll out of bed at some awful hour and just run. Not anymore. Early morning running before work gets screwed. So I start working at an early hour. But my kid keeps getting up super early and interrupting that. Plus I have to drive her to school more often now, so I’m continually “more late” for work and don’t feel justified taking a running lunch hour as often. Running on the weekend is just as much of a nuisance. I don’t want to just switch to doing yoga at home or something because then I NEVER EVER EVER escape the home and home workouts are particularly draining when a small child is talking at you the whole time. Even if I just run from my house, at least I get to leave the house for a moment. And I still feel pretty kickass when I’ve finished a run, I don’t want to give that up.
I’m not sure how to fix anything. But I really hope I don’t get to the end of 2018 and think that my word for the year is the exact same thing… or something worse.