I had so many blog posts planned for this month. So many blog posts didn’t happen. Unless you’re just joining us you realized that already.
But I had high hopes I would at least get a blog post out in time for the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If my current writing consistency holds up this post is a day late of that deadline. Hopefully it’s not many more than that.
I had such good intentions dear readers. This was going to be my third month of increased readership and the continuation of a solid posting schedule.
As is often the case however, life happened. Well, to be slightly more specific, mental health (or perhaps I should say mental illness) happened. My sleep has been a mess as a result. Executive dysfunction has run completely a muck. This, on top of other life stuff, led to one of the absolute worst days I’ve had in recent memory, coincidentally on the ADA’s anniversary.
I was home alone and experienced the worst panic attack I’ve ever had. It hit fast and hard and seemingly out of nowhere. One minute I was fine, the next I was crying over nothing. But you know how crying works, first you’re crying over nothing, then you’re crying over everything there is to cry about. I was screaming but there was no sound coming out.
I sat there for I couldn’t say how long listening to my brain come up with some of the meanest, nastiest things it’s ever said to me. It told me a lot of things I know aren’t true and tried to get me to do things to hurt myself.
The specifics of what my brain said or what my intrusive thoughts tried to get me to do aren’t important. At least they aren’t as important as the fact that I am safe. I am well. I didn’t hurt myself and I knew the entire time what was real and what was my brain being a jerk.
So I cranked up some music and let myself cry until I was done. At some point I reached out to friends on social media. Then I ate a little bit and took a nap. When my husband came home I got up, promptly began feeling like death warmed over, and spent the evening continuing self-care. After a good night’s sleep, and a Gatorade administered under duress, I was physically and mentally much improved.
This isn’t said to garner pity or sympathy. For anyone reading this and thinking, “Syd’s journaling on the blog again,” frankly I have to ask, are you new here? But in all seriousness that experience made me realize some things. First and foremost, my meds probably need adjusting. But secondly, I realized how far I’ve come in being able to get through an attack like that and, instead of just crashing and moving on, prioritizing self-care and using the resources around me to pull myself up and out of that place.
Yes it made me realize how far I still have to go but it also showed me how far I’ve come. I may not be where I once was, or remotely where I think I should be, but I am improving slowly but surely. There are plenty of days where I’m not capable of much, but they’re getting fewer and farther between. I’m continuing to become more aware of myself and what my needs and limitations are. I am begrudgingly accepting that working on myself takes time and effort and that fact doesn’t make it any less important to do so.
I am discovering a pride in my pace, slow as it may seem sometimes. And I realized this is the same pride I have in the disability community and even in things like the ADA. The process may be slow and tedious, even daunting, but look how far we’ve come. Twenty-nine years ago a piece of legislation went into effect that would have an enormous impact on my life. Two months later that life began.
I’m still learning how to reconcile all the pieces of myself, disability, sexuality, mental health etc into a cohesive picture that I’m happy with, much as the disability community is working toward a more complete fully integrated society. The process might be slower than we’d like, but I have no doubt both will happen.