It has been the most anxiety ridden month I’ve had since I was in high school.
And that’s saying a lot.
I have been anticipating this winter break for so long but also dreading it. My lease ends on the 31st. New Year’s Eve. Who wants to move on NYE? No one. On top of that, my application for this apartment I wanted had not been filed yet. My work and my leasing agent apparently do not get along. Additionally, I was expected to be liaison when the whole point of a leasing agent is they are in charge of your application! No one was communicative, no one understood how imperative it was for me to obtain this apartment.
An apartment that was beautiful but in a way out there neighborhood and way over my budget. But I am impulsive and sign up for things quickly when cornered. I like to think of myself as independent but honestly, I think my impulses have to take credit for that. Needless to say, I’ve been a wreck about wondering how I would pay for this place (which included signing up for SNAP haha except I make too much money before taxes… but after taxes of course I would be a perfect candidate–too bad it is all BEFORE taxes) and researching programs that could help you pay for utilities such as LIHEAP and CEDA.
Holidays rolling around I wondered how I would get anyone gifts. Some gifts were purchased when I believed I would have money and planned to live with my boyfriend (this was before discussing with his roommates how they lacked confidence they were in our relationship… which led me running far away to find a place on my own without telling my boyfriend). So now I was stuck with what to buy or make, with what time and what materials all before Christmas Eve. Where after Christmas Eve, I would need to pack my life away and hopefully end up somewhere if my application was accepted.
Then came the Christmas Eve planning, my family assumed I would spend it with my boyfriend and I assumed I would spend it with my family (I missed last Christmas due to a very lovely holiday in Paris with my best friend–first Christmas away from home, first time in Europe and far less stressful despite language barriers and the like… perhaps out of country holidays are best!). That would be all fine were it not for the fact, I invited my roommate-soon-not-to-be-roommate to Christmas because I would be damned if my Hawaii-born roomie would spend Christmas alone in a cold city! I was invited to part one of the family event but part two I was not welcome because of my stranger roommate. “Oh but we love you and we would never do this to you on purpose!” It’s really true, no one meant for dates to get muddled and I didn’t think a plus one that was not my boyfriend would mean an abrupt end to our Christmas Eve.
It hurt. I didn’t know what to do. Everything was collapsing around me and as soon as the Friday before break ended… I could feel that emptiness and despair grabbing hold. Anxiety is a daily battle but if I keep losing, it’s a slippery slope back into depression if I’m not aware and giving myself time to process. This past weekend, I could feel those tears drown me and take me back to that place. I was scared, I was alone, I tried to reach out but my words were cruel. I lay in bed without eating and just sobbed until I fell asleep. I woke up and realized I was still here. I cried again until I went back to sleep. It went back and forth. That feeling of not belonging and messing it all up, it choked me and it hadn’t done that to me in a very long time.
I saw no hope, I saw nothing after one disappointment and another. All it took was mismatched Christmas plans and I fell apart. I tried so hard to fight it. I thought of ideas to spend Christmas Day with just my roommate and I. We could build forts and count all the Christmas trees downtown. I googled spending Christmas alone and I found more inspiration, but it reminded me of that abandonment I felt. No one truly abandoned me but my mind didn’t believe it. My heart did not either. My boyfriend came over and I knew I needed help, but I did not know how to ask. I was tired of asking, I was asking all the time for help. I felt so weak.
I can’t even tell you how I got up. I don’t remember how or what was said and done. I know I was cruel and he didn’t get it when he saw my tears. He believed I cried because my plans weren’t to my expectations. It was more than that. So many feelings left unchecked, so much waiting and lack of control then finally I broke.
I’m not put together again at all. I am still in a bit of shock and how close I was to that edge. Elizabeth Wurtzel describes it best as this “black wave”. I recalled that feeling that began to follow me when I turned 13. For me, the black wave was just a splash in those preteen years and the only presence of my anxiety was my eyelash pulling. It gained momentum in high school and the black wave was pulling me into its tide. I hid my eyes with makeup and wrists with sweatbands. I thought geography could change it, distance from toxic relationships, so when I left for college–I thought this was it. I would break free. Forever. I would not see the black wave. But what I hadn’t realized was the toxic relationship I had with myself.
I don’t feel hatred towards myself anymore, but making mistakes is still so hard for me to handle. It’s like I was taught being human was an utter abomination. So I have credit debt, I want to live with my boyfriend even if people don’t particularly like it and believe we have a lot to work on (it’s A LOT), and I am impulsive… but I want to pay off the cards and being in a healthy relationship is very important to me. It doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect. And being impulsive has gotten me into trouble but it has also gotten me into places I never thought I’d be… like Paris on Christmas. I might have lots of white hairs before I turn 30 but hopefully there will be less surprise black waves.