To say that this term has been a struggle, is an understatement. Well, for me to say that would not be 100% fair. I have been lucky enough to join an amazing group of future nurses. I was welcomed with complete open arms and hearts. I could not ask for a better group of graduates to join. I have been battling my own inner monster within the past 9 weeks.
In my life I have never had an easy path to walk. My journey has been filled with mountains, hills, deep valleys, rivers and puddles. I have enjoyed time in the sunlight and just barely made it through the thunderstorms. I always find a way to overcome. I may not always look so good when I come out on the other end, but I always find a way. I am encouraged, loved and supported by so many people. My past, present and future seems to be riding on the next 41 days and because of that the monster has awoken from its slumber.
I was told by a very wise friend, “you can’t go back and “wish” you had done something different, or make a different choice. You can only move forward with what you have.” I have been living those words for the past 9 weeks. I have fallen a few times, and found a way to pick myself up, brush the dirt off and keep going. Recalculating, rethinking, reinventing and changing as I go along.
I keep saying that its almost done. “Little bit more, another few weeks…” I have said that for the past 3 years. Its always one more semester, one more exam, just a little longer. The sleepless nights, the lack of socialization, lack of time with friends, lack of family time. The hours spent in the library. The thousands of pages of textbooks that have been read. Notebooks, printed sheets, note cards, highlighters, pens all of it…necessary for my success.
I have never felt so alone, yet so loved as I have over the past 9 weeks. I realized that I have been mourning a loss that I did not even realize I was mourning. Missing someone that I did not even realize that I missing as much as I do. Some people in this world just can not be replaced. You find a way to move forward, so you can be the person that you are meant to be, but the back of your mind is always wishing you could just go back to that one day and change what happen. You wake up each day, thinking this is the day you are going to wake up from this never ending nightmare, and life is back to normal and you are right where you are suppose to be, doing what you are suppose to be doing.
I used to get asked, if I was angry for what happen to me? I would not say “angry” I would say that now I am simply learning to deal with this new world in which I live. I used to be a future thinker. One the first day of the term I was already thinking about the last day. I was mentally through every exam (with a pass), all my clinical days, readings, assignments and projects. Ready to start planning the break, or next term. I could visualize what the future was going to be. I have always been able to keep my anxiety hidden. I could keep the monster quiet. I had to learn at an early age, how to keep the monster happy, and quiet like a quiet purr in the back of my mind. When the monster awoke, and started to growl I could hide it, or put it back away so it did not show on the outside. I was the master, and I owned and controlled it.
When you are put into a situation that you have to think “I am going to die, right here, on the side of this road.” Your brain shows you all the faces of the people in your life (past and present). You see your life in a flash that happens so fast you don’t even realize that it happen until after its done. Your brain rewires a bit, in that fraction of a second. Everything you knew, trusted, and relied on changes. Your life changes forever, what you knew before will never be the same again.
What does this have to do with Anxiety you are asking? When you have the monster called anxiety that lives within you gets woken up from its long slumber, it starts to feed and grow. It feeds on the irrational thoughts, fears, self doubts and feelings within you. As it grows it become the master, and you become its slave. You begin to self-doubt, second guess and overthink. You replay every conversation in your head. Every text message, is reread over and over to make sure your intention was clear and not misconstrued. You obsess on non-important details because you don’t want to miss anything. Anxiety makes you see the world in a different way, every conversation feels like you are being “criticized” or “left out”. All conversations are “about you”. Anxiety makes you replay every decision made that day, that week, that month and 2 years ago. Anxiety makes your brain feel like you are standing in the middle of a football field with 20,000 people standing around you, talking in 20,000 directions. You are standing in the center of all that just wanting to be seen, herd, or to make the noise stop. You are screaming at the top of your voice, “SHUT UP” “STOP MOVING”, no one hears you so your just screaming. What you see on the outside is me sitting in lecture, taking notes, or reading my text. You see me having lunch with my co-workers. You hear me telling a funny story, or playing a character to make people laugh. You see me doing my job. What you don’t see is the tears on my pillow or feel the jolts that wake me from the little bit of sleep I get. You don’t feel the physical pain I live with everyday of my life. The dull ache in my stomach, the shooting burning pains that shoot up and down my leg. You don’t feel the palpitations, of my heart as it skips beats and beats so hard and loud it feels its going to beat out of my chest. You see the smiling face on the outside, you hear my voice say “I’m great!”.
Living with the monster called Anxiety is trying to learn a foreign language. The alphabet, what the letters mean and sound like, how to write them; put the letters into words and know what they mean, how to say the word and put it into a sentence all while you are standing in the middle of that football field with the 20,000 people. That is what I have been going through the past 9 weeks. You don’t know what its like to be so exhausted all the time, that getting 4 hours of sleep is not only your new normal, but you have rationalize to your self that you really don’t need more than that.
I take life one day at a time, when that does not work, I take it on hour at a time, when that is not working I take it one minute at at time. Many people have demons, monsters of their own to deal with. I have helped many people with just that. Always dropping what I’m doing to help someone who needs me. Going to be the shoulder to lean on, cry on. The one who has the most wisdom, understanding, empathy and sympathy. I have seen more, done more in my 39 years than most my age and older.
I just want people to understand that what sounds irrational you, is not to me. What seems simple concept to grasp to you, may take me a minuet or two. I am strong. I am not the monster that lives inside. I will tame it, and control it again, just some days are harder than others. I am not ready to give up, or give in. I also want to thank those of you who have been at my side. If it was not for you, I don’t know what I would do.
Thank you as always for being apart of my team…
I am not done fighting just yet.
This is my last mountain.
Be kind to yourself and each other… Have a good one..Cheryle