I am prone to severe anxiety issues. While I’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety attacks, I do have them, especially when I’m in a situation where I have no control or I think I’ve wrong-choiced myself into no control. The last time I had issues this serious was during the months following filing for divorce. I would wake up with a nonstop inner chatter that even my most powerful meditation techniques, sedatives, and yes, some substance abuse, could not quiet. For all my problems with binging, they aren’t exactly related to addiction: I tend to not get addicted to stuff, and in fact, low dopamine production may be part of why I binge eat. Since it takes me more work to get high, anxiety pushes me into a behavior pattern where I try to get high through food and it just doesn’t work. The only thing that does work is endorphin highs. I like exercise, but if my feet are broken out in hives it’s a hard road to get it even with attempts at chair and floor exercise, and because I’m a fat chick WITH self-esteem, finding sex partners to produce that endorphin high before I met Mike wasn’t particularly easy.
Ultimately, even though I can’t get a psychotherapist to diagnose me with anxiety issues – I am apparently one of the only mentally healthy people out there according to the mental health profession as it practices in the United States – my allergist of all people was willing to give me something used to treat anxiety that is also useful for my chronic urticaria. The basics: I get hives to the point where they prevent me from working, sleeping or living a normal life. While we did determine I am allergic to corn syrup and this is a big part of the problem, it took seven years to figure that out, and I still hive in periods of anxiety – the kind that I encounter in traditional workplaces all the time despite my best efforts to get a low-stress job. People with my condition have a high rate of suicide and alcoholism. When you’ve had hives for nearly eight years, you too will see how this is actually pretty reasonable, especially since the medical and psychiatric community won’t like you and will try to pawn you off on the next guy because cu cases are always individualized and tough to solve.
Right now, my father is seriously ill and I have a wedding coming up. There are some obvious questions that I just can’t ask about my father’s plans for seeing my wedding. If I worry too much, I’ll make myself sick and even possibly render myself unable to walk – again. I’ve also recently found out that my body does not purge anymore. I’ve never really been a purger, but now I actually can’t vomit if I need to. This means that food binging of any kind is a danger to my life, as is quite possibly influenza. I always thought of myself as a tough one, so reframing my self-perception because I have to be gentle with myself, especially when no one else has ever been particularly gentle with me. I was raised from an “I’ll give you something to cry about” philosophy. It’s a bad one, just as bad as “Oh, is your self-esteem bruised?” (I have no idea what the appropriate middle ground is here. I’m a Scorpio. You don’t go to us for middle ground.)
Making myself sick won’t help my father. I’ve been doing some prayer/magic work for Dad, but not to the extent I could – it’s like that wellspring of Will is missing or relocated. I’m scared, I’m anxious, and I’ve been skipping morning pages here and there because some days I just don’t want to see my fear trotting across the page. I’m obsessing about a Facebook game, and motoring through projects with the same obsessive eye. It’s like I’m finding new ways to binge. Granted, art binges are probably healthier than other kinds, but a binge is a binge.
I need help. I just need to figure out the exact right person to ask.