Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Good Fight

I left my apartment today. 

That's normally not big news but for me lately it's huge.  I've become a reclusive shut-in and it has been harder and harder for me to leave my apartment.  I get anxious, lazy, lethargic, and I just don't want to do it. 

It's been like this for months. 

When I post on Facebook or Twitter that I'm going to leave my apartment, it means I'm psyching myself up to do so and it's not easy.  It takes effort.  Once I get on the road, I'm fine, but getting there is oh so very hard. 

Today, I drove to Madison, about an hour north of me, to hit some Asian stores and get supplies for my new lifestyle.  It was the first time in months I was able to do so and the first time in over a year that I did it by myself. 

Last night, I had a powerfully vivid dream.  In that dream, there was a Korean man named Han, and references to my wife and daughter.  The family I lost.  The daughter I torment myself with.  The guilt came back. 

In that dream, a friend of mine made an appearance.  It was her first guest shot in my dreams.  She and I might chat once in a while on Facebook, but we haven't seen each other face to face in well over eight months, if not longer. 

Tonight, we just happen to run into each other at the grocery store.  How's that for coincidence? 

But I took the road trip north.  All the while, the anxiety got worse and worse.  The further I got from home, the more certainty I had that I was doing the wrong thing. 

I almost turned around and drove back home several times.  At one point, I flipped on the turn signals, and hit the brakes.  Nobody else was on the road at that time. 

I was certain my car was going to break down. 

I was certain there was something wrong with my tires and it wasn't handling right. 

I was certain I was going to blow my motor. 

I was certain my brakes were going to fail and I would be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no chance of rescue. 

But I kept driving. 

Once I reached Madison, there was the usual traffic.  That's when the anxiety started. 

I used to love driving.  I used to drive into all kinds of busy places without a problem.  It never bothered me in the least.  I knew what was up and I just kept on driving. 

But not today.  No, today, I had major anxiety while driving for the first time ever.  By the time I reached the Asian grocery store, I had chest pains, cottonmouth, and and a headache. 

But I kept driving. 

Pulling into  the parking lot of Yue-Wah Grocery, I felt like I'd scored a victory of some kind, as if I'd done something special that wasn't easy and I had to fight to achieve it. 

There's been a lot of that lately. 

This morning, I woke up to a pair of legs that were almost normal sized.  Almost.  One was but the other has a bit more to go.  But they are the smallest they've been in almost a year.  And right now, as they swell throughout the day, the biggest of the two is half the size it was two weeks ago. 

This is a victory, too.  This is a minor victory and I know it for what it is.  It means the efforts I have put into being healthy have begun to work.  Today, I put on a pair of pants and they felt just a tad loser around the waist.  And there was more of a gap between my belly and the steering wheel. 

Things are working in the right direction but I'm miserable. 

This withdrawal from sugar has altered my brain's chemistry to an extent that I've been incredibly depressed.  I'm constantly getting upset over things.  I'm having nightmares that are twisting me around in knots. 

The other day, I re-lived a relationship with a woman I still care about.  This time, I knew what was going to happen right from the beginning so I did everything different I could to keep her with me but in the end, I failed just the same, and she left me.  She slowly pulled away and I went insane because I knew it was going to happen and I just couldn't stop it.  I woke up despondent, upset, and alone. 

It just keeps happening, too.  Horrible dreams, depression, and for some reason the past keeps bubbling up to attack me. 

Going to the Asian grocery store wasn't easy for me.  The smells and sights brought me back to my past.  A time when I was happy.  A time when I wasn't alone and I had a family and things were going in the right direction, or so I thought.  Sometimes, I think going to those places, and having that sensory overload, is just another way of torturing myself.  The guilt isn't enough, I need to twist the knife, and that does it. 

It's just cutting without the blades. 

My daughter's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I'm just not ready for it.  I didn't handle the last one very well and I tried.  I really tried.  I tried to be honest and confront things but it just didn't go so well for me.  And right now I'm compromised in a lot of ways. 

But after writing this, I'll do some yoga and meditate, then focus on the moment in front of me.  I'll deal with that day when it comes. 

For now, today, I can say there are two reasons to be happy.  I can say that I made progress with a couple of things I never thought I'd make progress with.  So, I'll take that, and keep fighting the good fight.  The rest of it I'll just have to deal with as it comes. 

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