NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and then discovered that I was frozen, completely stuck on thinking of things to post. After chewing on it for a while, I've come to the conclusion that since everything happening in my life right now stems from a single event, I'm going to need to tell that story before I can move forward and think about anything else. I hope you don't mind.
My plan, when I moved back home after my year in Americorps, was to find a job that paid enough to cover the cost of rent on an apartment in the district and day care for my crazy-ass dog. That was it. That was the plan. If it also meant I could afford to finally upgrade from my 4-year-old brick of a phone and maybe get that Playstation 3 I've lusted over for years, then, well, I wasn't going to argue. It took some months, but I found a job. It wasn't necessarily what I saw myself doing when I was but a Kelly sapling, but it was with an exciting company and the benefits, oh, the benefits!! Besides, it was very similar to a job I'd previously held. Piece of cake.
By the second week, I'd developed anxiety attacks so bad that I required a trip to the ER and sedation. Even taking anti-anxiety meds, just thinking about going in to work gave me the shakes so bad I had to quit. And there I was, back to square one, broke, jobless, shaken to the core, and pissed. Man, was I pissed. It was a simple plan. Get job--> make money --> move out--> find doggie day care--> live happily ever after. Was that really so hard? Apparently it was, for my feeble, feeble brain.
I've wrestled with depression my entire life (I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at age 9), but anxiety on this level is something new. I'm not used to my body turning against me in this way, and my reaction was to be incredibly angry with myself. It kept me from being sad all the time, which was productive in a way, but it also kept me from actually going back to square one and trying to restart my simple plan. Instead, I angrily spun my wheels and railed at the universe, frustrated with my own innate lack of motivation and with my doctor's repeated heavy hints that I should think about going back to school.
Hell with that. I'm 26, which feels unutterably old these days, and no further in my life than I was at 21 (albeit with the addition of the aforementioned crazy-ass dog). I want to move forward, not back. And the last attempt at school, that didn't end so well, did it? So instead of doing what everyone around me was urging me to do, I took a job at a family friend's deli working the lunch counter and started volunteering at my local library. I highly recommend the library for battling anxiety. There's something very soothing about sorting and scanning books.
And so, here I am. Admittedly, there's nothing physically easy about working at job where you're on your feet for hours on end, everyday. Most days I feel like someone has beaten me with a baseball bat (hauling books around isn't easy on the old knees and back, either, plus I've got this injured 50 lb dog who isn't supposed to use the stairs). Yet, oddly, the cafe and library combination has done what I thought was impossible at times, and calmed the roiling sea in my head. And, actually, helped me to start thinking about moving forward. I'm even considering (gasp!) school.
This isn't a "happily ever after" by any stretch of the imagination. It isn't even a "once upon a time." Honestly, I'm not even sure we've cracked open the freaking book. But there is a story to be lived and told, and I'm a small step closer to figuring that out.
And that's that. I solemnly swear that the rest of my posts this month with be neither so long nor so self-involved. Thank God.
ps: Unlike some who find inspiration in sadness and hardship, it turns me into an uncreative lump. I haven't touched my camera in months. Thanks to my brother for letting me use this lovely, lovely photo he took on a recent trip to Deep Creek, Maryland.