I left Korea exactly three months ago on December 22. I realized it this morning and thought it was the perfect moment to do a check-in. So hang on, folks, we’re going into the depths of my mind…
Comparing my anxiety now to three months ago, it’s almost unbelievable how much better I am. Now, I don’t believe in getting rid of emotions, and that’s certainly not my aim with anxiety, but physically, emotionally, and mentally I am much healthier. I’m sleeping better, my energy is better, and slowly I’ve been able to do more and more of the things that were lost to me when this all started. When I first got home, the idea of going out was terrifying; I was so afraid it would trigger a panic attack that I stayed at home for weeks. For most of January, I stayed inside, only going to my chiropractor and (I think) like two other places. January was the real recovery month, as I focused on my sleep and actual physical health.
February I started going out more, playing D&D and seeing a few friends, but it was still pretty low-key. I was still worried about having an attack, and still enjoying my downtime at home.
March was when everything started to pick up. I started driving again (a huge fear for me which turned out to be no problem), went shopping, went out to dinner with friends, went to a drop-in D&D session with strangers, and started therapy.
All of this to say that my anxiety has definitely decreased. I still feel anxious (or afraid, as my therapist tells me) about new things, but I’m excited to lean into it and stretch myself, whereas before that fear would have kept me home.
So what have I actually done in three months? When I first realized it was already Spring I felt a moment of panic because it seemed like I hadn’t done anything at all. I still don’t have a job, I still haven’t finished a book, and I’m still not healed. Yeah, I expected miracles to happen when I got home. But today, this three-month anniversary, I thought about all that I have accomplished, and I felt proud. Going from what I was (wrecked, quivering ball of insomnia and panic) to what I am now (excited, healthy, curious) is amazing.
- been to the doctor twice and gotten on less medication
- been to therapy three times and learned where my issues might be coming from, which is the first step to healing
- been to D&D countless times (seriously, I’m not going to go back and count the weekends) and have a solid group of friends
- been out with friends for dinner (that’s huge when you have agoraphobia)
- written a lot (short stories, this blog, other story ideas)
- learned a lot about writing
- read 44 books (damn)
- started driving again
- made two paper masks
- furnished my office
- DMed a duet D&D session with a friend
- exercised every day (holy…)
- meditated every day
- discovered what foods I’m slightly allergic to (that’s a whole story, sheesh)
- been on an overnight trip with a friend
…and I’m sleeping regularly.
This is huge for me, guys. I realized that I have in fact made vast steps forward on the way to recovery, and my expectation that I would bounce back fully and 100% within this time was totally unrealistic.
I’m thrilled how well it’s gone, honestly. I know exactly how tough it was for me those last few weeks in Korea, and I can barely believe how good I feel now.
I still have a long way to go; my whole life will be learning to live with myself, anxiety and all, but I’m okay with that now. I’m ready and waiting to take those next steps.
To anyone suffering from anxiety or depression, I hope my journey will help you in some way. Let’s #buildaladder together!