Last week was one of the longest, most excruciating weeks I have had the displeasure of experiencing period.
Like, all of the anxiety I’ve had during 2020 was jammed into the span of a week and heightened to levels that I haven’t felt in years.
All due to a very particular event that pretty much captured everyone’s attention and likewise had them refreshing endlessly whilst fueling their own worried states – Election 2020.
Jesus, give me strength.
Sunday and Monday were fine. Normal even.
Then Tuesday rolled along.
I remember the last Presidential election and what it did to me. How when states started falling to What’s His Face, I immediately had a massive panic/anxiety attack and fell apart. So, I thought I’d be wise and turn my phone off all day, making sure to hide it away in my brother’s room just to be safe.
Didn’t stop me from worrying, but I thought’d that would be fine. I’d manage. Sure, there was anxiety building up, but then I’d go to bed and wake up to some sort of result.
Wednesday – of course, no result. Because nothing can be easy in 2020.
After having some bizarre Election dreams and not sleeping well at all, I wake up to a big old mess. Nothing’s been called. Votes are still being counted. Joe Biden’s behind in several very important states. Another four years of What’s His Face.
Anxiety and stress levels immediately skyrocket. What fun.
Several things happen when I get stressed. One is that my sleep patterns go straight out the window. Two is that I can’t eat. I am not a stress eater. At all. My stomach just won’t let anything in. Of course, if I don’t eat, my stomach immediately goes, “Why haven’t you eaten anything?! Eat something now!” But then if I do get something down, it’s all “Why did you do that?!”
So I’m exhausted, not eating, and chain-worrying. I’m stuck in some weird suspended animation, just constantly refreshing, refreshing, REFRESHING. Not doing anything else – I don’t have enough bandwidth to do so. My attention span shrinks, only able to take in a few minutes at a time.
And I thought I was okay.
I honestly did. I thought I was managing things just fine. This was okay. Totally, totally okay.
Thursday – I am not okay.
I am so far from okay it’s not even funny. Exhaustion is catching up to me big time. I’m probably dehydrated at this point as well. Still can’t do anything else except hit that damn refresh button.
I should also mention that I was home this entire time. Didn’t have to go to work Tuesday through Thursday, which really would’ve been a big help in keeping me distracted. It seemed great weeks ago – until I got stuck in Election Purgatory.
And – a very BIG and – we had people working on the house, replacing the siding. Which turned out to be a noisy process. A very early, noisy process. So sleep ended early. And my psyche slowly cracked further under the constant hammering coming from every which way.
I do manage to make my way to my friend Suzy’s house, which ends up being a much needed respite from the noise/anxiety/screens/refreshing/everything. Honestly, I’m amazed that I make it there, considering how tired I am. But we talk. We sat in her basement room, and just hash it out. The first time that week that I say out loud to someone other than myself that I am not okay. That I am stuck deep in some anxiety hole.
That evening, I end up getting so overwhelmed that I break down into my Chinese food. I’m tired. I’m hurting. Why can’t I break out of this cycle? Why am I here in this pit? Why can’t they just call the stupid race already my GOD.
Friday. The workers are gone. The house looks nice and fresh. I get to wake up naturally. I get to go to work. I’m still a mess, but at least I’m functioning kind of. And things are starting to look up Electionwise.
Which is where more what ifs show up. What if there is 4 more years of What’s His Face? What if Pennsylvania doesn’t flip? What if, what if, what if.
And yet, for the first time in days, I’m hopeful. It’s just a spark, but it’s something.
Still can’t eat properly, by the by. And starting to feel a depressive front moving in. Just what I need at this time.
Glorious, glorious Saturday.
They start calling the Election. Biden’s in the lead – and he’s won.
I’ll get further into the story Wednesday but holy crap. Like, holiest of craps. What is happening.
What am I feeling? Relief. Disbelief. Shock. This isn’t real. But it is real.
And the anxiety fog starts to lift a bit.
I’m actually able to eat a full plate of dinner. I manage to sleep through the night. And Sunday, I can take a nap without struggle. It’s amazing.
So, here we are in this week. I’m still feeling the after effects, honestly. And I still need to be careful of what I’m checking on my phone because anxiety is a beast and I don’t want to set it off again.
But I’m so much better. Each day I feel more and more alive again. I’m drawing. I’ve started a new book. I’m turned on my Switch. All the coping mechanisms I should’ve been using all of last week, according to my therapist.
I’m glad to be out of suspended animation. I’m glad to be moving around and feeling human again.
And I’m feeling very, very good about the next four years. But again, that’s for Wednesday.
Right now, I’m doing stuff.