I have anxiety and depression.
I am also autistic, acutely asthmatic, have a chronic pain condition, and most likely one or more autoimmune conditions. I have learned over the years how to give my body grace for it’s many symptoms.
I know for instance, that if I wheeze when I stand up, I have to take it easy and avoid chemical triggers, if my fatigue makes me want to cry that I need to rest until it lets up, if I am sensory overwhelmed or unable to speak to withdraw from stimulus and to fill my day with sensory pleasing activities as well as self regulating stims, and if my body is on fire with pain to be still and treat it as best I can.
I have learned through trial and error that trying to bull through these symptoms will only cause my overall health to spiral. There is no use in being in denial, or pushing through unless I have no choice. It only hurts me….and if I am in a self recriminating mindset, it makes me less productive too.
I have a lot more difficulty being gracious with my self about my anxiety and depression. Once these two show up I tend to fall into a pattern of negative self talk and fighting myself to try and force these feelings away.
I understand why, my family history of weaponized mental illness plus internalized saneism and ableism that taught me practically from birth how to be ashamed of my feelings, but not how to process or deal with them.
Here I am, a breath away from 41(i think) and still struggling with how to treat my mental illness with as much grace as I have learned to give the rest of my body/self. I want to change this, I want to lovingly embrace these parts of me that are not inherently wrong, are not defective, which is only my inherent me-ness plus the imprint a lifetime of othering and toxic familial relationships left on that base shape. A perfectly fine mix of strengths and weaknesses.
So now I am trying to change that, I want to give my body the grace to work through it’s emotional symptoms as I do it’s “physical” symptoms. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what that looks like. I’ve never even imagined what it might look like to not struggle under the weight of this internalized saneism and ableism.
I don’t know…but I think the first step is in letting myself feel my feelings without the internal dialogue telling myself what a useless waste I am for being terrified or depressed all the time. I think for me the first step is allowing these feelings pass over me as another aspect of me. Not for attention, or excuses(because privileged people should never use our mental illness as an excuse for our oppressive behaviour), not to wallow in them self servingly, but because denying them and trying to shout them down is never going to work.
I feel like there must be a middle road for me between denial and drowning in them.
Because denial has never worked foe me. It’s time to try some semi-radical self acceptance. Hopefully some day, as I am able to work through this, a next step will become clear.