Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Shake Your Head No, Nod Your Head Yes

I feel like this is needed at the moment.

For those of you not in the know, we have no working air conditioning while it is hella hot and my boyfriend broke up with me. That should catch you up on my current life status and why I'm writing this.

(Also, hi! Been a while, Blogger.)

So. If you haven't gotten the advice "don't ask questions that aren't yes or no to someone having a panic attack", you've know gotten that advice.

Let me talk about what a panic attack feels like.

I have fallen overboard off a ship. It is raining and the waves are rough. I can only catch a little air; my lungs are filling with water. I have to fight against a heavy weight I can't get rid of, all to just stay afloat and breathe.

Someone picks up a life preserver.

They ask me to solve x squared plus 8 equals three fourths x plus 24 minus the square root of x for x.

That is the equivalent of being asked "What do you need me to do?"

Someone gets rid of all the life preservers and yells at me to solve the equation for their math homework.

That is the equivalent of being asked, "What's wrong?"

Someone throws me a life preserver and pulls me in. They aren't strong enough to bring me over the side of the boat, but they are enough to help me stay afloat.

That is being asked, "Do you need me to breathe with you?" or "Do you want to hold my hand?" or "Would you like me to take you someplace quiet?"

At the end of the day, I manage to get myself back on the boat. It either exhausts me and leaves me unable to function for a while, or I can manage to continue whatever thing I'm doing.
That's the difference between getting a life preserver and doing math for one.

I don't know how it feels for other people, but that is how it feels for me.

Depression, too, is best treated with yes or no questions.
I have used the ice motif for depression before. I am under the ice.

Someone holds on to me. They ask, "Do you want me to stay?" and listen to my answer.

Someone grabs at me wildly, making it worse. They ask, "I know you're depressed but can't you just try and think differently?"

Someone holds on to me, but they shake me around and really do nothing at all. They ask, "Why are you depressed?" trying to find the source without finding it ridiculous.

When I am in that state of misery, I do not have air and energy to waste in giving a complicated answer to your complicated question. It is hard enough to simply say "yes" or "no".
Help me, don't hinder me.

And for Pete's sake when I don't want to talk about something, talking about it obsessively is going to make me miserable and unable to maintain a mood that isn't suicidal.

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