I started off my 2018 the best way I know how.
By finishing another manuscript to one of the many novels I am working on. (Cue loud cheering!) After months of hunkering down and locking myself up in my writing den, I finally finished my NL novel, which is now officially titled, Where the Land Meets the Sea. Hopefully, with much luck and wishful thinking, I can get it published later this year.
But besides finishing another novel that I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into, I’m sure like many of you, I too sat down and wrote out some New Year resolutions and some goals I wanted to have completed by the end of 2018, both personal and professional.
And while maybe I have already broken a few of them (cutting back on Tim Horton’s ice capps…I am failing miserably so far!), there are some things in my life, no matter now much I plot and plan for, I have no control over.
That includes my mental health issues.
Christmas did bring around a few hectic days where my anxiety teetered on that very fragile edge, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. Christmas sets off several triggers with my PTSD (because of terrible past experiences), but I managed to push through like I do most years.
For the most part, 2018 started off on a high note (despite the very obvious hangover from too many glasses of champaign the night before). I got to spend time with all my friends, a normal routine was settling back into my home life after all the extra festivities, and I have been writing every day without any sort of procrastination or writer’s block (which is very rare!).
And then yesterday, barely two weeks into the new year, I had the worst panic attack I’ve had in months; a panic attack where I woke up from a fretful sleep and every muscle was ridge and tense. My hands were shaking uncontrollably. My legs were weak when I tried to stand up and my head was dizzy – a turmoil of vicious and degrading thoughts.
On most day I can calm myself down enough without medication intervention, but yesterday I didn’t have a shot in hell. I know my body well enough to know when things are bad, really bad, or downright terrifying. For my first frazzled thought to be, “Take your pills, Amanda.“, I knew I was on the terrible end of the scale. Even the mouthful of water I used to swallow my pills made me want to instantly vomit.
I was a nervous wreck for no reason except this: My mental illness wanted to be a bitch.
I was in for a very rough day and a sleepless night.
And I couldn’t help but think of it as a mocked warning from my illness: “Oh, 2018 is off to a good start for her? Ha, ha! Well let’s see if we can rattle her cage a bit.” And boy did it rattle me.
It was a reminder that no matter the day, month, or (new) year, my illness is always with me. Every single day. Lurking in the background, watching and waiting, until it finds the right moment to knock me to my knees.
Because when it comes to my mental health issues, I don’t get a say.
I could preach all that, “New Year, New Me” bullcrap until I was blue in the face, but in reality no matter how much I try to change myself, or improve my diet, or exercise harder, or even try to have a more controlled daily routine; no matter what I do, nothing will stop my mental illness from affecting my every day life. No matter how prepared I am or how “better” I try to be, I don’t get to control when my illness decides to wage war.
It’s a new year, but I’m still dealing with the same illness.
So what do I do?
I put on my armour and fight. I try not to give up, no matter how tired and bloody I get. Because no matter how defeated I may feel some days, I am no quitter. This isn’t the first bad day I had, and it most certainly won’t be the last. I was unwillingly signed up for a lifetime of this, where some days are good, and some days are bad.
And even on the days I’m defeated and have to pull back, I still refuse to hold up that white flag and surrender.
Because I still have to fight that good fight.
Even in 2018.
And as always,
Fight the good fight.