For weeks now I’ve been having anxiety surges with no discernible cause. I suppose this is consistent with my therapist’s suggestion that what originally during my autism diagnosis by another practitioner was described as comorbid “anxiety features” likely instead is simply generalized anxiety disorder, but it’s rarely been this noticeably detached from some obvious specific. That said, today I got sent into an anxiety spiral browsing through my blogging from 2020. It wasn’t content-related, despite the posts being from the height of the newness of the pandemic. Somehow it was just the experiential fact of looking at a previous, recent-past blogging incarnation. I can’t tell if I was unsatisfactorily comparing myself then and now, or if I was having an identity disconnect born of my inconsistent sense of self over time due to my memory deficiencies, or something altogether different. It’s spiking again right now as I type these words. I don’t know which is worse: these pangs over something discernible if not entirely identifiable or the other pangs of late that just descend out of the empty air. I don’t like either one, and I certainly like them less than anxiety whose cause is proximate and in my face. I’m sure it doesn’t help that for the past week or two I’ve been restless in the morning, waking too early and unable to make my body fit into the world around it. This morning I awoke at five and couldn’t get back to sleep, for three hours. I can’t stand the idea of suddenly sleeping less because I dread the emptiness of having somehow to fill that many hours every day without the physical or psychological resources to meet the demands of just so much sheer time. I’m so on edge that even a news story about rogue black holes roaming the galaxy, with the probability that one is within 80 light years of Earth, set off my hypervigilance. It’s true that I’ve been remarkable low-resources for weeks now, but this is not sustainable. I feel like I have not been able to level off at all since the near-miss, hospitalization-likely, nervous breakdown I only barely managed to avoid during the Willow thing. I can’t even settle out this post. I keep coming back to add things. Hilariously, I just discovered that such black holes are called “free-floating black holes”. Like the one in my chest.
I know now what this all feels like. It feels like every crisis obstacle of the last five years has left me each time with still less capacity to cope. From the depressive sobbing fits during my vocational rehabilitation job placement in 2017 and 2018, to the breakdown that led me to quit my nonprofit in 2019, to the bladder surgery in 2019, to the pandemic in 2020, to the recurring UTIs and bladder surgery in 2021, to the Willow thing this year—I’m not recovering from any of these along the way, I’m only escaping the immediate threat. I’m not experiencing resiliency, I’m just tripping and falling from one crisis obstacle to the next, and I’m not regaining any resource capacity along the way or in between. I’ve been stuck in an anxiety loop for an hour and a half now and I don’t know how to get out of it. I’m steadily, if in lurches and fits, becoming more impaired.
When I was evaluated for disability my first attempt, the consulting psychologist diagnosed me with adjustment disorder, which comes with a six-month cap. This was within months of having quit that job placement. Little known fact: the last edition of the DSM apparently by mistake left out a diagnosis of chronic adjustment disorder. I’ve been convinced for years now that my circumstances effectively qualify.
If chronic adjustment disorder doesn’t work for people, how about Degenerative Coping Syndrome.
I totally forgot about the summer 2020 wildfire smoke, and the summer 2021 heatwave(s).