This is a warning that this blog entry is a selfish reflection, or shall I say release. I have no pleasantries so I will just get right to it. In Fall of 2021, the west coast of the U.S. started "opening back up". We all were done with the tiktok challenges, zoom happy hours, and just being in the house with our loved ones - because love was surely being tested during those times. So here in the bay area they called for a soft opening of the streets. So around this time last year I was ready to get back, physically, to work and life - so I thought. My morning routine was going to be a bit different though because now I live a bit further out from where I used to. But the highways were familiar to me so I had no worries. I got up at 5am, walked the dog, packed my laptop and lunch, and got in the car to hit the road. Traffic was pretty light since it was 6am, so I was pretty happy about that. However, I maybe get 30 minutes into my trip when everything changed.
I now can't feel my left side. Then my sight starts to get blurry. As I am blinking profusely, I noticed my breathing getting more shallow and my chest feeling heavy.
You may be familiar with the bay area commute from Antioch to Marin. If you are not, google it. This commute placed me on the windy hwy 4 in the hills, and all of a sudden my left foot starts to tingle. But not like the uncomfortable, it fell asleep, feeling. This feeling was new and foreign to me. As soon as I acknowledged it, it shot straight up my body through my left shoulder and arm. I now can't feel my left side. Then my sight starts to get blurry. As I am blinking profusely, I noticed my breathing getting more shallow and my chest feeling heavy. The thought of "I can't feel my left side" ran through my mind; but nothing else. I start to panic. There is no real shoulder to pull over on. And if there was, somehow my right side didn't get the alert that this is an emergency response situation. To this day, I am not sure how I managed to see an exit and pull off. Once my car was put into park it all starts coming. Tears started streaming out of my eyes. Screaming and cussing came out of my body: "WTF! What is going on?". There was me probably looking like a crazy lady in the car, on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere next to a cow. Yes, a cow who probably thought I was crazy. I had no idea why I was crying; why my left side felt completely disconnected from my right; and if I was going to get through another hour and a half of driving. I completely lost control and had no idea of where it went.
I had dizzy spells, unintended irritable attitudes, feelings of not wanting to get up, etc. I pushed them down to not acknowledge there existence. I mean, who has time for that?
I share this story because there are times where we barely miss our reach on control. We get caught up in everything that is going on, and you think it all is running smoothly, only to have a drastic moment that completely shifts your perspective. Before that event I had small signs that I wasn't okay. I had dizzy spells, unintended irritable attitudes, feelings of not wanting to get up, unprovoked crying, etc. I pushed them down to not acknowledge there existence. I mean, who has time for that? I am working on becoming a home owner, keeping my professional career afloat through a pandi, rebranding and reviving my business, taking care of family, taking care of church, being there for friends, trying to have a romantic life, OH and the new addition - Prince Louie the pup. Who has time for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression? Who has time to mourn for the loss of my grandfather and father? Who has time to talk about the trauma of my past that is triggered in romantic and intimate misconduct? Who has time to really acknowledge the stress, loneliness, frustrations, and heartache that comes in and out of life? Well, I thought I didn't, and then I found myself on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, sobbing; and all I had was a cow to hear me. I needed to make the time immediately.
Yes I am sad. yes I am stressed. yes I am completely fed up. and yes, I---am---Broken. But, yes, there is hope!
After many tries with therapy...and still working at it, I have realized that my body was showing me in that moment "Sis, you can not control this!" I can not keep micromanaging my feelings. I had to face them, unpack them, talk about them, genuinely acknowledge that yes I am sad. yes I am stressed. yes I am completely fed up. and yes, I---am---BROKEN. BUT YES THERE IS HOPE! I am a believer of the most high God. And it wasn't in that moment - that would be way too "perfect christian" of me lol - but a few months and some panic attacks later for me to turn to God to seek healing and direction. I had to completely release control to gain some of it back. And chiiiile it is a journey. But it is a journey that needed to start before it got worse. What if someone else was on that road with me? (remember there was no traffic and I was literally in the middle of the hills) What if I had my future children in the car? What if....? I don't know the answer to any of these questions, but I do know that WHAT IS, is God's hand on my life. WHAT IS, is me finding the right spaces to heal these wounds. WHAT IS, is now I can speak on how I feel and not suppress it. WHAT IS, is that when I lost control of my physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional existence, I found my freedom. I found a new way to exist as my whole self, the way God intended. I just had to begin the journey to learn how; to learn me! (and the journey is going well)
Update: I am driving now. I manage to get a few exits past my house and can regularly get to my local stores and medical facilities with minor attacks. I advocated for remote work at my current job and that has been rewarding. It allows me to save money to rideshare into work anytime my attendance is mandatory - which is rare. It also gives me time to find my balance and work on myself in a less stressful space. I am still a work in progress, and not one that is fixed overnight. But I am hopeful that one day I will be back to driving across city and state lines without worry or troubles. I am also open to what God's plan is for me; because listen if He blesses me with a driver, I know I made it...Amen.
If you are experiencing symptoms like depression, anxiety, or stress, I encourage you to get professional help. Prayer works, but faith without doing the work didn't do anything for anybody. If you know anyone who is in this place of lacking control, please encourage them that they are not alone. Listen to what they say or really see them when it is unsaid. I am not one to ask for help so I didn't really know a) I needed help; and b) how to ask. I had a lot of people around me as I was, and have been, going through this and few have recognized that I needed help. Be a good friend and support them on their journey. We all need each other!