Am I Doing Better?

I lay down on the couch, completely exhausted, after battling a half an hour of extreme anxiety just to practice French Horn. My school anxiety is ever growing, but has yet to overcome the extreme exhaustion and lack of motivation to live that overtakes me on the weekend. I think back the times when I enjoyed practicing my instrument without anxiety, when my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) about school was better under control. With all of the setbacks I have had, is there any possible way I am getting better?

There is no arguing against that things have definitely gone down hill. I achieved the lowest sleep possible that I can get while still being able to function, which is a few nights of two hours of sleep after continuously getting three to three and a half hours. I feel like I’m suffocating whenever I’m in a building, and every day during band I’m fighting to be able to get enough air just to make noise in the instrument. I frequently have anxiety attacks over not knowing where I’m going to college or what I want to major in, and feel completely out of control. I’ve dealt with barely eating from lack of hunger and being extremely dizzy (side effects of medications). I will get so anxious doing homework that I will have to lay on the ground in a ball in the corner until I am able to calm down enough to do homework. If I don’t sense the building panic in time, I will start hyperventilating and crying and generally feel like I’m about to die. I frequently wonder why I’m even bothering to fight when things seem to be getting worse instead of better.

Despite all of the struggles, I have made improvement. I am now eating a nutritionally balanced diet. There have been a few slip ups, but it is a huge improvement over the past few years. I am starting to challenge by OCD related to religion, instead of just shoving it under the rug. I hugged my mom for the first time since early middle school. I have been challenging my OCD about homework, fighting through all of the panic. I have been getting some more sleep since I hit my sleepless limit, and get 4-5 hours of sleep. I opened up about what I go through, and am working to accept that it is okay to not be okay, instead of covering it up and pretending that my life is perfect. I am getting more involved, and trying to do things with my friends outside of school. I am fighting back instead of just accepting my defeat.

The journey to getting better, just like any journey to success, is not going to be the straight line that you want. It is going to be messy, full of roadblocks and failures. Therefore, the question “Am I doing better?” is not a good measure of how close I am to having my life back. A better question is “Am I fighting to get better?”, and that answer is yes.