The Pink Frog (anxiety)
So in my last blog I coined the name The Pink Frog to explain the feeling of anxiety that takes over my tummy and my life, just like the black dog is to depression.
Before my emergency cornea graft I was already struggling with life. Losing vision in both eyes with a rare, untreatable cornea disease in less than two years is a big upheaval. Most of the things I used to do I can't do the same now, and this year has been exceptionally hard. I'm struggling getting through the working day because the computer screens and fluro lights reflect off the hard contact lenses and irritating my eyes, pinching eyes and eyelids until they're red, watering and painful. I don't go out for dinner on a weeknight much as I can't drive at night without my contacts, as I get 8-10 hours wear from them, enough for some morning exercise and driving to and from work. I feel like I'm living to work and that I don't get to live my life.
I've had three glasses prescriptions within 4 months, trying to salvage some vision from my right eye as my cornea continues to change shape or degenerate. My left eye had lost so much vision that no glasses could help that eye. I would give anything in the world for a pair of glasses that work enough for me to use the computer and drive. I pray many times each day, please God please let my eyes improve enough for glasses, please let me have my life back.
In January 2014 I enrolled in a course to become a health and wellbeing coach, but had to delay my study as I underwent cross-linking surgery in my right eye and I found it hard to work on the computer during the day at work and to then come home and study. I got an extension and picked up my study again in November that year and I pushed through with my new study buddies until the Pink Frog got so strong in March that I had trouble concentrating. I'm determined to finish my Cert 4 in Life Coaching this year and then continue on to the health and wellbeing component.
My other goal for the year was to tone up and strengthen my body. Well that wasn't happening either because of the pain from my eyes, I was getting depressed and anxious and just couldn't keep to a workout routine. The Pink Frog would convince me that I didn't need to work out today, or why bother working out, it'll just take up time I could spend studying.
The Pink Frog hit the hardest for me five weeks ago when I had to leave during a yoga class because the contacts were scratching my eyes more than I could handle. What is going? Why is 'God' taking away my yoga? Everything else I could handle, but yoga is my one outlet where I get to work on my body, mind and spirit, where I go in feeling blah and I come out feeling rejuvenated.
I fell into a spiral and I couldn't get myself out. Why is every activity being taken away from me? Why can't I live my life the way I want to? I know that blind people get through life perfectly ok and there are so many assistant aids out there that I can use to do things, but that's not how I want to live my life, I'm not accepting this...
And that's where the Pink Frog comes in. She's in my belly, she turns and twists and pulls and jumps around in there. She makes me feel sick, she makes me feel sad, she makes me feel like I can't leave the house, I can't make a phone call. Sometimes she sends those feelings in my belly all the way up to my head and I feel overwhelmed and scared. My thoughts take over and I can't do anything, I can't deal with life and I go back to bed and cry.
Some days she's so strong that she jumps up to my heart and bounces on it until my heart feels like it's going to break. She makes me tremble and feel cold, she takes away my hunger and my strength to leave the house for even a short walk.
Two weeks before my cornea perforated I completely lost it. I woke up and the Pink Frog wasn't just in my belly, she was in my head too. Everything was hard and wrong and I kept falling on the floor in tears. I hated my life so much I couldn't bear to live another day. I googled how to commit suicide and wasn't convinced that I could do it successfully, the last thing I needed was another disability! And then I remembered my cousins and aunty and how they are being affected every day because my cousin committed suicide over 10 years ago. I thought of my mum and my dad, and my gorgeous sister, how could I leave her? She's my rock. I hated myself for not being ok, for letting these thoughts take over. I knew I had to get out of the house and get to work so that I could be distracted. I made it. And during my lunch break I went straight to my naturopath to get my anxiety herbs. I want to help me.
Later that week I woke up with pain in my right eye, I put my contact in and it was like poking my eye with a needle. I couldn't bear it but this time the Pink Frog wasn't going to win, I knew to call for help. Dad came over and we made an action plan, I was in too much pain to go to work, so step 1 was tell my boss I'm not coming in. Step 2 was get my eye checked. As miracles seem to happen...my optometrist has Wednesday's off but when I called his office he was there! My eye was red, swollen and watering, I had scratched it with my contact. No work for two days, bed rest and no contact or study.
The next week was Easter and I had taken leave to focus on my research project. The Pink Frog was strong, my eyes were hurting and I still couldn't do yoga, so no exercise wasn't helping my mental state. I had an optometrist appointment on the Tuesday to check on the scratch on my right eye and I had to pull over on the way there because the contacts were hurting so bad that I could t drive. Why? Why is there so much pain?
I got to the optometrist and he said that the contact in my left eye had cracked, that's what was causing the pain today. Are you kidding me? God give me a break! I just want to study, I want to do yoga. I want to LIVE my life. I couldn't wear the broken contact and it would take at least 3-4 days for the new one to come in. My right eye was still sensitive so I couldn't wear that contact for long periods and my glasses were pretty much useless. I brought 3 decadent cupcakes to feed my emotions and drove home on the highway, tears streaming down face, and the Pink Frog telling me to speed up and find a tree or pole to crash into, it's raining so accidents do happen... I drove passed my turn off in search for a break, for an end to the pain and misery. I eventually got home and called my GP. I really needed help.
Then as I thought life couldn't get worse I was slapped with the perforated cornea. That's one big wake up call and distraction. I could have taken it as the end, but I decided to take it as a gift, the gift of sight and the gift of life. There's a chance this graft will improve my sight enough to wear glasses, that's been my wish, to wear glasses and participate in life how I want to. So here I am, taking my second chance and learning to work with the Pink Frog.
I am at peace with what is ....
Miss Nat xoxo