The infinite loop

I’ve been getting really bad anxiety at night when I’m alone and have too much time to think – I’ve always worried about things but never had proper anxiety so this is all new to me and it’s a horrible feeling. Stress and anxiety are known to compound the effects of colitis or make a flare more likely to occur, so now I’m anxious about my anxiety giving me colitis trouble.

You’ve got to be shitting me.

It’s 2am and I’m up listening to music because I can’t sleep – my fault for napping all afternoon – but I can’t stop the anxious feeling brewing in my stomach. I don’t mind my head being fucked up but when it’s physically making me sick I don’t know how to handle it. I took off at 5am this morning for a trip down south to do some last minute hiking prep for Nepal and also to hopefully get out of my own head a bit, last time I had trouble with my mental health I did the overnight walk on the Bibbulmun that really helped so I thought this would work.

Then my car blew up an hour out of town and the dealer hadn’t updated the service log so I couldn’t get roadside assistance. Being 6am on a Saturday, do you think there’s anyone to call and sort it out? 4 hours later I’ve got it sorted and a tow truck picks me up, back to the dealer that isn’t open til Monday. Anxious about the trip coming up, anxious about my colitis flaring up, anxious for the sake of being anxious and now I’ve got no car. Just what I needed.

Over the past few years my stress has been a function of my colitis, work, uni and relationships – and I’ve handled it pretty well. It’s a cruel system in that anxiety and stress makes colitis worse but a lot of my anxiety and stress comes from my colitis, so it causes an infinite loop of anxiety and illness. Right now I don’t think things could go much worse having worked about 3 days in the last month, colitis not under control, drugs giving me side effects I can’t handle and the wrath of personal/relationship issues from the last few months. I feel like there’s a weight on me constantly that’s just getting heavier and heavier.

I need a break.

It’s 9 days til I leave for Nepal and I couldn’t look forward to anything more. I’ve got the biggest challenge of my life ahead of me in a time when my whole world is falling apart around me and all I want to do is get over there and do it. The past 5 years I’ve been stuck planning trips or just musing about big ideas but never really got to go anywhere or do anything. I never committed to doing anything that was hard or exciting, and I really regret it now. I had a couple of good years with my colitis that I could’ve made the most of and instead I wasted it at uni and working. Obviously I have a degree now which I’m stoked with (mostly just because it’s over) but I could’ve finished it at any time. Colitis stops some things more than others, and I’m always going to be able to study or work a desk job no matter what. Trekking Nepal or any other wild trips I’ve cooked up in my head? Little bit harder.

You’re not dying frail and upset at home, if you’re dying this year it’s on top of a mountain pass doing something worthwhile you sack of shit.

It’s a bit extreme but I said that to myself while sitting on the side of the road next to my runaway diesel spluttering and seizing up. Nepal has been the only thing keeping me reasonably sane the last few weeks; even through all this shit I can’t help but feel like there’s something bigger than this. I don’t know if I’m trying to just run away from my problems or if this is a genuine method of solving the problems I have, but I guess we’ll find out in December after I walk the 200km over that pass and have a beer by the lake to celebrate doing something I didn’t think would be possible after getting diagnosed with this disease.

You can still donate to the CCA fundraiser here – everything no matter how big or small is massively appreciated. CCA have just started doing support groups in Perth and it’s great to see the direct effect fundraising has on such a great organisation. The album below is what I’ve been listening to tonight while writing this and further ruining my sleep routine, I listen to it a lot when I’m feeling rubbish. Try it out.

One response to “The infinite loop”

  1. […] While feedback loops can occur positively, they can also occur negatively. I first noticed this a few years ago with my own anxiety and living with ulcerative colitis. I was anxious because of my disease – my disease got worse because it’s impacted by stress and anxiety – I got more anxious. Rinse, repeat, spiral out of control. I wrote about facing that back in 2019, you can read it here. […]

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