Recently, in a fit of boredom, I decided to re-read every single facebook status update that I have made in in 2013. I must admit, I’ve noticed a very stark change in my overall mannerisms between the first half of the year and the second. Namely, the updates written in the first half of the year veer towards the tense and panicky and make liberal use of profanity, whereas the more recent ones are far calmer and more whimsical. And indeed, as I was reading it occurred to me that my panic attacks, once an almost-weekly occurrence, have gone away almost completely: I haven’t suffered one in months, even while being immersed in some very stressful situations.
This being the case, I am honestly beginning to wonder: Where did my anxiety go? Could it just have gone away on its own? Is such a thing possible?
I am struggling for answers. I suppose there are a few factors which may have contributed to an overall reduction in my anxiety level. First of all, not trivially, was getting my master’s degree the hell out of the way. There’s also the matter of Nominatissima moving out; I am still fond of her, but I don’t think that living in a bachelor’s suite with my ex-girlfriend for nine months was exactly conducive to strong mental health (in fact, I would argue that living in a bachelor’s suite with anyone is probably not conducive to good mental health, as, frankly, everyone needs privacy sometimes, and I personally need it a lot of the time). Then there’s no longer have to worry about who sees me presenting as what gender; having everyone know what I am, and therefore being able to present as female full time, has lifted a terrible burden from off of my shoulders*. And then, more recently, there’s the matter of the fact that, for the first time since I left high school, I can actually, truthfully answer the question: “where do you want to be in five years?”
Are all of these changes really enough to roll back a mental illness? I suppose I can only say that apparently yes, they are.
*If I could do the whole thing over again, I would have announced my transition to the Physics Departmental Secretary the moment that I came out. Retrospect informs me that my professors were all professional enough that they wouldn’t have treated me any differently, but things looked very different at the time.