I’ve got to talk about something today, and it’s a toughie. I’m not good with eye contact or the touchy-feely stuff, so I’d prefer it if we just avoided looking at each other while I lay this out, and if I know you in my real life I’d like it if you didn’t follow up reading this with a (gulp) phone call or a “why didn’t you tell me” email. And if you’re a virtual friend who I have confided in, don’t out me. Let me just get this out of my head and onto the screen, and if I manage to hit PUBLISH before I hit DELETE, then let me set the pace about how much more I want to divulge. Okay?
So, eyes front.
I’m crazy, blogosphere. Like, really nutso. On a scale of 1-10, I have been told I’m an 11, and I think that person was being kind because they loved me. I’ve alluded to a few things – an aversion to the telephone for example – but the truth is, I have a list of symptoms that I’ve struggled with for a very long time, all connected to this word that I’m sick to death of saying and hearing and dealing with.
Not just worry. Not just fret. Anxiety. Real, pure, all-consuming anxiety. There have been times in my life when it’s raged, and times when it’s been quiet. Times when I was quite sure it would swallow me, and times when I was equally sure I had it licked. I talk around it with the people I love without REALLY talking about it. And I talk at length with virtual friends about every last, painful specific. I’ve avoided discussing it here because I haven’t wanted this thing to be what defines me; I don’t want my list of weird ‘symptoms’ to walk in a room before I do. But the truth is, it’s getting harder to hide it. Not just because my symptoms are getting stronger, which I’m pretty sure they are, but also because I’m seeing some of them manifest in my son, and so it’s no longer okay to ignore them.
It’s a part of me. It’s a part of me that some people have made me feel bad about, as if it was something I could just change if I wanted to bad enough. If I’d just get out of my head and relax. And it’s a part of me that others have said makes me special.
I don’t feel very special today, blogosphere. Today? I feel weary. And alone.
I was in a gift shop recently where I picked up a CD that contained some cure for anxious people. These things catch my eye all the time. Sometimes the new agey music and the visualization exercises and the guided breathing and all that help, but mostly they don’t. But this CD caught my eye because of the way it described that dreaded word: anxiety. “The Fight-or-Flight Response is a biological and psychological change that occurs in the body when a danger is perceived. In anxiety and panic disorders, the brain is acting as if there is a threat or danger even if there is not, in reality, one present at all. Sufferers cannot just “snap out of it” and remain in an excited, agitated and nervous state for hours or even days after the perceived situation. The constant state of Fight or Flight leaves anxiety sufferers prone to illness, insomnia, and even depression.”
I stood in the store blinking at that CD. “You want to buy it?” my friend asked.
Nah. If only it were so easy that another new age CD could help.
This anxiety has affected my relationships ever since I can remember. It’s made me very intense and all-or-nothing. It makes encountering troubles first have to be about me and managing my reactions before it can be about the other people involved. It makes me appear very selfish, so I overcompensate in other areas just to try to prove who I am on the inside, underneath it all. It has made me feel very misunderstood. And even unlovable.
It’s also held me back. Made me afraid to take that big fat swing at a few of my dreams. Many of my dreams.
But hopefully not all of them.
It was suggested to me today that writing is my lifeline. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’m trying that idea on for size because the person who said it really wants it to be true, and really? I need something to hold on to right now. I’m going to have some choppy waters to navigate, and I’m feeling a little afraid to do it alone. Maybe writing can be that place where I can go. Where I belong.
Worth a shot I guess. Being that I’ve got this blog and all of you, and we’re all here and well-acquainted, right?
So, that’s it. That’s my confession. It’s out there. I’m crazy. And this isn’t about something bad happening. This isn’t about some drama that I’m dealing with. I don’t need to be dealing with a ‘situation’ to be this way. It’s not some big heavy thing that should be making my mom worry. It’s just me. This is just the part of me that is always simmering right there under the surface. It’s who I am.
And I need to just be me.