I’ve changed. She’s changed me. I don’t love as easily. Sometimes I don’t love at all. I don’t trust as easily. I’m distant.
I worry that I won’t have the deep connections with others that I want. I’m afraid that my brain will be a turn off for anyone interested in me. If I even let anyone get that close to me.
Relationships require work. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to enter into one that requires extra work. In my mind these must be exceptional humans. None of these humans would want me. Anxiety says I am unacceptable this way.
There are so many ways anxiety can screw with a relationship.
Overthinking, imagining worse case scenarios, constant/over communication, over dependence, fear of rejection.
At the opposite end is avoidance. This is where I raise my hand. I’ve never wanted to burden anyone with my feelings so I’ve hidden them. I shut everyone out. I shut off.
Anxiety tells me it’s the right thing to do. That I am better off alone. Unfeeling. But I can’t help but feel lonely sometimes.
The loneliness feeds the anxiety. The anxiety feeds the loneliness.
You can’t win.
And while I am alone I do a lot of self talk.
I am beautiful.
I am kind.
I am not my anxiety.
I am worthy and deserving of the love I seek.
I can’t say for certain that this helps but it does give me someone to talk to. Someone who understands.
Relationships are hard. Especially ones with yourself.
People call me a badass. I don’t know why. I’ve never done a badass thing in my life. I’ve done some stupid things. Ok, A LOT of stupid things, but never a badass thing. Recently I’ve been told I am brave. Brave for being open about my mental illness. I wouldn’t call it brave. Honest, yes, brave, no. It’s through my honesty that I am healing myself. It’s selfish really. I’m not doing it for anyone else. It’s my well being I’m thinking of.
I had no choice. Hiding how I felt and what I was going through wasn’t working. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t afraid to open up. Some people knew, but now I was going to let the world know. What would the reaction be?
Right now approximately 450 million people suffer from mental health conditions. Most of them never receive any form of care. Why?
It’s the biggest barrier to mental health care.
Crazy, weird, unstable. These are just a few of the terms still used. Society is still uneducated and ill informed when it comes to mental health issues. It’s no wonder why those who suffer are afraid to get help. Admitting to having a mental illness might cost you your job! That is the sad reality.
I’m lucky. My workplace has just accepted it as part of who I am. If I’m having a bad day I tell them. We figure it out.
I believe everyone should be so fortunate.
And so I’m going to talk about mental health and mental illness. A lot.
It’s time to remove the stigma.
It’s not a badass move on my part. It’s still a selfish one. Why? Because I don’t want to live in a world where I’m looked down upon for having something I didn’t ask for. I don’t want that world for anyone.
Thursday. It always starts on a Thursday. I thought I was in the clear this week. I was wrong. I made a crucial error and now I feel her clawing at me.
I’m writing to keep a record. How long will it take before she consumes me completely? How will she affect my thoughts this time? How will my writing change? Will I be brave enough to admit to everything? Or will I hide like I usually do? Shut myself away from the world until she decides she’s had enough of me.
Like an alien she takes root in my stomach. It’s a feeling of dread that starts to well up. I need to eat but I want to throw up instead.
My heart is next. I am amazed at how hard it can beat. I wonder how many more years of this abuse it will take. She’s killing me slowly. She doesn’t care.
I’m at my job. I want, no, need to get out. Get to my safe place. My home or the woods. Somewhere there are no people. Somewhere wide open. But I am stuck here.
I focus on my breathing. I try to keep busy.
It’s not working.
You really just never know. The last week and a half have been good. And by good I mean only brief periods of heart pounding anxiety. For the most part I’m breathing normally. I’m grateful. But there has been a trade off.
What I traded for peace was apathy. Or maybe I should say indifference. Either one fits.
It’s not that I don’t care. I do care. About me. And because I just care about me I’m doing all the things that are making my life easier to live.
Thing one: got out of relationships that aren’t contributing to my happiness.
Thing two: found my voice again. I’ve never been more honest about what I want than I have been this last week.
Thing three: getting creative again.
Things one and two were not easy. I knew that I was going to upset people. That is usually a trigger for me. I’m usually the one to make others smile and laugh. Even at my expense. This one took some courage. No regrets. My mental health is more important than hurt feelings. They’ll get over it.
Being creative again feels like freedom. I’ve had so many ideas trapped in my head. Words, pictures. I’m excited to see what I can do with them.
All this. For me. For my well being. I’m feeling love! Just not for everyone else.
I’ve read this is not uncommon. I know it’s part of the mental illness. Does it change? Will I ever feel close to anything again?
Bloody hell I wish this were easier. Easier to find the place between not suffering and heart wide open.
I have many actually but I’ll stick to the one that’s appropriate 🙂
I’ve been single a long time. THAT is not a secret. I’ve been celibate equally as long. That might be a surprise. It’s by choice. I’m not complaining about it. I learned long ago that I am not the booty call or fuck friend type. I’ll wait for someone I feel deeply about. I’m ok with that.
That does not mean I don’t FEEL anything. I am human and have the same wants, needs, desires everyone else does. Like the need for companionship and the need for affection. The need to feel wanted and desired. I know you feel those things too. But we never talk about them or how we deal with them because we’re told it makes us sound needy. Or we should be totally fine on our own 100% of the time.
Today I wanted attention and affection. Today I wanted to feel wanted and desired. I’m not ashamed to say that.
How to fix this though? Well, here’s where I tell you my secret. And ya it may sound cheesy but it works for me.
I do my hair. I put on make up and I may or may not put on sexy clothes. I turn up my music and I dance like the whole world is watching. And I take a million selfies. Some of them naked! Self love baby.
There is also chocolate.
All these things help convince my brain that I’m wanted and desirable. It’s a dirty little trick I play with anxiety and it works.
Do you have a secret too?
I’m selfish. I admit it. I pretend that I’m not. It’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to be love and light and all things good. I am not. I am a whole lot of dark shit that I’ve repressed because I thought it was bringing me down.
I let myself be convinced by bullshit I see online that my negatives were killing me.
Truth is we need those things. I need them. We’re not whole without them. Light & dark, good & evil. You understand what I’m getting at.
There is a term for this side of us. Shadow Self. Look it up if you don’t believe me.
We talk about self love and being authentic. You’re not authentically you if you’re denying half of yourself.
Anger, jealousy, fear, vengeance, lust. I feel all those things.
That’s not to say I allow myself to indulge in these. But I do acknowledge them. When I don’t I feel like a liar, a pretender. And that’s when the sadness sets in. I have to be honest with myself about who I am. That’s when I feel like me. That’s when I sleep well and anxiety is not waking me at 3am.
I am good.
I am bad.
I’m ok with all of it.
Though honestly, I kinda like my bad self a little bit better 🙂
The bad days. The days I know to lock myself away. Those are the days that I see or hear something that puts my brain into overdrive. It’s there right now. As I write this.
Today I saw friends get engaged. Today I saw friends gush about their pregnancy. I am happy for them. I am sad for me. At least I am honest about it.
These are the days I feel I have failed at this life thing.
Give me any trial or tribulation and I will over come it, but I cannot do something as human as have a relationship. Any relationship. It’s one of my failings. And one of my triggers. Because I should know how to do human things. Doing human things shouldn’t make your heart race with dread. You shouldn’t have to overthink what you’d like to say. You shouldn’t panic that you’ve said the wrong thing or too much. Being human should be peaceful and joyful. And be filled with love.
Today I failed at being human.